Google today celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Chipko movement with its doodle that shows four women protecting a tree as they form a human chain around it.
The doodle is a representation of the Chipko movement that literally derives its name from the practice of local people embracing trees to protect them from being cut down.
The movement that practices the Gandhian method of Satyagraha began in the 20th century in the hills where forests were the main source of livelihood.
The first Chipko action in modern India took place in April 1973 in the village of Mandal of Uttar Pradesh and spread over the next five years to many Himalayan districts.
Spearheaded by Sunderlal Bahugana, a noted environmentalist who died in January 2017, the movement sparked after the government decided to allot a plot of forest area in the Alaknanda valley to a sports goods company.
With the help of a local NGO, the women of the area went into the forest and formed a circle around the trees, keeping an all-night vigil against men who came to cut down the trees.
The success achieved in this protest was later replicated across the country.
Bahugana had appealed to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to stop the cutting down trees that later saw a ban on the chopping of trees in 1980 for a period of 15 years.
Bahugana had also coined the Chipko slogan ‘ecology is permanent economy’.
Other notable activists of the Chipko movement include Dhoom Singh Negi, Bachni Devi and many other village women who were the first to save trees by hugging them. They had even coined the slogan ‘What do the forests bear? Soil, water and pure air’.