Archives of Contemporary India

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Chandi Prasad Bhatt Papers

Chandi Prasad Bhatt Papers
"On the points where the Ganga or its tributaries originate there are not only glaciers but also lakes of varying sizes, big and small, about which our knowledge is negligible. It needs to be augmented.
     We need to identify such lakes and glaciers, show them on our maps and keep a tab on them. An effective mechanism of sharing basic information on their vulnerability with the local administration and the local populace should also be developed."

Chandi Prasad Bhatt (born 1934) is one of India’s first modern environmentalist. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of peace and non-violence, Chandi Prasad averted deforestation in the Garhwal region by clinging (Chipko) to the trees to prevent them from being felled during the 1970’s.

He established the Dasholi Gram Swarajya Mandal (DGSM), a cooperative organization in 1964 at Gopeshwar in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand and dedicated himself through DGSM to improve the lives of villagers. He provided them employment near their homes in forest-based industries and fought against flawed policies through Gandhian non-violent satyagraha. To maintain the ecological balance of the forest, DGSM initiated a number of tree-plantation and protection programmes, especially involving women to re-vegetate the barren hillsides that surrounded them. He created a synthesis between practical field knowledge and the latest scientific innovations for the conservation of environment and ecology in the region.

Chandi Prasad Bhatt has been honoured with several awards including Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership (1982), Padma Shri (1986), Padma Bhushan (2005), Gandhi Peace Prize (2013), and Sri Sathya Sai Award (2016).

Chandi Prasad Bhatt has written several books on forest conservation and large dams: Pratikar Ke Ankur (Hindi), Adhure Gyan Aur Kalpanik Biswas Par Himalaya Se Cherkhani Ghatak (Hindi), Future of Large Projects in the Himalaya, Eco-system of Central Himalaya, Chipko Experience, and Parvat Parvat Basti Basti.

About the Collection: The papers of Chandi Prasad Bhatt are a mine of information for researchers interested in the study of various aspects of social ecology, the history of people's movement as well as issues relating to the preservation of the ecosystem of the Himalayas. The papers include correspondence, reports, articles, press clippings relating to the Chipko movement in Uttarakhand, activities of Dasholi Gram Swarajya Mandal, Lok Soochna and Sahayata Kendra, forest conservation movement, Uttarakhand Andolan, Birla Mandir controversy, and environmental impact of hydro-electric and big dam projects in Himalayan regions. (Catalogue available)

Donor: Chandi Prasad Bhatt
Acquisition: 2017 & 2018