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Sunderlal Bahuguna was an Indian environmentalist and social activist known for his efforts in the Chipko movement, a nonviolent protest movement aimed at the protection and conservation of forests in India. He was born on January 9, 1927, in the Tehri Garhwal district of present-day Uttarakhand, India.

The Chipko movement, which began in the 1970s, gained momentum under Bahuguna’s leadership. The movement involved local communities, particularly women, hugging trees to prevent them from being felled by loggers. The term “Chipko” means “to hug” or “to cling” in Hindi, reflecting the protesters’ strategy of physically embracing trees to prevent their destruction.

Bahuguna’s activism was instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of forests in maintaining ecological balance and advocating for sustainable development practices. He emphasized the connection between environmental conservation, social justice, and the livelihoods of local communities dependent on forest resources.

One of Bahuguna’s most notable campaigns was the opposition to the construction of the Tehri Dam on the Bhagirathi River in the Himalayan region. He argued that the dam would lead to environmental degradation, displacement of communities, and seismic risks. His efforts resulted in increased scrutiny of the project and raised awareness about the potential consequences of large-scale dam construction.

Throughout his life, Bahuguna continued to advocate for environmental conservation and sustainable development through various campaigns and initiatives. He promoted the principles of ecological harmony and emphasized the need for a holistic approach to development that respects nature and benefits all sections of society.

Sunderlal Bahuguna received several awards and honors for his environmental activism, including the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, in 2009. He passed away on May 21, 2021, leaving behind a legacy of environmental stewardship and grassroots activism that continues to inspire movements for environmental justice worldwide.


“When you try forcefully to change nature and its landscape, it gets back and punishes you.” – sunderlal bahuguna

“we in Himalayas are facing a crisis of survival due to the suicidal activities being carried out in the name of development.” – sunderlal bahuguna

“Today Himalaya is calling you. Wake up my son, do not allow my auction. Protect me from being slaughtered.” – sunderlal bahuguna


“Ecology is permanent economy” – sunderlal bahuguna

“ It is a man made disaster.When you try forcefully to change nature and its landscape,it gets back and punishes you.” – Sunderlal Bahuguna

“Mainly unscrupulous development, like unplanned roads and facilities for tourists,that has led to widespread deforestation.” – Sunderlal Bahuguna

“The solution of present-day problems lie in the re-establishment of a harmonious relationship between man and nature. To keep this relationship permanent we will have to digest the definition of real development: development is synonymous with culture. When we sublimate nature in a way that we achieve peace, happiness, prosperity and, ultimately, fulfilment along with satisfying our basic needs, we march towards culture.” – Sunderlal Bahuguna

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