Fewpal
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Read the given passage and answer the questions that follow the passage:

Chipko Movement The unusually heavy monsoon of 1970 precipitated the most devastating flood in living memory. In the Alaknanda valley, water inundated 100 square kilometres of land, washed away 6 metal bridges and 10 kilometres of motor roads, 24 buses and several other vehicles; 366 houses collapsed and 500 acres of standing paddy crops were destroyed. The loss of human and bovine life was considerable. …The 1970 floods mark a turning-point in the ecological history of the region. Villagers, who bore the brunt of the damage, were beginning to perceive the hitherto tenuous links between deforestation, landslides and floods. It was observed that some of the villages most affected by landslides lay directly below forests where felling operations had taken place…. …The villagers’ cause was taken up by the Dashauli Gram Swaraja Sangh (DGSS), a cooperative organisation based in Chamoli district. …Despite these early protests, the government went ahead with the yearly auction of forests in November. One of the plots scheduled to be assigned was the Reni forest…. …The contractors’ men who were travelling to Reni from Joshimath stopped the bus shortly before Reni. Skirting the village, they made for the forest. A small girl who spied the workers with their implements rushed to Gaura Devi, the head of the village Mahila Mandal (Women’s Club). Gaura Devi quickly mobilised the other housewives and went to the forest. Pleading with the labourers not to start felling operations, the women initially met with abuse and threats. When the women refused to budge, the men were eventually forced to retire.

(i)Is this social movement raising ‘old’ or ‘new ‘issues? Substantiate your answer with one reason. 

(ii)How was the economy of subsistence pitted against the economy of profit?

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  • (i) Chipko movement raises both old issues along lines of class-based inequality. The conflict placed the livelihood of villagers against government’s desire to generate revenues from selling timber. 
  • This also raises new issue of environmental destruction and the loss of ecological wealth.

(ii) When government forest contractors came to cut down the trees, villagers, including large number of women, stepped forward to hug the trees to prevent their being felled. At stake was the question of villagers’ subsistence. All of them relied on the forest to get firewood, fodder and other daily necessities. This conflict placed the livelihood needs of poor villagers against the government’s desire to generate revenues from selling timber. The economy of subsistence was pitted against the economy of profit.

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