Chipko Movement - the movement which shook India, saved India

On March 26, 1974, a group of women farmers who belonged to Reni village of Hemwalghati in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, displayed an act of courage. This was a landmark event in the history of the world. These women were successful to prevent falling of the trees and they were able to regain their rights on land which were under threat by the forest department. Soon this incident grabbed attention worldwide. In Garhwal, this movement spread in 1970s and led to the famous Chipko Movement. Chandi Prasad Bhatt and Sunderlal Bahuguna emerged as the leaders of this movement.

Chipko literally means 'to hug'. The Chipko Movement was basically a non-voilent Gandhian way of preventing the trees from felling. As the name suggests, the movement became famous for preventing trees from being cut by hugging them. Locals came forward courageously to protect their forests by hugging them. They faced the fear of death just to protect the trees.

India Today mentioned Chipko Movement as one of the '100 people who shaped India'.  The Chipko Movement was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1987.  The popularity and the purpose of the movement spread like fire. Soon there was an 'Appiko movement' down south. 
The motive of Chipko Movement was primarily conserving trees but eventually spread to all matters related to conservation of the environment. A woman named Gaura Devi deserves special mention here.
The Chipko Movement is the movement of masses. It was the result of the efforts of Garhwali people for the safegaurd of their motherland. People came forward to protect the environment and battled the government for it. Soon the results were seen and the laws were improvised. It is perhaps the most successful and inspiring movement in the history of India after the movement for freedom.

Uttarakhand perhaps needs few Chipko Movements today as well to stop the lush green forests from being converted to concrete jungles.

Picture Courtesy: source
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