chapter  8
18 Pages

The Chipko Movement

WithV. Shiva, J. Bandyopadhyay

A closer socio-historical evaluation is needed to de-mystify the image of Gandhian satyagrahas and to establish the materialist basis of Gandhian movements such as Chipko. The people’s response to this deepening crisis has emerged as non-violent Gandhian resistance: the Chipko Movement. The Chipko Movement is, historically, philosophically and organisationally, an extension of traditional Gandhian Satyagraha. Its special significance is that it is taking place in post-Independence India. The organisational platform for the Chipko Movement was ready, therefore, when in the 1960s destruction of Himalayan forests through commercial exploitation became the major cause of ecological instability in the Himalaya. The contemporary Chipko Movement, which has become a national campaign, is the result of these multi-dimensional conflicts over forest resources at the scientific, technical, economic and especially the ecological levels. The ecological world-view of Chipko provides a strategy for survival not only for tiny villages in the Garhwal Himalaya, but for all human societies threatened by environmental disasters.