BHOPAL: In line with his last wish, the mortal remains of union minister for environment, Anil Madhav Dave, were consigned to flames on the banks of river Narmada in Bandrabhan area of Hoshangabad district in Madhya Pradesh on Friday morning.
Dave’s funeral pyre was consigned to flames (mukhagni) by his brother Abhay amid a gathering, including five union ministers, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, senior RSS functionaries and several BJP MPs and MLAs.
The 60-year-old Union minister and Rajya Sabha member, who was inducted into the Narendra Modi government as a Minister of State for Environment (independent charge) in July 2016, passed away in New Delhi on Thursday early morning.
While the State government declared a two-day State mourning and was preparing for Anil Madhav Dave’s last rites in Indore, his brother Abhay told government functionaries on Thursday that Dave wished to be cremated with vedic traditions in Bandrabhan, where he biennially organised the river festival.
Anil Madhav Dave’s last wish was mentioned in a document titled My Wish and Will, penned by Dave way back in July 23, 2012 on his official letterhead as a Rajya Sabha member.
In the single page note, Dave wished to be cremated at Bandrabhan, where he organised the river festival on the union of Narmada and Tawa rivers. In the same note, Dave mentioned that he wished that no memorial, awards or event be instituted in his memory.
“Those aspiring to do something in my memory should plant trees and conserve them, besides also working for conservation of water bodies. But all that should be done sans my name,” read Dave’s My Wish and Will.
Dave’s cremation was attended by included chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, union ministers Uma Bharti, Narendra Singh Tomar, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Dr Harshvardhan and Anant Kumar.
Dr Harshvardhan, the union science and technology minister, who was given additional charge of ministry of environment after Dave’s death on Thursday, read out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s condolence message.
In the message, Narendra Modi described Dave (a close friend) as an “ideal environmentalist and swayamsewak, besides an able administrator.”
Addressing the condolence meet near the makeshift cremation venue, MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Anil Madhav Dave’s unfulfilled dreams and work pertaining to river Narmada and overall environment conservation will be completed in letter and spirit.
“We’ve already decided to embark on a massive tree plantation exercise on both banks of river Narmada from Amarkantak to Barwani on July 2. The river festival organised by Dave and his NGO at Bandrabhan will continue to be held, even in the future,” said Chouhan.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and presently union minister for Ganga rejuvenation, Uma Bharti, recounted how Dave played the role of an architect in all wins of the party in Assembly and Parliamentary polls in MP since 2003, when she was elected to power as MP CM.
“As RSS vibhag pramukh, it was Dave ji only who was behind my win from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat in 1999 by a massive margin,” said Bharti.
Lauding Dave’s endless efforts towards conservation of river Narmada, the union minister said “he had started working on Narmada conservation with a blueprint since 2009. He was also a key participant at all meetings pertaining to Namami Ganga project,” said Bharti.