Here we are saluting Indira Priyadarshini Vriksh Mitra Award winner “Kunwar Damodar Singh Rathore”, for planting almost a Crore Saplings, Damodar Singh embarked on his singular mission to plant crores of trees in the 1960s. The tall man carrying a small, faded bag soon became a common sight for the villagers of Bhanora and neighboring areas. The bag, which contained a small spade and some saplings, was inseparable from Rathore, gradually becoming a part of his identity.
In his lifetime, he managed to plant over 160 species in and around his village. Vast swathes of land in Bhanora, which now boast of a lush green cover, is his lasting legacy. He distributed lakhs of saplings every year and planted oak seeds on barren lands, which he nurtured for years to come.”
Rathore’s work was not limited to his own village. He also formed the Himalayan Green Brigade, an organization which recruited volunteers to plant saplings in their respective areas, in Pithoragarh.
He also planted saplings in plains of Kashipur, Dehradun, and Haridwar. He experimented with various varieties, planting trees which not only provide fodder, but are also able to contain moisture and prevent landslides.
On his deathbed, Rathore had just one worry, according to his family. “What will happen to the saplings I have planted? Who will take care of them?” he said as the last breath left his body.
Over one crore trees lose a dear friend. 91-year-old Kunwar Damodar Singh Rathore, the ‘Green Soldier’ who planted about 1,00,00,000 saplings during his lifetime, breathed his last in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand on Wednesday 8th June 2016.
Kunwar Damodar Singh Rathore, who was awarded Indira Priyadarshini Vriksh Mitra Award in 2000 for planting almost a crore saplings, was admitted to the hospital on May 25, 2016 after he fell ill when he went to douse a forest fire at his village in Bhanora in Didihat tehsil.
In the last days of his life, Rathore suffered severe breathing problems and had difficulty speaking, but that didn’t stop him from showing concern for his friends – the saplings. He carried many plants from his nursery to his hospital room.
Team "Nav Uttarakhand" Salute : Late Shri Kunwar Damodar Singh Rathore