Google doodle honours the Chipko movement

Google doodle seems to have become some sort of unofficial award ceremony, handing out recognition to culturally significant moments and icons that the world ought not to skip over in their day-to-day life. Today’s doodle marks the 45th anniversary of the Chipko movement in modern India. Something everyone would have missed without a care if it were not for the colourful illustration of rural women standing around a tree at night.

The animation could easily be mistaken for a Wiccan ritual if not for the clothes the clothes the women are wearing. The modern Chipko movement began in 1973 when villagers beating drums and shouting slogans confronted lumbermen in Uttarakhand. While the movement did have many male leaders, it was the women who were primarily affected by the government’s rampant deforestation. So, they began to organize themselves standing up against commercial logging operations that threatened their livelihoods. The movement earned the name Chipko because protestors would stick to the trees or ‘chipko’ to them. 

The original tree-hugging movement spread from Uttarakhand to other parts of what was then a unified Uttar Pradesh and gradually gained popularity around the world. The Chipko movement is increasingly being seen as an ecofeminism movement, as it was a woman who helped drive the movement forward. Google’s latest doodle is a way of spreading awareness of this age-old rebellion, and helping people — especially women — remember that they can stand up to systems that don’t work in their best interests.

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