In the year 1974, the Chipko movement was started today. In this movement, women and men used to protect the trees by wrapping the tree.
Table of Content:
1. Introduction to Chipko Andolan
2. Story of Chipko Andolan (Movement)
3. Current Situation at the place where Chipko movement happened
A movement that started in Uttarakhand about 45 years ago, which was named Chipko movement. This movement was mainly dominated by by Chandi prasad Bhatt and Gaura Devi and India’s famous Sunderlal Bahuguna led it further. To avoid cutting trees in this movement, people of the village used to cling to the tree, that is why this movement was named Chipko movement.
The Chipko movement was started at a place called Gopeshwar in Chamoli district of the Uttrakhand state. The movement started in 1972 to stop the indiscriminate and illegal harvesting of forests. Women also played a significant role in this movement, and during this time many slogans became famous and became part of the movement.
To stop deforestation in this movement, the men and women of the village used to climb down the trees and the contractors were not allowed to cut trees. At that time the movement was under way, environment became an agenda in the politics even at the Center. Through this movement, the Central Government made the Forest Conservation Act.
Story of Chipko Andolan (Movement)
Under the leadership of Gaura Devi, women were stuck with trees to save the forest.
On March 26, 1974, the workers of the Simon Commission went to cut down trees in Rani village. With the collusion of administration, the Simon Commission received the permission to cut trees. The day the trees were to be cut, the administration called the villagers for compensation for land in Chamoli Tehsil.
At nine o’clock in the morning, the workers of the Simon Commission took the saws and axes to cut the trees, women started Heavy protest.
Under the leadership of Gaura Devi, women in the area protested against the contractors and the workers. Women said that this forest is our home. You can take our lives but we will not let them cut.
Even after the fall of the trees began, all the women stuck to the trees at the behest of Gaura Devi. Women said that before cutting trees, you’ll have to cut off us.
Seeing the heavy protests of the women in the jungle, the workers had put axes and returned from the forest without cutting trees.
Under Forest Conservation Act the protection of forests and keep environment clean and green become the main agenda. It is said that due to the Chipko movement, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi made a bill in the year 1980. This bill banned cutting forests of Himalayan regions for 15 years. The Chipko movement was spread not only in Uttarakhand but in the whole country and its effect was visible. People gets aware for the conservation of environment.
Current Situation at the place where Chipko movement happened
Even today, women of Rani village area of Gopeshwar area are always ahead for the maintenance and supervision of forests. Bali Devi, associated with the Chipko movement, told that when the people of Simon Commission used to come to cut the forest of the village, the women of the village used to meet in the night to save the forest.
Gaura Devi inspires women to save the forest. Today the villagers perform animal husbandry and agriculture from this forest. Women still consider the forest as part of their family. Area panchayat member Sangram Singh says that due to the jungle, the natural drinking water source is still alive in the area. The livelihood of the villagers is also dependent on this forest. Women in the area are still struggling to save the forest.
No basic amenities in the village
Chipko leader Gaura Devi passed away on July 4, 1991. Now the villagers are raising the demand for setting up an environmental research institute here. Around 35 families live in Rani village today. Due to lack of facilities, many families have migrated to Joshimath.
Demands for water, communication, education and health have been a major demnad from the administration, but the situation has become tense. There is only one high school in the name of education system in the village. To study Inter, the students reach the GIC Tapovan by walkway, 12 km away. Due to lack of health facilities in the area, villagers have to come to Joshimath 27 km away even for a small disease.