Terrains of Resistance: Nonviolent Social Movements and the Contestation of Place in India

By Paul Routledge; John Agnew | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
The Chipko Movement

Let us protect and plant the trees Go awaken the villages And drive away the axemen.

-- Ghanshyam Sailani (translated by Govind Raturi)

The Chipko movement developed in the mountainous northern segment of Uttar Pradesh, comprising the eight Himalayan districts of that state, immediately west of Nepal. The area is known historically and reverentially as Uttarkhand (see Map 2), the most sacred region of the holy Himalayas, the watershed of the Ganges River. The term has been revived recently and militantly to serve as an expression of ethnic and regional loyalties among residents of the region.

To understand the reasons for the emergence of the Chipko movement, it is important to analyze the nature of the area from which it appeared: its geography, culture, history and the process of development that has occurred therein. As with the Baliapal movement a consideration of the factors of location, locale and sense of place provides crucial insights into the reasons for the emergence and character of the movement. First, in considering the background to the movement, I show the importance of location and locale. I then show the importance of locale and sense of place in the formation of Chipko's nonviolent terrain of resistance, as well as discussing the movement's relationship to political parties and the state.

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