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Day 22 – Q 2.Give a brief description of the way in which environmental movements took shape in post independence India? What are the major achievements of these movements? Examine.

2. Give a brief description of the way in which environmental movements took shape in post independence India? What are the major achievements of these movements? Examine. 

आजादी के बाद के भारत में किस तरह से पर्यावरणीय आंदोलन हुए? इसका संक्षिप्त विवरण दें। इन आंदोलनों की प्रमुख उपलब्धियां क्या हैं? जांच करें।


The environmental movements in India were of special significance in the history of new social movements in India. The post-independence era has witnessed environmental degradation on an unprecedented scale. Soil erosion, air and water pollution, rapid depletion or forest cover and wild life are just some of the effects of environment degradation. These problems led to emergence of environmental movements.


The way in which environmental movements took Shape in post-independence India

The major environmental movements in post independent India were chipko movement, Save Silent valley movement, Jungle Bachao Andolan, narmada bachao andolan etc. 

  • The movements were addressed novel issues like environmental degradation
  • The movements were massive with the active participation of marginalized groups
  • The demands of the new movements were novel in the sense that it demanded right to      livelihood and rights of displaced
  • The environmental movements adapted non-violent Strategy
  • The movements incorporated hitherto unrepresented sectors of society including Adivasi’s, women and the marginalized.
  • Many of the new environmental movements forced the governments to take affirmative policies in the form of new laws and provisions. 

The achievements of these movements

  1. Chipko movement: This renowned movement began in 1971 in the hills of Uttrakhand. Chipko Movement means hug-the-tree movement. The Chipko Movement’s first action started in March 1974 in Reni village in the Garhwal Himalayas, when a group of village of women led by Gauri Devi hugged the trees and prevented the hired sawyers to cut them down for a sports goods company. Women, being most affected by the hardship of both the ongoing degradation to their environment and the privatization of basic resources, played a prominent and decisive role. 
  2. Save Silent valley movement: Another significant anti-dam movement is against the Kerala Government’s proposal to construct a dam across the river Kunthi in the Silent Valley. The government has argued that it is a viable alternative to the more expensive and polluting sources of thermal power. However, environmental and citizen groups oppose it due to a threat that it may upset the delicate ecological balance of the bio-diversity reserve inhabited by some rare species in the Silent Valley. International organization such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and International Union for the conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) mounted pressure on the government, leading to the shelving of the project in 1983 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. This movement met with success fairly early and is one of the very rare instances where the State yielded to pressure and retracted.
  3. The Jungle Bachao Andolan: it began in Bihar and later spread to states like Jharkhand and Orissa. The tribals of Singhbhum district of Bihar bubbled up a protest when the government decided to replace the natural Sal forests with highly-priced teak, a move that was termed “a greed game, political populism”.


These environmental movements are an expression of the socio-ecological effects of narrowly conceived development based on short-term criteria of exploitation. The movements reveal how the resource-intensive demands of development have built-in ecological destruction and economic deprivation.

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