Monday, May 12, 2008
Chipko at Haji Ali
Chipko is a movement that was originally conceived of and followed by women peasants in Uttarakhand, to prevent the felling of trees in the region by the forest department. Launched in 1973, this movement by the end of the seventies, had spread like wildfire throughout the Uttarakhand Himalayas . The good news is that the movement continues to inspire people from all over the country and the latest Chipko slogans I've been reading about have been raised in my own neighbourhood.
A whole lot of residents living around Haji Ali have decided to battle against the municipality which wants to chop down 84 trees as part of a plan to beautify the promenade at Haji Ali. The idea is to get rid of all these trees and replace them with Zodiac signs. Huh? Concrete Zodiac signs as part of a beautification programme?! Are there any sane people left in the municipality or are we dealing with a bunch of complete morons? Neither probably. Somebody somewhere is going to be walking away with a bulging wallet and a fat smile on his face, on account of the so-called beautification programme which according to many of us will result in a seriously hideous promenade.
Anyway the Chipko movement at Haji Ali has been apparently spearheaded by one Jayashree Desai who has also agreed to adopt a tree. Several people have now said they will adopt and look after a tree and that they will stand between the tree and the axe if the municipality comes along to further its idiotic ideas. I feel tempted myself to go join them so I'm going to be finding out more about this protest, very soon.