Where did the Chipko Movement First Started in India?

By Harshal Vispute|Updated : July 11th, 2022

The Chipko movement, also known as the Chipko Andolan, was a nonviolent social and environmental movement launched by rural Indian peasants, notably women, in the 1970s. Its goal was to defend forests and trees from government-sponsored logging. In 1973, the movement began in the Indian Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, which was at the time a part of Uttar Pradesh. The activists' principal strategy of embracing trees to obstruct loggers is reflected in the Hindi word Chipko, which means "to hug or to cling to."

Background of Chipko Movement in India

  • The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh saw a rise in development after the Sino-Indian border conflict was resolved in 1963, particularly in the rural Himalayan areas. 
  • Many international logging corporations looking for access to the region's abundant forest resources were drawn to the interior routes constructed during the conflict. 
  • The government's policy prevented the villagers from managing the lands. It denied them access to the lumber, even though the rural villagers relied heavily on the forests for subsistence directly, for food and fuel, and indirectly, for services like water purification and soil stabilization. 
  • Commercial logging operations were frequently poorly managed, and the clear-cutting of forests reduced agricultural yields, caused erosion, depleted water supplies, and increased flooding in many of the surrounding communities.


Where did the Chipko Movement First Start in India?

The movement began in 1973 in the Himalayan area of Uttarakhand, which was at the time a part of Uttar Pradesh. It later served as a focal point for numerous other global environmental initiatives. It established a standard for the beginning of peaceful protest in India. This non-violent movement helped to slow down the rapid deforestation, expose vested interests, raise social consciousness about the need to preserve trees, raise ecological awareness, and show the effectiveness of people's power. Over time, it inspired numerous similar eco-groups. Both male and female activists from Uttarakhand played significant roles in the Chipko Andolan or Chipko movement, which practiced Satyagraha, including Gaura Devi, Suraksha Devi, Sudesh Devi, Bachini Devi, Chandi Bhatt, Virushka Devi, and others.

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Where did the Chipko movement in India begin FAQ's

  • In 1973, the first Chipko movement was organized by environmentalist and Gandhian social activist Chandi Prasad Bhatt, who was also the founder of the cooperative organization Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh.

  • Gaura Devi (1925–1991) was a grassroots activist and a rural women community leader from India who played an important role in the Chipko movement.

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