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Sangh remembers Anil Dave as writer, amateur pilot and Narmada worshipper

The RSS paid rich tributes to Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave describing him as a passionate environmentalist, prolific writer and ardent Narmada devotee.

india Updated: May 18, 2017 20:08 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Anil Madhav Dave,Enviroment minister,Narmada
File photo of Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave who died Wednesday night.(Hindustan Times)

Soft spoken, passionate environmentalist, prolific writer and an ardent Narmada devotee. That’s how Anil Madhav Dave’s contemporaries in the Rashtriya Svyamasevak Sangh (RSS) remember him.

Dave who died Thursday morning was an RSS pracharak till the time he was loaned to the BJP to assist the then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Uma Bharti.

As news of his death spread, Sangh functionaries paid glowing tributes to the man credited for his role in reviving rivers and crusading for environment protection. They also shared their memories of late environment minister, who was also an amateur pilot.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat condoled his passing away and said he fulfilled his responsibilities as an RSS pracharak as well as a party member.

“He was my contemporary, while I was the pracharak in Ahmedabad. He held the same position in Bhopal and we met often. He was studious with a deep commitment towards environment and the Narmada. His studies on rejuvenation of rivers were exhaustive,” RSS spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya told HT.

Read more: Dave’s last wishes: Plant tree, preserve rivers but don’t use my name

He said Madhav’s love for the environment seeped into his private life as well. “His home in Bhopal is called Nadi ka Ghar (House of the river),” Vaidya recalled.

The late minister’s interest in statecraft culminated in a book, ‘Shivaji Va Suraj’, which has a foreword by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A long term associate and a friend of the late minister, Atul Jain said Dave was interested in examining how the governance model followed by the Maratha ruler could fit in the contemporary times.

“ One June 9, he was scheduled to deliver a lecture on integral humanism, and the good governance model followed by Shivaji at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy in Mussoorie,” said Jain who is the general secretary of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Research Institute, a Sangh affiliated think tank.

Jain also recalled his love for rejuvenating rivers and said he made concerted efforts to organise international river festivals on the banks of the Narmada.

“He treated rivers like people and spoke of their rights much before the courts did. He was a worshipper of Naramada. Hindu mythology advocates ‘parikrama’ of the Naramada; he did it thrice, once on foot, once on a raft and then flew his own plane across its 1300 kms length,” Jain said.

And when he chose to take a break from his duties as a party member and then as a Rajya Sabha MP, the late minister would retreat to his cottage “Shivneri” on the banks of the river he had dedicated his life to.

In his will, Dave had left instructions for a simple cremation ceremony near Shivneri, where the river festival is held; he has also asked for trees to be planted in his memory.

“He had an organic relationship with the Narmada and it is only fitting that he is being given his final rites on the banks of the river,” Jain told HT.

First Published: May 18, 2017 18:56 IST