Gandhi and Ecological Marxists: A Study of Silent Valley Movement
By Sasikala A.S.
The environmental concern was minimal at the time of Gandhi, but his ideas on Village Swaraj, decentralization, Swadeshi, Sarvodya etc made him an advocate of environmentalism. He is often considered as a man with deep ecological view. The ideas of Gandhi have been widely used by different streams of environmental philosophy like green, deep ecology, etc and different environmental movements across the globe. An eminent environmental thinker Ramachandra Guha identified three distinct strands in Indian Environmentalism, the Crusading Gandhians, Appropriate Technologists and Ecological Marxists. He observed that, unlike the third one, the first two strands rely heavily on Gandhi. The purpose of this paper is to identify the Gandhian elements used by the Ecological Marxists in India. The Silent Valley Movement from Kerala is taken as a case study to analyze how ecological Marxists resort to Gandhian techniques to fight against environmental injustice. The role of Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP), a People’s Science Movement (PSM) from Kerala with a Marxist background is studied to understand different strategies they used in the movement. It is observed that the methodologies adopted throughout the movement are inspired by Gandhian methods as previously used by other environmental movements like Chipko. The paper concludes that, like the Crusading Gandhians and Alternate Technologists, the Ecological Marxists also adopted the Gandhian strategies to work for ecological stability.