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Chipko Movement | Chipko Andolan

Filed under: History on 2021-07-20 16:27:28
Chipko Movement was a non-violent agitation which originated in Chamoli district and later at Tehri-Garhwal district of Uttarakhand in 1973. The name of the movement ‘chipko’ comes from the word ’embrace’, as the villagers hugged the trees and encircled them to prevent being hacked.


The immediate reason for the Chipko Andolan was the government’s policy that did not allow local agriculturists and herders to cut the trees for fuelwood or for fodder, etc. However, a sports manufacturing company was given the permission to fell green trees and use them to make equipment.


Chandi Prasad Bhatt, founder of the cooperative organisation Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh, led the first Chipko movement near the village of Mandal in 1973.


Sundarlal Bahuguna is known for initiating the movement to guard the trees on the Himalayan slopes and coining the Chipko slogan ‘ecology is permanent economy’ He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2009.


The Chipko movement is best remembered for the collective mobilisation of women for the cause of preserving forests.


The women of Advani village of Tehri-Garhwal tied the sacred thread around trunks of trees and they hugged the trees, hence it was called the ‘Chipko Movement’ or ‘hug the tree movement’.


The Chipko movement gathered momentum in 1978 when the women faced police firings and other tortures.


It led to a ban on commercial felling of trees above 30 degrees slope and above 1,000 msl (mean sea level) in 1981 for a period of 15 years.


Important Leaders of the Chipko Movement: Sundarlal Bahuguna, Gaura Devi, Sudesha Devi, Bachni Devi, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Govind Singh Rawat, Dhoom Singh Negi, Shamsher Singh Bisht and Ghanasyam Raturi.


The movement later also inspired the “Appiko Chaluvali” or the “Appiko Movement”, which is the Southern Indian version of “Chipko Movement”.


The original Chipko andolan dates back to the 18th century and was started by Amrita Devi, a female villager, who could not bear to witness the destruction of both her faith and the village’s sacred trees. She hugged the trees and encouraged others to do the same. 363 Bishnoi villagers were killed in this movement.


Soon afterwards, the maharajah designated the Bishnoi state as a protected area, forbidding harm to trees and animals. This legislation still exists today in the region. 
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