Monday, March 26, 2018

Hold on

On 26 March 1974, in Reni village (Uttarakhand), women hugged trees to prevent them from being cut. The locals had been opposing the commercial tree felling contractors. The Garhwal Himalayas had become the centre for a rising ecological consciousness of how thoughtless deforestation had bared the forest cover, resulting in the devastating Alaknanda River floods of July 1970.

The forest conservation movement was known as Chipko Andolan. It dates back to 1730 AD when in Khejarli village of Rajasthan, 363 people sacrificed their lives to save khejri trees. The Chipko movement became a benchmark for socio-ecological movements in other forest areas of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar. In 1983, it inspired a similar Appiko movement in Karnataka.

The legacy of the Chipko movement is inspirational. It is an example of how not to let go and hold on. The brave villagers did not involve in just an occasional act. They stuck to their determination to save their environment. The continued aggression of the vested interests has been resolutely countered by a refusal to give up the struggle.

Most of us have an interest to involve in positive initiatives. However, many of us retreat from the cause that we are committed to. Among the various reasons for withdrawal, the prime one is that we are not dedicated to ‘hold on’ till the end. Being faithful to our pledge requires the conviction that the Chipko collective displayed.

Our world requires us to ‘hold on’ to the initiatives that we have identified as a worthy need. But the ‘need’ has to be transformed into an unyielding ‘want’. Such clear commitment will ensure that we do not give up. Legacy is created by the persons who stick to their vow as they know no other end than the one they want.

Everything has to be well in the end…
And if not, ‘hold on’… it is not the end!

~ Pravin Sabnis

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