Here is a story set in the hills that shows what bravery and grit can accomplish. Dichi, a brave Bhotiya girl takes part in the Chipko movement to save her beloved trees. Everybody in her village knows that trees give them all the important things in their life. Rapid deforestation in the Himalayan region of Alaknanda river caused floods in the 1970s and gave birth to a movement to save trees by hugging them – Chipko. Read this heartwarming tale to learn the power of collective action as seen through the eyes of young Dichi, a girl crippled by a flash flood caused by deforestation.
By: Jeyanthi Manokaran
Sample Text from Chipko Takes Root – A story about saving trees
Dhoom Dadaka! Dhoom!
High up in the branches of her tree, Dichi plays on her dholak. Her three brothers clamber up the same sturdy tree while their sheep jostle and bleat on the meadow below.
“Dichi!” echoes Dada’s voice through the chir, pine, deodar and ash trees.
“Come. We must visit your grandmother across the river. Boys, bring the sheep home safely.”
“Can’t we come too?” begs Shyam.
“Next time,” says Dada firmly. “Dichi will stay on there to nurse Grandma. She is very sick now.”
Dada guides their mule through knee-deep river water. Nimble as a mountain goat, Dichi tucks her skirt to skip on the rocks. Her toes tingle in the chill waters, until she slips and tumbles in with a splash.
“Careful!” warns Chacha, who is fishing nearby.
In a surge, the river swells and roars about them in a furious flash flood. Chacha rushes over to grab Dichi by the arms.
Her left leg is caught beneath a rolling boulder. Dada’s figure is a blur – his voice muffled by the raging waters. Caught in the current, the mule swims and staggers to the other side, its burden toppled and swept away.
Chacha can barely keep his balance in the deluge, as he tries to extricate Dichi’s leg from below the obstinate rock. Drenched in muddy water, he musters all his strength to yank Dichi out. His powerful shoulders carry her back to Ma who crouches, sobbing over her bedraggled daughter. Sharp needles of pain shoot up Dichi’s left leg. Enveloped by a fit of trembling, she faints.
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