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Tree-hugging: a proud tradition with roots in India

Chipko womenAnother fascinating post from Mike at Under the Banyan, this time from last year, but still relevant as ever.

The first recorded tree-huggers were villagers in Rajasthan, India who sacrificed themselves in 1730 to protect khejri trees […] that their community depended on.

The trees were materially important to the villagers in their dry desert landscape. They provided fodder for livestock and firewood for cooking. Their leaves and bark, flowers and sap were used in traditional medicines. The shade they created was a welcome haven for farmers who toiled in the blistering heat.

Maharaja Abhay Singh, the ruler of Jodhpur, had sent men to fell the trees but a brave woman called Amrita Devi offered to sacrifice her life if it would spare one tree. When the axe-men took her up on her offer and severed her head, her three daughters pleaded for the men to kill them too in place of the trees. They paid the same price.

Don’t miss the rest.

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