Following the Chipko movement led by women of Uttaranchal in the 1970s to save trees, modern day women of Bihar’s Madhubani district are using their signature art to save the green cover.
These women are using their creativity and tradition to prevent deforestation in the area by making beautiful paintings on trees!
The lush green region of northern Bihar is famous for its traditional Madhubani paintings. Over the past few years, the forest cover in the region started thinning due to deforestation. Shashthi Nath Jha, secretary of a self-help group called Gram Vikas Parishad started this movement to tackle the problem. In 2013, she started spreading awareness about environment conservation and urged women and girls to join the movement. Today, a five-kilometre stretch of the forest between Rampatti and Rajnagar localities is not only saved from the axe, but is also a testimony to the women’s artistic expression. The experiment has also caused the region to become an attraction among tourists!
According to a report in Dainik Bhaskar, Madhubani paintings made by these women often carry religious themes. Thus, in the eyes of local people, the trees become auspicious and are saved from being felled.
The tree trunks are first painted with lime, which apart from offering a nice white background also protects the trees from insects. They are then painted with images of Rama, Sita, Krishna, Buddha, and Mahavira, among other gods and goddesses. That way, every tree becomes breathing temple!