Reinvestigating the Chipko movement of 1973
Research scholar, Department of Geography, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Rajasthan
As it is well acknowledged that the Chipko movement of 1973 laid out the foundation of modern environmentalism in India. It was a struggle for local control of natural resources and an effort by women to protect their environment.The issue was not just the cutting of trees but the bigger problem of the depletion of natural resources. People’s participation is what made it the most popular of all. But what is necessary after 40 years is a rethinking over this issue, a new probe into what happened during that time, what let to such a mass movement, what were the immediate responses and how it impacted Indian environmentalism in the long run, were the initiatives taken enough, or the authorities underestimated the masses, was the leadership apt and efficient, did they succeed in performing their duties in securing the people their rights over land. If we are still talking about it, the movement must have a bigger relevance in today’s world, and we can learn a point or two from the people of those times. The study also tries to find what kind of disorientations were there in the movement that ultimately led to the unmet objectives. To go through that scenario once again, various newspaper cuttings, interview clippings and articles of that time have been used. When the study mentions the relevance of Chipko movement in present times, instantly it comes to mind, that stillthe tribal and peasant communities continue to be pushed off their lands through destructive and carelessly conceived projects. A new Chipko movement is waiting to be born.Industrialization and afforestation will never go together. No doubt, cutting of trees is unavoidable while making advancement in industrializing the economy, but how best the same is compensated through afforestation is significant. What we need is sustainable development along with non-perfunctory policies.
Keywords: Environmental movements,Chipko movement, Garhwal Himalayas, environmentalism, eco-feminism.
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