Shruti Mahadevan
2 min readJul 10, 2021

What do forests bear? Soil, water and pure air l Remembering the Chipko Andolan II Part Two

women hugging a tree to protect it. Chipko movement

These great ideas were systematically rooted out of our culture with the intention of colonizing us, both in body and spirit. The environmentalist Vandana Shiva, who was an active spectator of the Chipko Movement, gives us insight into the origins of this school of thought…

From the earliest of times, nature was worshipped and seen as a collective asset; to be used with respect, reverence and discretion. Carolyn Merchant describes how nature was seen as a nurturing mother, who provided for her children as per a planned universal order and system..

The Industrial Revolution changed man’s relationship with nature and created a sense of distance and separation. Earth was seen as a source of raw material, a dead-matter, to be conquered, controlled and manipulated! Robert Boyle, the 17th century chemist, spoke about the need to rid ‘the natives’ of these primitive ideas and called nature worship ‘an impediment’ to the ‘agenda of conquest’ over ‘inferior creatures of God’. This was how seeds of discord, aggression and violence were planted into our collective consciousness. And it drastically changed the way forests were viewed and managed..

How did the actions of a few ordinary woman, become a catalyst for the Chipko Andolan? Watch this space for the third part of this post