The Chipko Movement: A People’s History (Permanent Black & Ashoka University) by Shekhar Pathak (translated from Hindi by Manisha Chaudhry) has won the Rs 15 lakh Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2022. Announced December 1, the award, in its fifth edition, was instituted by the New India Foundation in 2018 to recognise powerful works of non-fiction about contemporary India.
The shortlist included Accidental Feminism: Gender Parity and Selective Mobility Among India’s Professional Elite by Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen; Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Modern India by Rukmini S; Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India by Suchitra Vijayan; and Born a Muslim: Some Truths about Islam in India by Ghazala Wahab.
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Speaking on The Chipko Movement, the jury said: “This is the definitive history of the Chipko movement by a scholar who has practically lived it. It is fitting that a book that tells the story of a movement through the eyes of the local communities, especially women, should be as readable as this one is. Translated from the Hindi by Manisha Chaudhry, Shekhar Pathak’s book is a salutary reminder of the transformative power of collective action, and not just an important work of history but one that speaks to the contemporary moment and its twin crises of ecology and democracy.”
Former recipients of the award include Dinyar Patel in 2021 for Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism, and Amit Ahuja in 2020 for Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements, along with former Union minister Jairam Ramesh for his A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of VK Krishna Menon.