What do forests bear? Soil, water and pure air I Remembering the Chipko Andolan II Part Four
Life was living hell for the people who lived and worked off this land. It was the woman who struggled the most and it was their strength that was mobilized by activists like Chand Prasad Bhatt and Sundarlal Bahuguna. The movement was strengthened by the stirring verses of the Chipko poet, Ghanshyam Rathuri. His folk songs became a symbol of power and strength for the women!
The Adwani Forest was being auctioned for the commercial felling of trees. The local women led by Bachni Devi came together to save the forests! they tied sacred threads around the tress and discourses from Indian Scriptures were recited all night. The contractors returned with a huge police force and hoped to surround the forests. Before they could do anything, they were astonished to see three women embracing the trees! Another auction took place and it took an ugly turn! Sundarlal Bahuguna was arrested secretly. Infuriated, thousands of people guarded the forests, day and night, for 11 days. Soon Chipko was on everyone’s lips and the movement spread to the farthest corners of India and the world!
The Chipko Movement began as a protest against the loss of livelihoods. Shaped by the philosophy of it’s activist leaders, it transformed the nature of ecological movements for the coming generations! Chipko teaches us the POWER communities have, to heal the collective consciousness and bring permanent changes in thinking.
After all, the biggest waves start with the tiniest of ripples, it’s a matter of throwing a stone