Book on Chipko Movement Wins Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Prize 2022

Book on Chipko Movement bags Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Prize

On 1st December 2022 the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2022 was awarded to ‘The Chipko Movement: A People’s Movement’(Published by Permanent Black), a book on the popular forest conservation campaign Chipko Movement written by a historian and an activist Shekhar Pathak.

  • The book, ‘The Chipko Movement: A People’s Movement’, has been translated from Hindi by Manisha Chaudhry.
  • The 2022 was the 5th edition of the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize.
  • The New India Foundation has been awarding the annual Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize.

i.The other 4 shortlisted books include,

  • Accidental Feminism: Gender Parity and Selective Mobility Among India’s Professional Elite by Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen
  • Whole Numbers and Half TruthsL What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Mordern India by Rukmini S.
  • Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India by Suchitra Vijayan
  • Born a Muslim: Some Truths about Islam in India by Ghazala Wahab.

ii.Jury – The winner was selected by a six-member jury panel chaired by political scientist Niraja Gopal Jayal and other members include entrepreneur Manish Sabharwal; historians Srinath Raghavan and Nayanjot Lahiri; former diplomat Navtej Sarna; and attorney Rahul Matthan.
About the award:
i.The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize was established in 2018 and is given for non-fiction on contemporary India by writers of any nationality, carrying a cash award of 15 lakhs, a trophy and a citation.

ii.This prize has been named after Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, the institution-builder who had contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, women’s movement, refugee rehabilitation and renewal of handicrafts..
iii.Previous winners of the prize are

  • Milan Vaishnav, When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (Yale University Press)(2018)
  • Ornit Shani, How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal Franchise (Penguin Random House India) (2019)
  • Jointly awarded in 2020:
    Amit Ahuja, Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements (Oxford University Press) Jairam Ramesh, A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of VK Krishna Menon (Penguin Random House).
  • Dinyar Patel, Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism (Harvard University Press (2021).

About Shekhar Pathak
i.Shekhar Pathak is a historian and a Padma Shri-awardee who had lived in the Himalayan region for years and conducted extensive research into the Chipko Movement, engaging with local communities and leaders.
ii.He established the People’s Association for Himalaya Area Research (PAHAR) in 1983 and also wrote Asia ki Peeth Per (On Asia’s Back), a biography of the Himalayan explorer Pandit Nain Singh Rawat, along with Uma Bhatt.

About Chipko Movement:
i.The Chipko movement (or Chipko Andolan) was a non-violent, social and ecological movement by rural villagers, particularly women that took place in 1973 in India.
ii.The protest aimed at curbing the felling of trees and it also led to a major debate about Indian forest policy, sustainable development, and the need for ecological balance between forests and local communities.

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