. Chipko movement was a nonviolent social and ecological movement by rural villagers, particularly women, in India in the 1970s, aimed at protecting trees and forests slated for government-backed logging. The movement originated in Uttarakhand in 1973 and quickly spread throughout the Indian Himalayas. The Hindi word chipko means “to hug” or “to cling to” and reflects the demonstrators’ primary tactic of embracing the trees to impede the loggers.
The Chipko movement thus began to emerge as a peasant and women’s movement for forest rights, though the various protests were largely decentralized and autonomous. In addition to the characteristic “tree hugging,” Chipko protesters utilized a number of other techniques grounded in Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha.
As the movement continued, protests became more project-oriented and expanded to include the entire ecology of the region, ultimately becoming the “Save Himalaya” movement. Between 1981 and 1983, Bahuguna marched 5,000 km the Himalayas to bring the movement to prominence. Throughout the 1980s many protests were focused on the Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi River and various mining operations, resulting in the closure of at least one limestone quarry. Similarly, a massive reforestation effort led to the planting of more than one million trees in the region.