The origins of the ‘Chipko movement’ can be traced back to the 18th century in Rajasthan when members of the Bishnoi community prevented the felling of trees by hugging them. The trees were being cut on the orders of the Maharaja of Jaipur. However, in the wake of the resistance displayed by the villagers, the king decreed that the trees were to be left standing.
In the modern time, the Chipko movement took place in Uttar Pradesh’s Mandal village (now a part of Uttarakhand) in the upper Alakananda valley in April 1973. The idea of Chipko movement spread to other villages in the Himalayan region soon. It was triggered by the government’s decision to allocate the forest land in the region to a sports goods company, prompting angry villagers to take it upon themselves to safeguard the forests.
Keeping in mind the non-violent principles of the Chipko movement, the villages surrounded the trees and hugged them, preventing them from being cut. Led by Chand Chandi Prasad Bhatt and his NGO Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh, the movement saw a large number of local women participating in it.
The Chipko movement also gained traction under Gandhian environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna, whose relentless endeavours led the then prime minister Indira Gandhi ban the cutting of trees.
“The Chipko Andolan also stands out as an eco-feminist movement. Women formed the nucleus of the movement, as the group most directly affected by the lack of firewood and drinking water caused by deforestation,” Google said in its statement while describing the inspiration behind today’s doodle.
Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Svabhu Kohli and Viplov Singh, celebrates the bravery and perseverance of all of the ecological protectors across the globe, and thanks them for their endeavours, Google said.
“The power of protest is an invaluable and powerful agent of social change,” the statement added.