By Anshul Tewari:
An environmental disaster waiting to happen in Uttarakhand, an ascetic fighting a lonely batter, laying down his life for our future. Did you know about it?
36 year oldÂ Nigamanand, a member of the Haridwar basedÂ Matri Sadan Ashram had been fighting againstÂ illegal mining and stone crushing along the Ganga near Haridwar. This illegal mining has seriousÂ repercussionsÂ on the environment, specially river Ganga.
When Ramdev was fasting – doctors, bureaucrats, cabinet and chief ministers, spiritual leaders, all pushed him to end his 9-day fast, whereas Nigamanad struggled for like in the same hospital as Ramdev’s, after his fast of Â nearly 120 days to save Ganga from choking of pollution.
We lost this unsung hero.
Who is to be blamed? The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand seems to be oblivious, while the media is busy covering non news items that hardly make sense to the common man.Â He was a true model of a Satyagrahi, in a society that is divided on the smallest of things. He was someone that many people only talk of being.
Until he died, not many knew of him, and now the politicization has already begun with the center blaming the state Government, and the state blaming the center.
The founder head of Matri Sadan Ashram Swami Shivanand had lodged a complaint against Chief Medical Superintendent (CMS) of Haridwar district hospital Dr P K Bhatnagar and owner of Himalaya Stone Crusher Gyanesh Kumar in Kotwali police station of Haridwar on May 11 alleging Swami Nigamanand was poisoned on April 30 during treatment, following which he went into coma on May 2. On April 30, he was given an injection by a nurse after which he went into coma on May 2, Swami Shivanand alleged. (source)
While the national media rushed after Anna, giving us 24×7 coverage of his celebrity clad fast, our vigils and our Jan Lokpal bill, Nigamanand died! He fought a battle till the end, only his end.
Hazare and Baba became overnight heroes. People who were not known in our houses suddenly emerged as icons. They fasted to pass a bill, and he fasted to save a river, to save our future.
My heart cries to those many Nigamanands who die in the hollows where the media and common man do not go, just because it does not have value.Â This is the democracy we live in, survive in. Another topic will come and steal the limelight from the real issues and real heroes.Â Nigamanand died because he was fighting for our future. Remember that!
The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand tried his level best to break Ramdev’s fast, and now he is facing allegations of ignoring Nigamanand. As Rituparna Chatterjee of CNN IBN said, “The young sadhu’s protest against alleged corruption in the government with active involvement of the mafia, failed to enroll big names and mobilize people for his cause.” And thus he failed to get enough media coverage to fight for him.
Souparno Banerjee, a representative of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said the intrinsic problem lies with the way India prioritizes and treats its environmental causes.
Corruption and black money are the issues of the day, and we have to fight against them. But till when will we ignore such crusaders of the environment, or other social causes?
The larger question is, who is responsible for Nigamanand’s death?