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Bali Devi’s address to Global Women’s Assembly on Environment

Nairobi, Kenya, October 11, 2004
Translated by Biju Negi

Listen to the Real Audio of Speech

Sisters and Friends,
Semanya (Greetings)

I am Bali Devi from Reni, a distant village in Chamoli Garhwal, India. You may have heard of Himalaya. My village is in Himalaya. Nanda Devi is our patron deity and our highest peak bears the same name. For us, mountains too are gods.

I am Head of the Women Welfare Group in our village. Our hill women have always played a prominent role in social and environmental conservation. Let me tell you of one such example from our village.

It is an old story from about 30-32 years ago. I myself was just 22-23 then. At the time, in our Uttarakhand there was a movement going on to save the forests. It was known as the Chipko Movement. During those days we used to sing this song:

Come sisters, come brothers, we’ll save the forest
Our forests we will protect, we will drive the contractor far away!