The Chipko movement: a pragmatic, material & spiritual reinterpretation

Rodriguez Stimson, Julio I.

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Abstract

The Chipko movement started in March 1974 when women from Reni village in Uttarakhand (India) hugged trees from the Reni forest to prevent them from being felled by the Symonds Company. This paper outlines the historical trajectory leading to these events, describes the movement and some of its consequences, discusses the motivations behind the movement, and examines whether it can be considered feminist. I conclude that the movement had both economic and ecological motivations as the villagers’ relationship to the forest was simultaneously pragmatic (material/economic) and rooted in a genuine desire to protect nature due to ‘deep ecology’ and spirituality. Moreover, I agree with Ramachandra Guha that it was neither feminist nor ecofeminist. However, the perceived reality of the Chipko movement as representing an “environmentalism of the poor” (Guha, 1989) and Shiva’s (1988) ecofeminist interpretation reified these ideas and had real implications in India and abroad.

Document type: Article
Publisher: CrossAsia E-Publishing
Place of Publication: Heidelberg ; Berlin
Date: 2016
Version: Primary publication
Date Deposited: 5 July 2016
Faculties / Institutes: Universitäten / Institute > South Asia Institute / Department of History
DDC-classification: General history of Asia Far East
Controlled Subjects: Chipko-Bewegung
Uncontrolled Keywords: Indien, Ökologische Bewegung, Chipko-Bewegung / India, ecological movement, Chipko movement
Subject (classification): History and Archaeology
Countries/Regions: India
Series: Subjects > Internet publication series on South Asian history
Volume: 7