Anil Agarwal: The Environmentalist

I do not remember how I received India's first State of Environment Report published by the Centre for Science and Environment. Going through the content of the report, which went deep into the environmental crisis overtaking the continent-sized mass of India, it was obviously important to find out, "Who is Anil Agarwal?" Stereotype would have him as a trader, but here was a scientist, communicating complex ideas in a simple and effective style. Then. came CSE's second report, which covered many aspects of water development that engineers and social scientists alike were not sensitive to.

Anil visited Kathmandu before the 1992 Rio Summit to deliver a talk on global climate change, and he ferociously. questioned the iniquitous nature of the debate and the processes of negotiations. He knew his subject well. He ended his talk saying, "I sound angry, because I am angry." His forceful style and commitment did not diminish even as he battled a cancer he knew was bringing life to an end. After watching him berate Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair regarding their position on global climate change in Star TV early this year, knowing people in the far corners of South Asia would have said, "This is our Anil!"

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Himal Southasian