The leader of the Chipko movement, Sunderlal Bahuguna, took his last breath in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh today. He was said to have been admitted to the hospital on the 8th of May after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 94 and had been undergoing CPAP therapy in the ICU.
AIIMS Rishikesh director Ravikant stated that he breathed his last at 12:05PM in the afternoon of the 21st of May. The media relations handler at the prestigious institute, V Nautiyal, described Bahuguna’s situation saying, “Due to Covid-19, he had also developed pneumonia which worsened his health condition along with high blood sugar and hypertension. However, a special team of doctors was assigned to look after him at the hospital while providing every possible treatment to him”.
Chief Minister of the state of Uttarakhand, to which the Padma Vibhushan awardee belonged, expressed his grief stating that Bahuguna’s death was not only a loss of the state but of the country as a whole.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoling his death tweeted, “Passing away of Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna Ji is a monumental loss for our nation. He manifested our centuries-old ethos of living in harmony with nature. His simplicity and spirit of compassion will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with his family and many admirers. Om Shanti”.
Sunderlal Bahuguna was a long-time follower of Gandhian principles. He had devoted his life to environment protection and preservation. He was the pioneer of the famous Chipko Movement and had a huge role to play in various environmental movements such as the strikes opposing the Tehri Dam constructions. His slogan, “Ecology is the permanent economy” is believed to withstand the tests of time.