TerraGreen January-March 2007, pp. 48-50.
Women going to collect fodder, children playing on courtyards, and elderly males smoking hukkas – Jardhargaon village in District Tehri, Uttarakhand, appears to be an ordinary hill village, with people busy in the drudgery and happiness of daily life. But beneath the humdrum, a unique movement is simmering, bringing the village to the notice of outsiders – the Beej Bachao Andolan (Save the Seeds movement).
Beej Bachao Andolan is as much a philosophy as a movement. Raju Gusain profiles this unique movement that conserves seeds as well as local knowledge traditions. [download PDF]
Zee News, 30 December, 2006
Dehra Dun, Dec 30: Alarm bells have started ringing in the Garhwal himalayas of Uttaranchal amid reports that traditional crops are on the verge of extinction.
This has caused fresh concern among agronomists who are calling for preservation of traditional crops which were developed keeping in view prevalent environmental conditions in the region.
A new survey conducted by the state government has also confirmed that the area supporting a variety of traditional crops declined by a whopping 72-92 per cent during the past two decades. Traditional crops have mostly been replaced by high yielding cash crops like potato, soybean, mustard and amaranth.
They study was conducted in 150 villages of the Garhwal region that once boasted of locally grown pulses.
The study also indicated that the decline was a fallout of the on-going trend of vanishing traditional crops in India and the neighboring states like Nepal. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bhutan.
In the Himalayan Gazetteer of 1882, historians have listed 48 varieties of rice saying there are scores of others which cannot be described.
Today, only seven or eight of these varieties are cultivated with only ramjawan, thapachini, lalmati and rikhva in irrigated land and ghiyasu in rainfed areas, the survey said.
By Rajiv Rawat
Garhwal Post, 11 October 2006
DEHRADUN, 10 Oct: Right to information as a key route to empowering the people of India, was the hot topic of discussion on the eve of Loknayak J.P. Narayan’s birth anniversary this October 9 and 10th. Coming also a year after the original Right to Information Act (RTI) became law, local activists came together in two days of workshops to launch an Uttarakhand-based movement similar to those that have taken deep root in other parts of the country including Delhi and Rajasthan.
While the first day was hosted by the People’s Science Institute and brought social activists from around the state to Derhadun, the October 10th meeting was organized by the Beej Bachao Andolan as a cozy conclave with Magsaysay award winner Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey of the Rajasthan-based Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS). Both were on hand to work through some of the legal strategies available to citizens under the RTI Act. Continue reading
By Kanchi Kohli
The Hindu Friday, 14 July, 2006
For the past six years, it has been my wish to visit the place. But, each time I planned it, the trip had not worked out. Beej Bachao Andolan (Save the Seeds Movement) has been such an inspiration and this time I was determined to make it.
Beej Bachao Andolan (BBA) has its home in the beautiful Hemwalghati, in the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. Let me share with you why it continues to be a source of motivation for many of us. BBA is a small but strong-willed effort by small farmers to keep a range of traditional crops and seeds alive in their farms. As a city dweller I had been exposed to one or two varieties of Rajma beans in my growing years, BBA showed me over 200! As someone who had never heard of a crop like naurangi (a mix of nine coloured lentils), I got to eat it.
by Ruchika Negi
Women’s Features Service 6 November, 2005
“Jote Boye Jo Zameen
Beej Usi ke Rahe Adheen
Evam Mitti Paani Beej Aur Pedh
Band Karo Tum Unse Chhedh”
(He who tills and cultivates the land
The seeds belong to him alone
The earth, water, seeds and trees
Stop messing with these resources)
This slogan of the Beej Bachao Andolan (BBA; Save the Seeds Movement), which originated in the Henval valley of Tehri Garhwal, spread like fire among the farming communities of Uttarakhand in the late 1980s.
The early 1970s had seen prominent Sarvodaya thinkers and environmentalists – Sunder Lal Bahuguna, Pratap Shikhar, Dhum Singh Negi, Kunwar Prasoon and Vijay Jardhari, among others – start a movement against the ruthless felling of trees by timber merchants and contractors in the Henval valley. This movement – now known in history as the Chipko Movement – saw men, women and children uniting against these outside forces. It was in the spirit and momentum of Chipko that the BBA emerged.