Tribune News Service
While yoga guru Ramdev hogged the media limelight as religious leaders and political dignitaries made a beeline for the Himalayan Hospital at Jollygrant near Rishikesh to offer him juice to end his fast on Sunday, in another room in the same hospital lay another saint, Swami Nigmanand.
The latter had been fasting for the past two months to save the Ganga. Nigmanad died unsung early this morning. During the action-packed past three days, when the political and religious leaders converged at the hospital to meet Ramdev, no one cared to visit the unconscious young saint.
Swami Nigmanand of Matra Sadan passed away at the hospital at 2.30 am, leaving his followers and even his guru shocked. He had been on fast-unto-death since February 19, 2011, for the 68th consecutive day, when he was forcibly hospitalised by the district administration.
Nigmanand, who died at 34, was agitating against illegal quarrying being carried out in the Ganga river-bed with the alleged connivance of officials and quarrying mafia. After several rounds of litigation in the court, Matra Sadan (to which Swami Nigmanand belonged) won the case against illegal quarrying which still continued, forcing the young saint to observe a fast-unto-death to save the Ganga. The founder of the Matra Sadan Ashram, Shivanand Maharaj, the guru of the deceased, has announced that he too would lay down his life on the burning pyre of his disciple, if the state government failed to carry out a high-level probe into the death.
I devote my heartly tribute to this great son of mother India.
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