The Chipko movement of the 1970s draws inspiration from the struggle that had taken place in Rajasthan over 300 years ago. In 1730, Amrita Devi heard of the Maharaja of Marwar’s intentions to cut down a sacred grove of khejri trees to use for the construction of a new palace. She led the villagers of Khejarli in their refusal to grant access to the trees and continued to argue against the orders of the Maharaja.
Amrita and 363 Bishnois eventually lost their lives during the protest. However, shocked by the passive resistance of the Bishnois, the Maharaja recalled his men. He personally travelled to the village to apologise for the actions of his men. The Maharaj instructed that no more khejri trees be cut down for the construction of his new palace. While this story was not one that was burned into the popular national consciousness, it was one that the women of the burgeoning Chipko movement were well aware of.