And today, after 20 years of this movement there are over 6,000 villages in 18 states of India including Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, and Kerala. This movement has received international recognition from former Foreign Minister of Canada, Flora Donald also and introduced in countries like US, UK, Canada, Nepal, Indonesia and Thailand. “In hilly areas, women are forced to walk miles in search of grass, wood and drinking water. The destruction of forests could not be prevented in hills without active participation of women.”
Over the years, more than 500,000 plants have been sowed under the initiative and each one has been raised with love and care because of the emotional connect. This has improved water and fodder availaibility in the region.
Nanda Maiti Van, a forest patch at Nanda Sain in Chamoli is, for instance, ‘the biggest forest’ developed by the people since the green movement has started. Spread over about a sprawling five-acre area this green patch of forest is on the Nanda Devi Rajjath pilgrimage route.
Shaurya (bravery) Van, a forest at Badhangarhi in Gwaldam is also a gift of the Maiti movement. This forest is dedicated to the memory of the martyrs of the Kargil war, and is spread over about a three-hectare hilly area.
The idea is adopted by social activists like Keshav Panday, Pt Madan Mohan Malviya’s granddaughter Asha Seth, and Hamida Begum who later started the movement in Kerala, Mumbai and Delhi, respectively.
A movement which started as eco-women centric in a small village is spreading its wing across not only in India but all over the world. The message of this movement is very simple: ‘For every happy occasion, plant a tree for a beautiful memory’.