Chipko Movement

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Chipko Movement

Chipko movement is a socio-ecological movement that aimed at resisting mass deforestation using Gandhian methods of Non-violent resistance and Satyagraha through the act of hugging the trees to protect them from being felled for commercial purposes. “Chipko” translates to “stick” or to “hug” interposing their bodies between the trees and the contractor’s axes.

  • The first ever recorded event of Chipko movement that was the precursor to the movement in Garhwal took place in Khejarli village in Jodhpur in 1730 AD where several Bishnois protested under the leadership of Amrita Devi Bishnoi and sacrificed their lives to protect the Khejri trees.
  • The “Chipko Movement” is a relatively modern movement that was initiated in Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand in the early 1970s due to spreading awareness about rapid deforestation and its adverse effects.
  • It saw the huge participation of women. Its leaders and activists were primarily women, acting in order to protect their subsistence and their communities.
  • The very highlight of this movement remains that it was a silent, non-violent protest condemning ecological destruction.
  • Sundarlal Bahuguna, a renowned Gandhian is said to have initiated this movement to protect the trees on the Himalayan slopes. “Ecology is permanent economy” was his slogan.
  • The landmark event of this silent protest took place in March 1973 where peasant women in Chamoli district of Uttrakhand reclaimed their forest rights from the State Forest Department and prevented the trees from being felled.
  • This inspired several such movements across India, reaching as far as the Vindhyas and the Western Ghats. It generated pressure for a natural resource policy that is more sensitive to the environment and people’s needs.
  • The movement also inspired the “Appiko Chaluvali” or the “Appiko Movement”, which is the Southern Indian version of “Chipko Movement”



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