“Backbone of the Hills” ` Female majority in all interior districts ` Feminization of poverty observed ` Subsistence cultivation on small parcels of land ` Remittance supplements family income ` Access to common lands, health services, water major issues
Birthplace of the Chipko ` Chipko - literally “to hug” ` Active phase from 1973 to 1987 ` Major milestone in the global environmental movement, focus on resource rights ` Celebrated confrontation between mainly village women and loggers that resulted in local forests being saved. ` Spread to rest of Uttarakhand Himalayas, inspired women environmental activists throughout world including at Clayoquot.
Gaura Devi, 1925-1991 ` Heroine of Reni forest defense action, 1974 ` President of Reni Women’s Association ` Dedicated life to community defense & development ` Died in penury
Academic De(con)struction ` Anupam Mishra writes first history of Chipko (1978), followed by Shiva & Bandyopadhyay (1986), Weber (1987), Guha (1989), Routledge (1993), Küchli (1997) ` Critiques launched by Aryal (1994), Mawdsley (1998), Bandyopadhyay (1999), Rangan (2000), mostly targeting Shiva’s ecofeminist interpretations ` Mawdsley (1998) & Rangan (2000) update the Chipko story with comparisons to the Uttarakhand separate state struggle that raged throughout the 1990s
Other Social Movements associated with Chipko ` Prohibition Movement (ongoing) ` Beej Bachao Andolan (late 1980s-) ` Maiti Movement (1995-) ` Jal Andolan (1997-) ` struggles against mines, dams, development-induced displacement ` local community regeneration & development campaigns
` Mobilization of practically entire population ` Women again at the forefront, with 80% participation ` Largely non-violent, met with police repression ` Struggle for autonomy, self-determination, development
Renewed Mining Struggles, 2001- ` Henwal Valley in Tehri District witnesses successful 1980s protests against mining ` Establishes landmark constitutional environmental guarantees ` Mining pressures resume around Kataldi village, courts support mining company 2001-2003 ` Women-led protests met with intimidation, veteran Chipko activists arrested
Ironies of Chipko ` State deployed environmental narrative to strengthen control over natural resources, while ignoring the demand for the repatriation of land and forest rights to local communities. ` In Gaura Devi’s own community, this led to large-scale dispossession in the name of conservation through the creation of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.
A Look at the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve ` Core Zone 640 km 2 ` Buffer Zone 1600 km 2 ` Altitude Range 1900– 7817m ` 12 peaks over 6400m ` Diverse variety of microclimates ` Biodiversity hotspot ` Complete ban on access
Jhapto Cheeno, 1998-2001 ` Creation of national park created enormous hardship for local communities. ` Unilateral imposition of western model, draconian ban on local access & end to tourism industry alienated villagers, turning them against government-led conservation efforts. ` In 1998, Lata village launched the Jhapto Cheeno (“Swoop and Grab”) movement, involving direct action against the ban.
Campaign Press Coverage Feature Article: “Peasants deprived of their land in the name of ecology” GEO January 2005 “Ecotourism Awards 2nd Runner-Up” Conde Nast Traveler July 2004 “Paradise Regained” National Geographic Adventure June/July 2005
Bali Devi in Nairobi, 2004 ` First Chipko woman to travel outside India ` Shared dais of opening plenary with Wangari Maathai ` Spoke & sang in local dialect about unity of struggles ` Reaffirmed roots of contemporary struggles in history of resistance.
Many thanks to the communities of Lata & Henwalghati — uttarakhand.net — — nandadevi.org —