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At 85, he spearheads a green campaign

Sunday, October 10, 2010 02:48:54 PM, Asit Srivastava, IANS

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Lucknow: He is a freedom fighter who continues to fight passionately for a cause. Meet Raghuvansh Dubey, 85, a native of Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur district who has been spearheading a green campaign for the past nearly 30 years.

Dubey, who went to jail several times for his activities against British rule, has till now not only planted over 30,000 saplings but also motivated hundreds of people to take up the green cause.

"First I fought for my country and now I am fighting for my earth... I am not doing anything extraordinary... It's just a responsibility that everyone on this planet must realise if they want to save their mother earth from the ill-effects of pollution and climate change," Dubey told IANS over telephone from Gorakhpur, some 300 km from Lucknow.

"I personally believe that more than the scientists or environmentalists, the onus to save the environment lies on the commoners... and it's simpler than the complex experiments and projects being taken up by experts to protect the environment.

"They (commoners) can contribute their bit towards a greener earth and better environment just by planting some saplings," added Dubey, a retired school teacher who lives in Morarpur village with his four sons.

Dubey, who took part in the Independence movement at a tender age, came to the limelight in 1942 when he planned a train robbery.

Dubey, along with his other friends, looted valuables belonging to the British government treasury from a train in Sehjanwa town in Gorakhpur in 1942. "I feel today we need to fight for the environment with the same spirit and zeal that was shown by our freedom fighters during their struggle for independence... We need to realise that mother earth is linked to all of us and we all will be affected if the planet is harmed in any way," said Dubey.

"If such a feeling is developed in our mind, I am sure we would be able to counter the ill-effects of pollution and climate change to a considerable extent. We just need to take concerted action," he added. It was in 1980 that Dubey decided to make efforts for betterment of the environment.

"Actually it all started when I found that an old pond of my village was being used as a garbage dumping site by some locals. Though people have great respect for me I did not ask them for any help and decided to clean up the pond alone," said Dubey.

"When locals noticed me collecting polythene bags and garbage from the pond, they also joined in the exercise... It's how I took up my first assignment to save the environment," he added.

Later, Dubey started planting saplings in his village on a regular basis and started sensitising locals about environmental issues.

Earlier, Dubey would bear the expense of the plantation drive himself, but later people from his native village and elsewhere started supporting him financially.

Today, Dubey has not only made the surroundings of his Morarpur village green but also planted saplings in nearly 50 villages in Gorakhpur district, including Hariharpur, Naiyapur, Fattepur, Bhawanipur.

The people appreciate Dubey for his efforts to save the environment. "We all should take a lesson from him (Dubey). If at such an age, he is bothered about the environment, we youths should also make an effort to protect the environment," said Roshan Jaiswal, a college student and resident of Morarpur village.

Echoing similar sentiments, Nagendra Yadav, owner of a local dairy, said: "What Dubeyji is doing is truly praiseworthy... He not only motivates us to plant saplings, but also makes us take a pledge to protect the saplings."
 


(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at asit.s@ians.in)

 

 

 

 

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