NEW DELHI: Today’s ‘Google Doodle’ marks the 45th anniversary of the forest conservation initiative called the Chipko Movement.
The goal of the Chipko Movement was to draw attention to and prevent deforestation, which had begun to occur on a mass scale to make way for dams or industry or roads. The movement began in 1973 in Uttar Pradesh and was an initiative of Sunderlal Bahuguna, a renowned environmentalist.
The word ‘Chipko’ is Hindi for ‘to stick to’ and the way people expressed solidarity with the movement was by surrounding trees and linking their hands together around it, to physically prevent trees being chopped down.
Today’s ‘Google Doodle’ shows a group of women standing around a tree in a forest, their hands linked together, under the light if the moon. In fact, the whole movement was taken forward by women participants, who became a driving force in educating people on the deleterious effects of deforestation.
The 1973 movement was inspired by a similar movement in 1730 AD in Rajasthan, says Google’s write-up about the significance of the event. During the 18th century movement, as many as 363 people are said to have sacrificed their lives to save ‘khejri’ trees.