This tree conservation movement was one of the earliest examples of non-violent protests that originated in India on such a wide scale. The Chipko Andolan started in 1973 in Uttarakhand to reduce the drastic deforestation that took place in those times. Sundarlal Bahugana was one of the prime members of this movement and helped in providing a proper direction to the peaceful protests. Chipko translates to “hug” or “cling to”, as women as well as children embraced trees to stop the loggers from cutting them. This small initiative soon expanded to cover the whole of the Himalayan region and ultimately became the “Save Himalaya Movement”. It was a movement that brought focus from all around the world onto how poor villagers especially women were eventful in bringing about a massive change and played a part in conserving the ecology.
19th century was a period in history when mass industrialisation was in full swing in India as forest contractors cut down trees and villagers faced hardships as their livelihood entirely depended on the resources derived from forests. This forced villagers to form groups and organise themselves around trees in the vicinity in an attempt to protect them from loggers. Chipko andolan gained momentum in and around the Himalayas as finally the then state chief minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna ruled a decision in their favour leading to a huge change in eco – development in the region and around the world.
Chipko Andolan paved a way for many ecological conservation societies to come into being, it became a live example of how even a few people can stand together to fight against various environmental ills. A major impact of the Chipko movement was that it prompted the Union government to amend the Forest act 1947 and introduce the new Forest Conservation Act 1980 which said that forest land cannot be used for commercial purposes. This is one of the very first examples of non – violent protests that shook the nation to its core and influenced the advent of many more eco groups around the world.
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