The Skeptic’s Chipko

In a movement which gained its momentum in part because of the sheer potency of the word 'Chipko', who uttered it first and who first hugged a tree to save it have become matters of importance. There have been arguments, and some Chipko leaders have not been above posing with the trunk of trees for photographers.

Not everyone agrees that Bhatt was the first person to suggest the concept and use of the term 'Chipko'. Ghanashyam Raturi (Sailani), in a taped interview with Dehradun-based journalist Navin Nautiyal, claims that he was there first, in a song he says he wrote in December 1972 with the words "Chipko pedo pe jungalo bachounda" (Stick to the trees and save the forest). The song was later to become popular in the Tehri protests.

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Himal Southasian