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The Chipko Movement


Abstract Adhering to the tradition of satyagraha, or nonviolent protest for the sake of truth and purity, the Chipko movement in the Indian Himalayas is a predominately female peasant movement dedicated to ecological protection, especially forest preservation. Named for the practice of “hugging” trees in order to protect them from loggers, this grassroots movement protests land use and development schemes that are socially and environmentally destructive. Chipko participants express a reverence for nature and a perception of trees as sacred that testifies to the religious dimension of the movement. Leaders in the movement also utilize other religious techniques and practices such as the recitation of Hindu religious writings and the performance of rituals during protests. Scholars such as Vandana Shiva argue that the gendered nature of Chipko as a women’s movement testifies to its religious base through the longstanding association of nature and “the feminine principle” in Indian religious traditions.
Religion Hinduism
Geographic Location The Indian Himalayas
Duration of Project 1973–Present
History None Listed
Mission Statement None Listed
Partner Organizations None Listed
Long-Term Goals To protect local forests and the people that dwell in them from contract logging, abusive resin-tapping, and other destructive land-use practices or development projects through nonviolent resistance efforts.
Bibliography George A. James, “Ethical and Religious Dimensions of Chipko Resistance” in Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water, eds. Christopher Key Chapple and Mary Evelyn Tucker (Cambridge, Mass.: Center for the Study of World Religions; Harvard University Press, 2000) 499–530.
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information Sunderlal Bahuguna
Chipko Information Centre
P.O. Silyara via Ghansali
Tehri-Garhwal,U.P., 249155 India
Fax #1:       Delhi 91 11 4364914
Fax #2:       4360784 Tehri 91 1376 84566

For additional information see the following websites:
We the People: 50 Communities
American University Case Study on the Chipko Movement