The Bishnoi movement in Rajasthan has always been a coherent and well-articulated expression of ecological philosophy. The Bishnoi sect (also called Vishnoi) was a group of religious individuals in India founded by Guru Jambeshwar Ji Maharaj in 1485. It originated in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Who are the Bishnois?
The Bishnois are an Indian religious group with a solid commitment to protecting the environment, especially animals. The community was founded by Guru Jambeshwar and had 29 tenets, known as the 29 principles or commandments given by Guru Jambeshwar in 1485 AD. The Bishnoi subsistence economy is based on livestock and agriculture.
They are also known as Vishnoi and follow the principle of protecting trees and animals. The Bishnois are strictly against killing animals for food or sport. They believe that all life is sacred; humans have no right to kill any living thing, whether an animal or a plant. They have been described as the world's first ecological community because of their sustainable lifestyle and emphasis on environmental protection. The cutting of trees and hunting animals are strictly prohibited for the community members.
The Bishnois are primarily dairy farmers and are known for their dairy products and soap-making skills. They also cultivate wheat, maize, millet, cotton, jowar, and bajra.
Belief System of Bishnois
The Bishnois are the oldest environmentalist sect in India. They believe in the sanctity of all life and will go to great lengths to protect trees, shrubs, plants, and animals from being destroyed or slaughtered. They have been active in preserving the blackbuck, chinkara, and other poacher wildlife.
The Bishnois worship Vishnu and Krishna as the only gods; they are against idol worship and call themselves the followers of Jambheshwar, which means 'god' in Hindi. They are also called Vishnawasis or Jambhojis. Guru Jambheshwar Ji Maharaj, the founder, was a mystic poet-philosopher whose teachings represented a departure from those of other contemporary movements.
What is the Bishnoi movement?
The Bishnoi movement is a social movement led by Amrita Devi Bishnoi. The movement was founded in response to a massive deforestation program carried out by the rulers of Marwar in 1485, following a severe drought that had lasted seven years. Amrita Devi, a Bishnoi woman, led 363 villagers in protest against the felling of Khejri trees to build a palace for the Maharaja of Marwar. Maharaja Abhay Singh's soldiers brutally killed Amrita Devi and her followers, but their sacrifice prompted him to order no other trees be cut down.
The movement was formed to protect Khejri and other wildlife such as antelope, deer, and wildfowl. Many Bishnois were killed while attempting to protect their trees from being cut down by soldiers led by Abhay Singh of Jodhpur in 1730.
The Bishnoi movement has a remarkable ecosystem that replenishes itself and nurtures wildlife with its reforestation project. While not as well-known as other environmental movements, the Bishnoi movement offers a version of sustainability that echoes many of today's most prominent environmental issues. It is a lesson for everyone about the power of conscious action.
FAQs on Bishnoi movement
Q.1) What is the Bishnoi movement?
The Bishnoi movement is a community-based environmental protection campaign operating in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India, since the 15th century. The organization believes that protecting nature is a religious duty and has grown to become a mass movement with influence on India's local and national politics.
Q.2) How did the Bishnoi movement come into action?
The Bishnoi movement was born out of the concern for nature and wild animals and was led by Amrita Devi.
Q.3) Who was the founder of the Bishnoi sect in India?
Bishnoi is a religious sect of the people living in Rajasthan. They live in India, mostly in western Rajasthan. The Bishnoi movement was started by Guru Jambheshwar, who taught total devotion and love for nature.
Q.4) Which movement was the successor of the Bishnoi Movement?
The Bishnoi movement led to the Chipko movement.