What is the Chipko movement? Women, being solely in charge of cultivation, livestock and children, lost all they had because of floods and landslides, caused due to rise in deforestation in the face of urbanisation. Source: Youtube The Chipko movement was a non-violent agitation in that was aimed at protection and conservation of trees, but, perhaps, it is best remembered for the collective mobilisation of women for the cause of preserving forests, which also brought about a change in attitude regarding their own status in society. Google on Monday commemorated the 45th anniversary of the Chipko movement. The incident has been etched in the annals of history for the sacrifice of a group of villagers, who led by a lady named Amrita Devi, laid down their lives while protecting trees from being felled on the orders of then King of Jodhpur. After this incident, the king, in a royal decree, banned cutting of trees in all Bishnoi villages.
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Human action has triggered a vast cascade of environmental problems that now threaten the continued ability of both natural and human systems to flourish. Solving the critical environmental problems of global warming, water scarcity, pollution, and biodiversity loss are perhaps the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Will we rise to meet them? Background With the conclusion of the Sino-Indian border conflict in , the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh experienced a growth in development, especially in the rural Himalayan regions.
Although the rural villagers depended heavily on the forests for subsistence—both directly, for food and fuel, and indirectly, for services such as water purification and soil stabilization—government policy prevented the villagers from managing the lands and denied them access to the lumber. Many of the commercial logging endeavours were mismanaged, and the clearcut forests led to lower agricultural yields, erosion , depleted water resources, and increased flooding throughout much of the surrounding areas.
When industrial logging was linked to the severe monsoon floods that killed more than people in the region in , DGSM became a force of opposition against the large-scale industry. The first Chipko protest occurred near the village of Mandal in the upper Alaknanda valley in April The villagers, having been denied access to a small number of trees with which to build agricultural tools, were outraged when the government allotted a much larger plot to a sporting goods manufacturer.
When their appeals were denied, Chandi Prasad Bhatt led villagers into the forest and embraced the trees to prevent logging. One of the next major protests occurred in near the village of Reni, where more than 2, trees were scheduled to be felled. Following a large student-led demonstration, the government summoned the men of the surrounding villages to a nearby city for compensation, ostensibly to allow the loggers to proceed without confrontation.
However, they were met with the women of the village, led by Gaura Devi, who refused to move out of the forest and eventually forced the loggers to withdraw. The action in Reni prompted the state government to establish a committee to investigate deforestation in the Alaknanda valley and ultimately led to a year ban on commercial logging in the area. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. For example, Bahuguna famously fasted for two weeks in to protest forest policy.
In , in the Advani forest in the Tehri Garhwal district, Chipko activist Dhoom Singh Negi fasted to protest the auctioning of the forest, while local women tied sacred threads around the trees and read from the Bhagavadgita.
In other areas, chir pines Pinus roxburghii that had been tapped for resin were bandaged to protest their exploitation. It is estimated that between and , more than villages were involved with the Chipko movement, resulting in 12 major protests and many minor confrontations in Uttarakhand.
Similar bans were enacted in Himachal Pradesh and the former Uttaranchal. Between and , Bahuguna marched 5, km 3, miles across the Himalayas to bring the movement to prominence. Throughout the s many protests were focused on the Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi River and various mining operations, resulting in the closure of at least one limestone quarry. Similarly, a massive reforestation effort led to the planting of more than one million trees in the region. In Chipko protests resumed in response to the lifting of the logging ban in Himachal Pradesh but were unsuccessful in its reenactment.
Learn how and when to remove this template message Soon villagers and women, began to organise themselves under several smaller groups, taking up local causes with the authorities, and standing up against commercial logging operations that threatened their livelihoods. In October , the Sangha workers held a demonstration in Gopeshwar to protest against the policies of the Forest Department. More rallies and marches were held in late , but to little effect, until a decision to take direct action was taken. In March , the lumbermen arrived at Gopeshwar, and after a couple of weeks, they were confronted at village Mandal on 24 April , where about hundred villagers and DGSS workers were beating drums and shouting slogans, thus forcing the contractors and their lumbermen to retreat. This was the first confrontation of the movement, The contract was eventually cancelled and awarded to the Sangh instead. The Sangh also decided to resort to tree-hugging, or Chipko, as a means of non-violent protest.
What is the Chipko movement?
Chipko Movement in Hindi | चिपको आन्दोलन