On Gandhi Jayanti, know the importance of forest satyagraha

  • Forest satyagraha was a unique feature of the Gandhian movement in Chhattisgarh in 1930.
It is said that while implementing the forest law, the British captured most of the cattle of Tamora and the surrounding villages.(Wikipedia)
It is said that while implementing the forest law, the British captured most of the cattle of Tamora and the surrounding villages.(Wikipedia)
Published on Oct 02, 2021 06:20 AM IST
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Written by Susmita Pakrasi | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Forest satyagraha emerged as an important part of India's freedom struggle during 1930 when Mahatma Gandhi started the Civil Disobedience Movement. It was from Chhattisgarh's Tamora village that the tribals of that area followed Gandhi's path of non-violence through forest satyagraha against the British. The movement was led by Dayabati, a girl from the Tamora village.

History of forest satyagraha

Forest satyagraha was a unique feature of the Gandhian movement in Chhattisgarh in 1930. The forest law of British started in 1930, under which the entry of animals into the forest for fodder was banned and there was a compulsion to keep animals at home. It is said that while implementing the forest law, the British captured most of the cattle of Tamora and the surrounding villages. The cattle owners were also accused of breaking the forest law and the tribals were harassed in the name of the law.

In the forest satyagraha, the forest laws were disobeyed in several ways, such as by leaving the cattle for grazing in the prohibited forests, by collecting wood and leaves from these forests without obtaining permission from the forest authorities and by a social boycott of the forest and revenue departments employees of the British. The main theme was to cut grass and twigs from the forests so as to protest and disobey British laws. The peasants, villagers and tribal men and women played an active and important role in this movement.

The satyagrahis urged the British officers to release the animals and when they did not obey, the forest dwellers passed a resolution. The movement was started by Yeti Yatanlal and Shankar Ganoudwale, who were looking after the proceedings of India's freedom struggle for Chhattisgarh. On September 6, 1930, the last resolution to break the forest law was passed.

Forest rights

Chhattisgarh has emerged as a leading state in recognition of individual and community forest rights. More than 441,000 individuals and over 46,000 community forest rights have been distributed to the scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers. Under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, 1,158 hectares of forest land has been provided to various departments for conducting 2,309 projects regarding 13 purposes including roads and community centres, schools, dispensaries, Anganwadis and fair price shops, reports news agency PTI.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021