Demise of a Good Samaritan
India lost one of its greatest yet humble environmentalist. His simple, idealistic life has been an inspiration to many, writes Sanjeev Anupam Mishra, a man who was Gandhian from his heart, environmentalist par excellence and the pioneer in water conservation, passed away on December 19. He was 68 years old and was suffering from prostate cancer. Simple living and high thinking was his lifestyle. He was a detached person with right kind of attitude. His book ‘Aaj Bhi Khade Hain Talab’ was published in year 1993. It was one of the most read books in the world. Including Braille script, this book is translated in almost all the languages of the world. He was born in the famous Gandhian sevagram, Vardha in Maharashta in the year 1948. He worked in Gandhi Shanti Pratishthan and used to stay in Raj Ghat’s residential premises in New Delhi. He used to visit the Jai Prakash Narayan Shanti Pratisthan regularly. That is where he had first met Jai Prakash Narayan. Once, he had to drop a letter from Jai Prakash Narayan to Rajasthan. There he saw, due to the scarcity of water, the host had conserved rainwater in a reservoir. He tasted this water and found it sweet. Since then, he started campaigning for water conservation, management and rainwater harvesting. Mishra was a great photographer too. Most of his photographs were based on environment. His photographs of the villages of Rajasthan became quite popular. In one of his photographs he had captured 12-13 people trying to collect water from just one water pot. This photograph had captured the attention of the entire world. Anupam Mishra used to write in very simple language. He was a great writer and a skilled editor. Since childhood itself he was inclined towards environment protection. He wrote a book named ‘Mitti Bachao’ in 1972. Later, he wrote books like ‘Rajasthan Ki Rajat Boondein’ and ‘Humara Paryavaran’. None of his books are covered under copy right law. His books were free for everyone, to be published and read. His book ‘Aaj Bhi Khade Hain Talab’ was translated into French also. In France this book is included in the syllabus of students. Motivated by his books many ponds were revived in Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra. He never had his own house, he never had any temptation towards materialistic things and he lived his entire life like a fakir. On his demise almost all the dignitaries have sent their tributes. Now, the big question arises who will fill the place he has vacated.
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