Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Being compassionate towards the green forests - Chipko Movement

This post is written as the seventh in the series of A-to-Z challenge and a part of #1000speak

My series theme is "Compassion" and today's thought is based on "Greens - compassion towards our mother earth"

There is a traditional legend about Amrita Devi, who is claimed to have died trying to protect the trees that surrounded her village. The story dates back to 18th century. The local king’s tree cutters arrived to cut the villager’s trees for wood for his new fortress, but Amrita, with others, jumped in front of the trees and hugged them.
Picture courtesy -

What is Chipko movement?
The Chipko movement started in 1970s when deforestation of the Himalayas was at full swing. The timber, resin and pulp raked in foreign exchange. The movement started with the local women agitations, to save their economic survival, for the forests provide them with food, fuel and forage. If you have ever been to the Himalayas, you would know the beauty of mountains, and the flora adorning its majesty. Deforestation not only depletes trees, but also leads to soil erosions in the mountains. This leads to landslides and floods. In the 1970s, the deforestations policies were weak, and land was given to contractors to build their business. They started felling trees, and constructing business units and factories.
In a very famous landmark incident, a group of forest officials along with some laborers started moving towards the forests of Reni, to auction 2500 trees from the green belt in the village. Gaura Devi and 27 women of Reni village began to march towards the forests, to protect the trees. Initially they tried to reason with them and told the laborers to leave. The officials began to hurl obscenities at Gaura Devi and her group of women and told the laborers to go ahead and cut the trees. The women warned them that if they attempted any such thing they would cling to the trees. And they did, thus not only saving the forest but also fueling the fire of the movement.

Chipko, in Hindi, means clinging or sticking on to something, in this case the trees. The “chipko movement” followed and still follows the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence and satyagrah. Thee movement has a widespread impact, not only across India, but also to other parts of the world.
This post specially mentions one of the most prominent leaders Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna, a Gandhian activist and philosopher, whose appeal to Mrs Gandhi resulted in the green-felling ban and whose 5,000-kilometre trans-Himalayan foot march in 1981-83 was crucial in spreading the Chipko message. He initiated and led the Anti Tehra Dam movement. For his efforts, he was honored with Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, and Right Livelinhoood Award, Sweden.  
 Amongst the discussions of carbon footprints and global warming, grassroot movements are required. Saving our mother earth, restoring the greenery, being compassionate towards our environment, is the first step towards a better, greener world. 

Head to my fellow blogger, Stephanie Faris's posts. Her theme for this year's AtoZ is the 80s where she makes me reminisce the childhood days.  
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