What is Chipko Movement ?

Chandi Prasad Bhatt

Chipko Movement was a daring act of non - violence carried out all over India in order to save the trees of the forest from being felled down due to the then government allocated tenders and policies.

The Chipko Movement also showed the world how a small group of people ( poor and uneducated but with a heart of Gold ) fought against a huge corrupt organisation and won with the gift of Mahatma Gandhiji of Satyagraha and Ahimsa.

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    The First Chipko Movement

    The Chipko Movement originated in Rajastan in the 18th century when the Bishnoi community living around the forest protested against the king wishes to cut down some forest trees for making furniture.

    The women and men of the bishoi community hugged the trees in order to prevent the kings men from felling down the trees. A large number of people lost their lives during this protest.

    Eventually the king relucted which prevented all the trees from being cut around the Bishoi forests

    The Causes of the Chipko Movement in Uttarakhand

    In Uttarakhand during the 20th century large scale deforestation was carried around due to inefficient policies of the then government and also due to lack of environmental and ecological awareness in the society.

    The large scale deforestation brought a lot of hardships to the common people, the people has to go further deep in the forest to collect firewood and also to collect food for their animals.

    Due to these problems the people gave up on keeping large livestocks which also bough an end to their livelihood and this further caused malnutrition among the people.

    This deforestation also had a heavy effect on the ecological balance of the region with less rainfall their once fertile land was now in poor condition, and there was a widespread scarcity of water for drinking.

    This government turned deaf ears to the people's condition and still awarded huge lumbering contracts. This further worsened the living conditions of the people and all this hardships then gave birth to a political non - violence activity named the Chipko Movement.

    Birth of the Chipko Movement

    Gaura Devi

    People started to get together and soon under the leadership of ChandiPrasad Bhatt they all formed Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS) a local workshop set up by local people to build farm tools from the forest resources

    The Government and the forest department continued to ignore small requests of the (DGSS) but started to offer larger lumbering contract to other big companies of the plains

    On April 24, 1973 about hundred of villagers and DGSS supporters stopped on such lumber contractor by beating drums and shouting slogans. The lumber contractor beat a hasty retreat but a small movement in the form of Chipko was born

    Spread of The Chipko Movement

    The Chipko movement now spread across the whole region and lots of villages now actively participated in the movement. With the success of the Chipko movement in Uttarakhand, the movement also caught fire in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. The Chipko Movement also laid down the foundation of a separate state of Uttarakhand.

    Greatness of The Chipko Movement

    The Chipko movement displayed to the world, how with a firm determination and path of non - violence can bring about big changes in the society and also help in eliminating the root cause of social evils. Women were the backbone of the Chipko movement.

    The movement inspired people to work on water management, energy conservation, afforestation, and recycling, issues of environmental degradation and methods of conservation in the Himalayas and throughout India.

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    Photograph of Gaura Devi - Anupam Mishra

    Photograph of Chandi Prasad Bhatt - V. Sudershan for The Hindu