On October 11, PM Modi expressed his condolence on the sad demise of Professor GD Agrawal. The 87-year-old former Dean of Environmental Engineering at IIT Kanpur died on the 111th day of his fast-unto-death to save river Ganga.
Saddened by the demise of Shri GD Agarwal Ji. His passion towards learning, education, saving the environment, particularly Ganga cleaning will always be remembered. My condolences.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 11, 2018
However, PM Modi never once replied to the repeated appeals by Prof Agrawal, when he was alive. Reportedly, when UPA government was in power, then Narendra Modi expressed his support to Prof Agrawal’s cause. When Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, one of his major campaign promises was the rejuvenation of river Ganga. However, the progress till now has been questionable at best, something which even CAG took a note of.
Magsaysay award winner Dr Rajendra Singh, also known as ‘Waterman of India’ talked to The Logical Indian about the disheartening demise of his mentor.
“The way he was killed is saddening”
“Dr GD Agrawal was a true scientist and a spiritual ‘sant purush’ with a clear understanding of Ganga. The way he was killed is very saddening. This is a way to instil fear in the country in the sense that no voice can be raised to protect the environment and nature for our better future. The cause of River Ganga is for everyone, for everyone’s better future. Killing a man who had taken up this noble cause is not justified,” Dr Rajendra says in a broken voice.
Prof Agrawal was his mentor and he was quite close to him as he was to his cause and fight. “For such a long time, the government showed remarkable apathy and humiliated him. They said it was a cardiac attack. But when it is a case of cardiac attack or cardiac failure, the patient is admitted to ICU and not referred to Delhi. AIIMS, one hand referred him to Delhi and on the other hand, it said it was cardiac arrest. This vicious circle is not clear. This happened with Swami Nirmananda before, and now him,” angry at the government, Dr Rajendra fumes.
“I am extremely saddened by the news of his demise. Yesterday, Nitin Gadkari gave a statement that they(government) have accepted 80% of his demands and he should end his fast-unto-death. This deeply affected him. He asked me to go to Delhi and hold a press conference and tell the world that not 1% of the claim is true. So, I left for Delhi. When I was near Muradnagar, I received the news of his demise. This is a heart-wrenching incident.”
“PM never replied to him. He wrote the first letter to the PM on 20 January, and since then he has written almost five letters.”
The Logical Indian Take
Prof Agrawal held a PhD from Berkeley and was the former-Dean of Environmental Engineering at IIT Kanpur. He was also the first Chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board. However, this is not about his achievements, it’s about his love for river Ganga, his fight to protect the river Ganga. His love for protecting the environment was not political, rather it was spiritual. He went on with his Gandhian methods to bring the plight of the river, which is revered by millions as sacred, to the notice of the authorities. However, PM Modi, who said in his 2014 campaign that ‘Ma Ganga’ has called him, did not even consider fit to give him a reply.
Yesterday, The Wire made public one of his letters to the PM. In the letter, Prof Agrawal said, “I have no qualms about giving up my life because the issue of Gangaji is very significant to me and is of utmost priority. I was a Professor at an IIT and was member of the Central Pollution Control Board as well as that of Governmental organizations related to Gangaji. It is on the basis of my experiences gained over all these years of being part of these institutions, I can state that in the previous four years of your Government, there is not even a single action that can be said to be a fruitful one in the direction of saving Gangaji.”
We at The Logical Indian are disheartened over his passing away as he was true to his cause and dedicated his life to save our national river. The government is preparing for the 2019 election, but they should keep in mind that they need to give people what they are demanding for. GD Agrawal’s fight was not to fulfil his personal agenda but to save the river for the nation. PM’s tweet came at a time when damage was already done. If he replied to Agrawal’s queries before, then today, we probably would not have been writing this article.