Independence Day 2022: From Medha Patkar to Sunderlal Bahuguna, know about India’s climate warriors

As India celebrates 75 glorious years of Independence, here are some climate warriors the country is proud of.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, August 12, 2022, 10:59 AM IST
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Indian environmentalists Medha Patkar and Sunderlal Bahuguna |

India is a nation known for its rich and diverse heritage, serene religious site and beautiful landscapes embracing nature. As India celebrates 75 glorious years of Independence, here are some climate warriors the country is proud of. From Narmada Bachao Andolan's Medha Patkar to Chipko movement's Sunderlal Bahuguna, take a read at Indian environmentalists and their contributions towards the nation's greener future.

Medha Patkar

Medha Patkar

Medha Patkar | Twitter

Medha Patkar mobilized powerful marches yet peaceful protests against the construction of India’s Sardar Sarovar Dam, which affected thousands of tribal lives and submerged vast stretches of forests and farmland.

The female environmental activist has been a central organizer and strategist for Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), a people’s movement organized to stop the construction of a series of dams planned for India’s largest westward flowing river, the Narmada.

Jadav Payen

Jadav Payeng, forest man of India

Jadav Payeng, forest man of India | via Google/Flickr

Jadav "Molai" Payeng is an environmental activist and forestry worker from Majuli. He is also regarded as the Forest Man of India. Jadav Payeng is for his obsession and love towards the green - the forest he singlehandedly created on a barren land in Assam. Over the course of several decades, he has planted and tended trees on a sandbar of the river Brahmaputra turning it into a forest reserve.

Jadav has a simple solution to the global problem of depleting forest cover, "Teach children to love nature. The rest will happen on its own,” he said in a conversation with the Hindu.

Marimuthu Yoganathan

Marimuthu Yoganathan

Marimuthu Yoganathan | ANI

Marimuthu Yoganathan, a bus conductor in Tamil Nadu, who planted over 3 lakh saplings in the last 30 years using his own money. By profession, he is a bus conductor in the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and by passion he is a caretaker of the environment.

According to ANI report in 2021, the climate warrior distributes saplings free of cost to passengers travelling in his bus. Popular as the 'Tree Man', he reportedly spends about 40% of his salary to take care of plants.

The known eco activist has been awarded "Eco Warrior" award by Vice-President of India, 'Unsung Hero' award by wildlife film-maker Mike Pandey and film actor John Abraham in "Timberland" function held in Delhi.

Sunderlal Bahuguna

Sunderlal Bahuguna

Sunderlal Bahuguna | File photo

Sunderlal Bahuguna was a life-long environmentalist and was credited for founding the Chipko movement - the grassroots movement that swept through the Garhwal region in the 1970s with villagers hugging trees to stop them from being axed.

Later in 1990s, he spearheaded the Anti-Tehri Dam movement and even went to jail for it in 1995. It also became a movement that brought to the world's attention the devastation wrought by the environmental crisis in the world's highest mountains. Bahuguna had appealed to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to implement a ban on cutting down the trees. His appeal resulted in a 15-year ban on chopping green trees in 1980.

The 94-year-old environmentalist succumbed to Covid-19 on May 21, 2021, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.

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