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Ecological Warrior

Sachidanand Bharti

An unassuming mild mannered man who convinced government officials and his village folk alike to save and reclaim the forest cover of Dudhatoli range in Uttarakhand's Pauri district. Nearly 60, Bharti achieved this with little or no financial assistance from the government and primarily from contributions of villagers.

Bharti was an activist in the Chipko agitation of the 1970s. Along with his college friends, Bharati formed Daliyon ka Dagda or Frieds of the Trees to spread awareness about the dangers of rampant deforestation. That was in Gopeshwar in Chamoli district at the other end of what is now the state of Uttarakhand. 

Back home, Bharati found the same story of mindless tree felling going on in and around his native village of Ufrainkhal. He convinced the villagers to unitedly convince government officials to rescind their decision to axe several silver firs near Dera village. The villagers, particularly women, succeded in saving the trees. It was the first of a long list of future conservation successes for Bharti and the villagers.

That Bharti soon started teaching at the village school helped him educate the youth about the need for conservation.  Bharati was born in 1955 in the village of Badhkharh in the Doodhatolli range. His mother was one of the earliest woman panchayat leaders of the region.

Read about Bharti's struggle in Anupam Mishra's article Liquid Assets on Steep Slopes.