The green politics or green movement or environmental movement can be defined as a social movement for the conservation of the environment or for the improvement of the state policy especially inclined towards the environment. In other words, it is the movement to protect the environment through changes in public policy. Here, we are giving a brief history of the Environmental Movements in India that will enhance the knowledge of the readers about how the mass movement can save the atrocities against the environment.
Bishnoi is a religious sect found in the Western Thar Desert and northern states of India. It was founded by Guru Maharaj Jambaji in 1485 AD in the Marwar (Jodhpur) desert region of western Rajasthan, India. It is non-violent community of nature worshippers. This movement was started by sage Sombaji around 1700 AD against deforestation. After that Amrita Devi forwarded the movement. The 363 people from the Bishnoi community were killed in the protest. When the king of this region came to know the protest and killing then he rushed to the village and apologized, and declared the region as protected area. It is noteworthy that this legislation is still exists today.
It was launched from Gopeshwar in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand in 1973.The movement was to prevent illegal cutting of trees in the Himalayan region (Uttarakhand). Sunderlal Bahuguna and Chandi Prasad Bhatt were the leaders of this movement. The most notable characteristics of this movement were the involvement of women.
In 1983, on the lines of Chipko Movement, Pandurang Hegde launched a movement which is come to known as Appiko Movement in Karnataka. Its main objectives were afforestation as well as development, conservation and proper utilization of forests in the best manner. The meaning of “appiko” is to express one's affection for a tree by embracing it.
It is an area of tropical evergreen forests in Kerala. It is very rich in biodiversity. The environmentalists and the local people strongly objected to the hydel power project being set up here in 1973. Under pressure, the government had to declare it the national reserve forests in 1985.
The tribal community of Singhbhum district of Jharkhand (Previously, it was a district of India during the British Raj, part of the Chota Nagpur Division of the Bengal Presidency) agitated against the forest policy of the Government in 1982. The Government wanted to replace the natural soil, forests with the high-priced teak. Many environmentalists refer to this movement as “Greed Game Political Populism”.
The environmentalists and the local people started protest against the building of Dams on the Narmada for the production of hydro-electricity since 1985 which was popularly known as Narmada Bachao Aandolan. Medha Patkar has been the leader of this aandolan who got support from the Arundhati Roy, Baba Amte and Aamir Khan.
This movement was started by the local people around 1980s and 1990s because the dam project would constructed in the seismic sensitive region and people think that it causes submergence of forest areas along with Tehri town. Despite of protest, the construction of the dam is being carried out with police protection as Sunderlal Bahuguna is sitting on fast unto death. After assurance from the government to review the project, Bahuguna ended his fast but construction goes on, though at a slower pace.
Hence, we can say, numerous grass root environmental movements were started against the developmental activities that have endangered the ecological balance that changes the public policy more inclined towards the environment.