The Chipko Movement
- Author: Shekhar Pathak
- Publisher: Permanent Black
- ISBN: 9788178246482
In India, modern environmentalism was inaugurated by the chipko movement, which began in 1973. Because it was led by Gandhians, included women participants, occurred in “spiritual” Himalayan regions, and used innovatively non-violent techniques of protest, the chipko attracted international attention. It also led to a major debate on Indian Forest policy and the destructive consequences of Commercialisation. Because of chipko, clear-fuelling was stopped and India began to pay attention to the needs of an ecological balance which sustained forests and the communities within them. In academic and policy-making circles it fuelled a wider debate on sustainable development.
Chipko’s historians have hitherto focused on its two major leaders, Chandi Prasad Bhatt and Sunderlal Bahuguna. The voices of “subalterns” – ordinary men and women such as Gaura Devi who made chipko what it was – have not been recorded. Pathak places chipko in its grassroots contexts. He shows that in leadership and ideology Chipko was diverse and never a singular Gandhian movement.