The roots of India’s women-led environmental activism can be traced back as far as the Chipko MovementIn the 1970s. The significance of the ‘The Activation of Rural Women’ is crucial. Chipko Movement One of the first acts in environmental activism to voice concerns about the state’s indulgence in excessive capitalism was this.
It was started as a protest against deforestation of large areas of land that has led to disastrous floods and landslides. It has since become an example of grassroot environmentalalism. In recent years, prominent voices such as Medha Patkar and CK Janu, Mahasweta Deva, Arundhati Roy, and Mahasweta Devi have played a significant role in many ecofeminist movements across the country.
Ecofeminism is a link between the oppression and domination of women and the rampant exploitation and masculine attitudes that lead to the destruction of nature. Vandana Shiva, environmental activist and author, states that While patriarchy, gender subordination, and gender subordination are among the oldest forms of oppression, they have taken on more violent forms as a result of the project of development.
According to her, the feminine principle is PrakritiIt is a tool to combat the model of Western development, which she describes it as maldevelopment. Intersectional feminism in India has been made more inclusive by ecofeminist movements. A movement such as the Narmada Bachao AndolanAdivasi women are empowered by the example of Adivasi tribal women.
Literature and environment-centric storytelling
The rise of ecofeminist movements has been greatly influenced by environmental literature. Although environmental writing can come in many forms, those pieces of Indian literature that emphasize environmental concerns have had a lasting impact. Bibutibhushan and Amitav Bandhopadhyay were male writers in the past. They also criticised our corruption and exploitation.
Bandopadhyays Aranyak Or The Forest It shows the contradictions that urbanity can create against nature. Satyacharan is the protagonist of the novel. He struggles to let his urban lifestyle go and is then hypnotized in the jungle. AmitavGhosh, on the other hand, shows how human crimes against nature can lead to mass destruction. His books show how the colonial past and nature merge, while marginalised communities take center stage to tell their stories about their unique environments.
In The Hungry TidePiya is the entry to the Sundarbans. However, it is Fakir, Nirmals and their experiences that allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the corruption of nature as well as its immediate effects.
Though these authors among many others, and their works, place the intersection of the environment and people’s rights at their center, it is only when we look beyond the dominant canon of masculine literature that we discover the ecofeminist writings of female authors. They not only criticize the anti-environmental and capitalist practices of governments but also speak out for the underprivileged using a crucial gender lens.
Also, see: Hands-On: Climate Change Documentary by Five Women From Four Continents
Fiction and the environment: The importance ecofeminist stories
Kamala Markandaya’s first novel was published in 1954. Nectar in the SieveThe primitive bond between man and nature. The introduction technology and industry into rural life in the form of a tanninry causes the loss of pastoral, simple life. The symbol of patriarchy becomes the tannery that was built under the supervision of White men, and supported by the Zambidars. Industrialization is good for the town’s development, but it also makes it easier for peasant women who are forced to procreate because of unemployment.
Anita Desais 1978 Sahitya Academy AwardA winning novel Fire on the MountainThe physical and mental abuse of three women is connected to the oppression nature. This novel shows that men, as part of the bourgeois system, are agents for fear, hatred, and brutality. Nature, ecology, and women are interrelated with the non-human. The novel exposes the darker and more sinister sides of women and nature in the face of extreme exploitation.
A River SutraGita Mehta’s collection of six short stories was published in the year 2000. Narmada Bachao AndolanAt its peak. The natural border between north and south India, the Narmada river is an important site for biodiversity. It is also an important cultural site, in addition to its ecological, anthropological and agricultural significance.
The river’s dam construction will result in the loss of the cultural history of the indigenous people who lived there before. Mehta rejects patriarchal ideas of the river being weak and passive. She envisions Narmada’s feminine principles as a major source of life.
While Arundhati Roys 1997 novel The God of Small ThingsCritiques the irreparable damage caused by the misleadingly named Green RevolutionThe novel’s heart is the counter movement to Indira Gandhi’s proposal for development. The Green RevolutionAlthough it produced crops that were able to withstand famines, it also caused severe ecological damages. The brunt of this was experienced by the caste communities and women who were most oppressed.
Anuradha Rays is an example of more recent ecofeminist writings found in literature. An Atlas of Impossible Longing Usha K.RsMonkey ManThese include, to name just a few. They focus on women’s urbanization relationships. Women are offered equal opportunities in developed and developing cities. This is a reflection of globalization. These novels go deeper to uncover the urban landscape’s uncertainty. It becomes a place for creation and destruction, far from nature and culture. This is especially challenging for women.
Ecofeminist writings in post independence India link patriarchal violence inflicted on nature that began with the colonisers’ dream of Westernisation with the generational brutality faced by women of India. Ecofeminist discourses and literature do not address the urban caste or class privileged, but the individuals who are forced to the margins.
For Indian feminism to include intersectionality, ecofeminist writings are crucial. Fiction is often dismissed as being more valuable than indulgence. Fictional ecofeminist literature is often viewed as being of no more value than indulgence.
Mahasweta Devi said that it is a way to give. The voiceless have no voice.
Also read: Climate-Fiction: Stories to CreateOut of Catastrophe
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