Today is the ninety third birth anniversary of the renowned peace loving icon, cultural activist and symbol of relentless struggle, The Gandhi of Uttarakhand late Indra Mani Baduni, the main inspiring force behind the separate Uttarakhand movement that finally led to this 17 and a half year old state coming into existence. 24th December is commemorated as the” lok sanskritik diwas” in Uttarakhand and elsewhere, the day this iconic personality was born in the land of abode of Gods,the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.(then the Tehri Riyasat ruled by the Garhwal kingdom)
While the entire Uttarakhand and people of Uttarakhandi origin living elsewhere , globally are paying their rich tributes to Baduniji today they are equally sad and disappointed that the concurrent state governments of the state have not done anything fruitful to keep his inspirations alive. Indra Mani Baduni is not a name but an inspiration as an institution who dedicated his entire life as a freedom fighter, social and separate state movement activist, a trekker and inventor of mysterious Khatling glacier, a cultural activist and a social reformer of eminence.
While the demand for separate Uttarakhand movement was first raised in 1952 by the then communist leader PC Joshi it actually gained tremendous momentum in 1994 when this popular Gandhi of Uttarakhand organised a huge rally in Pauri and undertook thirty days incessant hunger strike, finally addmitted in Meerut and then AIIMs compelling the union government to acede to the peoples’ long aspirations of a separate entity known as Uttarakhand state.
A frail looking determined Gandhi as are the Himalayas, Indra Mani Badooni was a simple man with extreme popularity and highest TRP of acceptability within Uttarakhand. He was arrested again while going to Mussourie to pay tributes to the martyred andolankaries and was in jail for a pretty long time. He was grievously injured in the Lal Quila Maidan Rally in 1994 where he was likely to address a massive rally protesting against the shameful incidents of Ram Pur Tiraha, Mujaffar Nagar where several movement activists were killed and women coming to participate in the Delhi rally sexually assaulted and brutally raped.
Indra Mani Badooni was a true selfless mass leader whose entire life was dedicated for the cause of Uttarakhand and who’d always been in the forefont to safeguard, promote and conserve the culture and dialects of Uttarakhand. His tremendous contribution in promoting the folk lore of great icon Madho Singh Bhandari who sacrificed his son’s life for peoples’ cause, bringing water in Maletha, finding the Khatling glaciar and bringing it to the knowledge of the world and conserving its civilisation including infinite contribution in Uttarakhand movement as its only inspiration as a fatherly figure, its undisputed leader and a sacrificial figure, The Gandhi of Uttarakhand will always be remembered in the annals of the history of India and Uttarakhand. Our tributes to this great soul.
SUNIL NEGI, PRESIDENT, UTTARAKHANDJOURNALISTS FORUM