In the 1970s, The Chipko movement was taken place in the northern Himalayan segment of Uttar Pradesh. Where it started, that well-known area names as Uttarakhand.
The word “Chipko” means that “to stick” or “to hug”.
The Chipko movement name comes from the word meaning “Embrace”. It is the significant meaning, which describes that how much village people loves and hug to the trees.
It is most important for the villagers to save the trees from felling. It interposes their bodies between them and the contractor’s axes.
Why Chipko movement starts
The trees were one of the most pressing need of the Uttarakhand people and to save the trees from destructing, they have begun the Chipko movement, and it became popular in Uttarakhand. Chipko movement is a grassroots level of action.
- A large number of trees was getting destroyed by the massive depletion of forests, which results in destruction.
- Significant damage is that there was arid-making of the Himalayan mountain range barren.
- Another destruction of the trees is that construction of dams, factories and roads had already led to deforestation.
Who starts the Chipko Movement?
The Chipko movement was initiated by the Sundarlal Bahuguna with a group of volunteers and women to make the non-violent protest by clinging to the trees to save them from falling.
The Sundarlal Bahuguna belonged from the renowned Gandhian.
Objectives of the Chipko Movement
There is much importance of the Chipko movement, from when it starts; it became the great movement for the Uttarakhand villager’s people.
The primary objectives of the Chipko movement were to ensure an ecological balance and the survival of the tribal people, who are totally depending on the trees because their economic activities revolved around these forests.
After seeing all that, the Sundarlal Bahuguna has appealed to the Mahatma Gandhi to ban the green felling.
Messages of Chipko movement
The Chipko movement starts to spread the word for makes the Greenland by the 5000kms Trans-Himalaya foot march in 1981-1983.
“Ecology is permanent economy” is the great slogan of the Sundarlal Bahuguna.
The forest is the local benefit of the people because it conserves and sustains of the people, it says by one of the earliest Chipko activists, whose name was Chandi Prasad Bhatt.
To start the “Chipko Embrace”, Dhoom Singh Negi, with Bachni Devi and many village women, first saved trees by hugging them.
The most beautiful Chipko poet was composed by the Ghanshyam Raturi, which is
“What do the forests bear” soil, water, and pure air.”
This song echo throughout the Himalayas of Uttar Pradesh and Indu Tilekar, a doctor of philosophy, who’s spiritual discourse throughout India on the ancient Sanskrit scriptures and comparative religion, has stressed the unity and oneness of life.
Make to the Chipko movement, part of this context, and there are other prominent leaders of the movement.
Actions of Chipko movement
- In the April 1973, in the village of Mandal in the upper Alaknanda valley, the first Chipko movement action took place.
- Over the Uttar Pradesh districts, it was spread too in the next five years, and this decision has made by the government for allotting the forest area in the Alaknanda valley to a sports goods company.
- The villagers are so angered just because they were not getting the agricultural tools and it is a demand of them to use wood for making tools.
- They have encouraged for it by the NGO (Non-Government Organization), DGSS (Dasoli Gram Swarajya Sangh), the Chandi Prasad Bhatt was the leader of activist and women of the era.
- They went into the forest and formed a circle the trees securing men from cutting them down.
- The Uttarakhand region is a highly remote area due to its precipitous slopes, with thin and fragile soils.
- The area highly resourced with abundant water resources and forests. The people living in this region are farmers, whose primary occupations are terrace cultivation and animal husbandry.
- The extensive network of roads, which have built after the Indo-Chinese border conflict, made accessibility to this region easier.
Reasons to start Chipko movement
As a result, the Uttarakhand region, which is known for rich minerals, soils, and forests, attracted many entrepreneurs. Soon the area became the object of exploitation by these entrepreneurs.
- Some products for which the region exploited were timber, limestone, magnesium, potassium, etc. The primary source of conflicts in this region was the exploitation of the forests by the entrepreneurs with the approval of the government.
- The other reason for such conflicts was that the villagers earlier denied the use of forests.
- The streamlined policies did not allow the local agriculturists and herders to cut the trees for fuel wood or fodder and certain other purposes.
- Instead, they told that dead trees and fallen branches would serve their needs. The agriculturists or herders could cut trees only for the construction of houses and for making implements.
- The policies were reframed, claiming that the overuse and misuse of the forests were causing deforestation.
- Moreover, the timber and charcoal contractors conspired among themselves and blamed the local people for deforestation.
- The villagers, with the help of social workers, established labour and small-scale producer cooperatives, which aimed at allowing the local population to share the benefits of development.
- There continued long arguments between the villagers, timber contractors, social workers, and the personnel of the forest department.
- The first spark of the movement started in 1972 at Gopeshwar in Chamoli district when a local co-operative not given permission to cut 12 ash trees for the purpose of building houses and for tool-making.
- Instead, the government sold the ash trees to a sports goods manufacturing company for the purpose of making bats and tennis rackets.
- The villagers appeal to the government went in vain. In protest, the villagers adopted a non-violent method, and they stuck themselves to the trees to protect them from being felled.
- The villagers were successful in their effort, and the government cancelled the permit given to the sports goods manufacturing company.
- Such other incidents have become successful, and the movement soon spread to other areas.
- The Chipko activists formed into groups and campaigned from village to village and informed people about the purpose and importance of motion.
- The movement has been diversifying its activities. It is now collecting funds to take up research on the issues of forests, soil, and water conservation.
Achievements by Chipko protest
The Chipko protests in Uttar Pradesh achieved a major victory in 1980 with a 15-year ban on green felling in the Himalayan forests of that state by order of Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Since then, the movement has spread to many countries in the country.
In addition to the 15-year ban in Uttar Pradesh, felling in the Western Ghats and the Vindhyas has stopped.
It has also generated pressure for a natural resource policy that is more sensitive to peoples, needs and ecological requirements.
Thus, the Chipko Movement is a significant environmental movement, which has gained considerable popularity and success by adopting a Gandhian non-violent method. The move paved the way for many such environmental changes in the country.