Chipko Movement in Germany
img source: youtube images

Todays Google Doodle has women standing around a tree with inter-twined hands. Reminds me of the several pictures of our EVS books back when I was in school. Google is celebrating Chipko Movement’s 45th anniversary.
India has one of the world’s largest ecosystem. India’s woodland cover developed at 0.20% every year more than 1990-2000, and has developed at the rate of 0.7% every year more than 2000-2010, after decades where forest degradation involved genuine concern.

What Is The Chipko Movement?

For those of you who do not know, the Chipko Movement was a famous revolution against cutting down forest trees. This movement was born in Uttar Pradesh’s Mandala village in the Alakananda valley.The movement was engineered by well known activist Sundarlal Bahuguna.
The women of the village flocked together in the forest and started hugging the trees. It is one of the most effective and yet peaceful movements that created a large difference in the society.

Background:

The year 1964 saw the foundation of Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS) (“Dasholi Society for Village Self-Rule”), set up by Gandhian social laborer Chandi Prasad Bhatt in Gopeshwar, and enlivened by Jayaprakash Narayan and the Sarvodaya development, with an aim to set up little enterprises utilizing the assets of the woodland. Their first venture was a little workshop making ranch devices for neighborhood utilize.

Its name was later changed to DGSS from the first Dasholi Gram Swarajya Mandal (DGSM) in the 1980s. Here they needed to confront prohibitive forest arrangements, and in addition the “contracter system”, in which these bits of forests were commodified and sold to enormous temporary workers, for the most part from the fields, who brought along their own particular talented and semi-skilled workers, leaving just the modest employments like pulling rocks for the slope individuals, and paying them peanuts.

These were all okay until things actually stirred in January 1974 when a part of the forest near Reni area. About 2500 trees that looked over the river, were to be auctioned. On March 1974, the Government played a trick on all the men of the village and the DGSS men in Chamoli and sent them to a fake site, while the real work was to be started and lumbermen had already arrived.

A small girl on seeing this, informed the head of the women’s committee Gaura Devi, who took matters in her own hand. 27 women along with Gaura herself, marched to the site and protested against the trees being cut. Soon after that, the men lost their patience and started abusing them and threatened them with guns.

The brave women did not back down. They each went and hugged a tree preventing it from being cut. This vigil went on overnight during which, the men watched in hopelessness as their plan was failing. Next morning, when the men had arrived, the news flew to the neighboring villages. The lumbermen held strong for 4 days after which they retired back. Their victory was historic. News flew around faster than ever.
Such a movement was once seen, much before our time in 1730 AD. 363 people of the Khejarli village in Rajasthan had given up their life while saving Khejri trees which was also the state tree of Rajasthan.

A lot of brave men and women have committed their life to this cause. Trees and forests are important to us and there are people who do not understand that.

How Far Did This Movement Reach?

The news soon achieved the state capital, where at that point state Chief Minister, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, set up a board of trustees to investigate the issue, which in the end decided for the villagers. This turned into a defining moment ever in ecological struggles between sects.

Soon many neighboring villages in the region started having this problem. They have had to act spontaneously to take forward this genius movement. Timbermen all over the region failed to cut as many trees as they would have liked to.

The Goverment was not to give forest abusing contracts to anyone. The state would give neighborhood groups powerful control over resources like land, water, and timberlands. They needed the government to provide low cost materials to little enterprises and guarantee advancement of the locale without irritating the natural balance.

The development took up monetary issues of landless timberland specialists and requested assurances of atleast minimum wages. Chipko exhibits how environmental causes, up until the point that at that point thought about a pasttime of the rich, involved life and death for poor people, who are frequently the first ones to be crushed by a natural disaster.

Women started tying ‘rakhi‘ to the trees for their protection.

Lets take a journey back through our Environmental Studies book and see what could happen as a direct consequence of deforestation.

1) Floods.
2) Indigenious animals are becoming extinct and a large number of animals are losing their natural habitat.
3) Climatic change
4) Dessertification
5) Soil Erosion

These things inturn lead to larger disasters like droughts and lots of barren land.

There are too many things at stake and we need to understand it is so much larger than a building full of spacious condos or a shopping mall. Visit them. Inhale deeply their sanctity, its quiet beauty. Who would want to get rid of such heaven on earth?

Hey. I am Sagarika. I hail from the City of Joy. Though I have graduated as an engineer, writing has always been my calling. What had started as a weird Paragraph at an essay writing competition, has now turned into an all time passion for me. Though the entire world is my muse, dogs are my favourite form of life.

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