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From Chipko to Jhapto Cheeno

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Presentation on theme: "From Chipko to Jhapto Cheeno"— Presentation transcript:

1 From Chipko to Jhapto Cheeno
New Environmental Justice Movements in the Indian Himalayas CAG 2005 June 4, 2005

2 Outline of Presentation
Geographic Setting The Chipko Movement (1970s-1980s) Academic Interlude Post-Chipko Movements (1980s-1990s) Jhapto Cheeno Movement ( )

3 A New Indian State, 2000 Three new states, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh created in 2000, after decades of struggle by their residents Uttaranchal Jharkhand Chhattisgarh

4 Uttarakhand: Terrain of Resistance
Tehri Dam Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve Henwal Valley Uttarakhand: Terrain of Resistance




8 “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

9 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.

10 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


12 Mass Mobilization, 1970s

13 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

14 However, post-Chipko movements ignored…

15 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

16 Tehri Dam Struggle,

17 Direct Action by Women, 1993

18 Dam Struggle shifts to Rehabilitation 2002-
Bahuguna, Chipko veteran gives up struggle Matu People’s organization continues agitating for proper rehabilitation Protracted struggle leaves little desire for repeat

19 Uttarakhand Movement, 1994-2000

20 Uttarakhand Movement, 1994-2000
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

21 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 Women-led protests met with intimidation, veteran Chipko activists arrested

22 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.

23 A Look at the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
Core Zone 640 km2 Buffer Zone 1600 km2 Altitude Range 1900–7817m 12 peaks over 6400m Diverse variety of microclimates Biodiversity hotspot Complete ban on access

24 Jhapto Cheeno, 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.

25 Core Zone Protest, 1998

26 Core Zone Protest, 1998

27 Nanda Devi Women’s Festival, 2004
Launch of 30th anniversary of Chipko celebrations Cultural survival through indigenous knowledge & practices honoured

28 Chipko Anniversary & Reconciliation, 2004
Divisions of early years between Chamoli & Tehri districts mended Role of women recognized However, tensions with park authorities remained

29 All-Women’s Squad Reunited

30 Campaign Press Coverage
“Ecotourism Awards 2nd Runner-Up” Conde Nast Traveler July 2004 Feature Article: “Peasants deprived of their land in the name of ecology” GEO January 2005 “Paradise Regained” National Geographic Adventure June/July 2005

31 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.

32 Many thanks to the communities of Lata & Henwalghati
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