Ajith Vijay Kumar/ Sharique N SIddiquie
New Delhi: The Ramdev anti-corruption jamboree has ended. While media crews jostled to get the best shot of the Yoga guru sipping juice, an unknown sadhu, fasting to save the Ganges, was battling for his life next door.
36-year-old Swami Nigamanad, who fasted for 114 days to save mother Ganga from the ills of illegal mining, is now dead; an unsung death at the very hospital where Ramdev was kept under observation during the last days of his fast. No politician lined up to meet Nigamanad, no cajoling by religious leaders, no mass movement to save his life; he belonged to the Matra Sadan Ashram in Haridwar.
Nigamanad breathed his last just hours after Ramdev broke his fast.
Rishikesh ADM Pratap Shah said, "He was on a hunger-strike for 68 days at his ashram. The reason for his hunger-strike was saving the Ganga and to stop mining."
Swami Nigamanand fought a losing battle against stone crushers. Though he approached the High Court to get a ban on the illegal mining and stone crushing, the miners instead got a stay on the order and continued their activities.
The Swami’s condition deteriorated after a month’s fast and he slipped into coma. He was shifted to the Himalayan Medical Institute in Dehradun, where Ramdev was later admitted.
Accusing government of apathy, Matra Sadan’s Swami Kailashanand said, "The government is involved in this and is protecting the mafia. He was truly fighting for the Ganga without any media coverage."
And today morning, while Ramdev walked out of the hospital with a huge media entourage in tow, Nigamanand's body was taken away from the hospital mortuary; no arch lights, no netas, no one...‘Peepli Live’ in real life.
First Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 09:01