Remembering Bagmati Baa

Features Issue 147 Feb, 2014
Text by Shuvechchhya Pradhan / Photo: Nayantara Gurung Kakshapati

Megh Ale, the President of Nepal River Conservation Trust, remembers'Bagmati Baa' Hutta Ram Baidya, Nepal's first Agro-engineer and tireless campaigner for the Bagmati river, who passed away on December 24, 2013

I will always remember Hutta Ramji for the vision he had for the Bagmati. He was so passionate about the river that dedicated his life to it. He was the one who coined the term ‘Bagmati Civilization’ and gave strong messages to the policy makers, politicians and citizens of Kathmandu Valley. Civilization has deep meaning. I always believed that when he emphasized on preserving the Bagmati Civilization, he meant for all of us to go back to our roots and protect the river. After all, civilization is greater than a religion and belongs to everyone - those who came from it and those who are living in it now. Hence, the Bagmati river is the property all societies, cultures and religions. 

Another thing I remember is the question he asked us when he was the chief guest in the Bagmati River Festival’s second year. “How will you clean the river by taking a raft down it?” he had inquired. When we told him that our main attempt was to bring people closer to the river by doing so, he was convinced. In 2003, he himself rafted from Tilganga to Shankhamul where his photos were being exhibited. He was cautious about giving us the photographs because he didn’t want them to be a tool for begging. That was Hutta Ram Baidya for me. He was an inspiration for the Bagmati Movement. Talks for a Bagmati Hutta Ram Baidya memorial park are ongoing so that everyone can get inspired from his work to save the river. After all, if the Bagmati Civilization is dead, Nepal will be nowhere.