P.O. Silyara via Ghansali
Interest in Forestry: central
The forests of India are a critical resource for the subsistence of rural peoples throughout the country, but especially in hill and mountain areas, both because of their direct provision of food, fuel and fodder and because of their role in stabilising soil and water resources. As these forests have been increasingly felled for commerce and industry, Indian villagers have sought to protect their livelihoods through the Gandhian method of satyagraha non-violent resistence. In the 1970s and 1980s this resistance to the destruction of forests spread throughout India and became organised and known as the Chipko Movement.
From their origins as a spontaneous protest against logging abuses in Uttar Pradesh in the Himalayas, thousands of supporters of the Chipko movement, mainly village level women, have won bans on clear felling in an number of regions and influenced natural resource policy in India. The name of the movement comes from a word meaning "embrace". The women practiced satagraha - non-violent resistance, and interposed their bodies between the trees and the contractors' axes, thus becoming the environmental movement's first tree huggers.