Chipko Moment

Topics: Chipko movement, Tehri, Vandana Shiva Pages: 12 (4657 words) Published: January 5, 2013
Intro ;lThe Chipko movement or Chipko Andolan is a movement that practised the Gandhian methods of satyagraha and non-violent resistance, through the act of surrounding trees to protect them from being felled. The modern Chipko movement started in the early 1970s in the Garhwal Himalayas ofUttarakhand,Then in Uttar Pradesh with growing awareness towards rapid deforestation. The landmark event in this struggle took place on March 26, 1974, when a group of peasant women in Reni village, Hemwalghati, in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India, acted to prevent the cutting of trees and reclaim their traditional forest rights that were threatened by the contractor system of the state Forest Department. Their actions inspired hundreds of such actions at the grassroots level throughout the region. By the 1980s the movement had spread throughout India and led to formulation of people-sensitive forest policies, which put a stop to the open felling of trees in regions as far reaching as Vindhyas and the Western Ghats.[1] Today, it is seen as an inspiration and a precursor for Chipko movement of Garhwal.[2][3] The Chipko movement, though primarily a livelihood movement rather than a forest conservation movement, went on to become a rallying point for many future environmentalists, environmental protests and movements the world over and created a precedent for non-violent protest.[4][5] It occurred at a time when there was hardly any environmental movement in the developing world, and its success meant that the world immediately took notice of this non-violent movement, which was to inspire in time many such eco-groups by helping to slow down the rapid deforestation, expose vested interests, increase ecological awareness, and demonstrate the viability of people power. Above all, it stirred up the existing civil society in India, which began to address the issues of tribal and marginalized people. So much so that, a quarter of a century later, India Today mentioned the people behind the "forest satyagraha" of the Chipko movement as amongst "100 people who shaped India".[6] Today, beyond the eco-socialism hue, it is being seen increasingly as anecofeminism movement. Although many of its leaders were men, women were not only its backbone, but also its mainstay, because they were the ones most affected by the rampant deforestation,[citation needed], which led to a lack of firewood and fodder as well as water for drinking and irrigation. Over the years they also became primary stakeholders in a majority of the afforestation work that happened under the Chipko movement.[7][8][9][10] In 1987 the Chipko Movement was awarded the Right Livelihood Award [11]

The Himalayan region had always been exploited for its natural wealth, be it minerals or timber, including under British rule. The end of the nineteenth century saw the implementation of new approaches in forestry, coupled with reservation of forests for commercial forestry, causing disruption in the age-old symbiotic relationship between the natural environment and the od were crushed severely. Notable protests in 20th century, were that of 1906, followed by the 1921 protest which was linked with the independence movement imbued with Gandhian ideologies,.[12] The 1940s was again marked by a series of protests in Tehri Garhwal region.[13] In the post-independence period, when waves of a resurgent India were hitting even the far reaches of India, the landscape of the upper Himalayan region was only slowly changing, and remained largely inaccessible. But all this was to change soon, when an important event in the environmental history of the Garhwal region occurred in the India-China War of 1962, in which India faced heavy losses. Though the region was not involved in the war directly, the government, cautioned by its losses and war casualties, took rapid steps to secure its borders, set up army bases, and build road networks deep...
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