Saturday, February 12, 2011

Women, Lokavidya and Displacement

Conference on Resisting Displacement

Varanasi, April 10, 2011

Farmers and artisans of Varanasi and nearby areas have planned a conference on Resisting Displacement in view of the all round displacement in both rural and urban areas. Vidya Ashram and some other organizations have joined the effort.

Some of us, women, met at Gandhian Institute of Studies, Varanasi, on 11 Feb. 2011 to deliberate on how a women’s perspective could be added to this conference. The first discussion was around the ideas given below.

Comments and views from all quarters are welcome.

Displacement and Women

· Displacement turns women into wage labourers

· Displacement creates situations of insecurity, indignity and all kinds of exploitation for women.

1. Types of displacement and the affected people

· Acquisition of agricultural land -Peasants

· Acquisition of forest land - Adivasis

· Disorganisation of artisanal industry - Artisans

· Pushing very small businesses out of the market -Retail shop keepers

· Colonisation in and around the city -urban slums and villages

All these affected people are those who depend on their own knowledge, lokavidya, for organization of their lives. Women are an integral part of these communities. The interests of these women are not different from the interests of these communities.

2. Results of displacement

Women of displaced communities have no option but to work on other’s premises as given below where they suffer from serious indignity and insecurity.

· Labour in small units of production.

· Labour in construction industry and brick kilns.

· Domestic labour.

3. Essence of the matter

The information age has accelerated the processes of capital accumulation. The types of displacement listed above are all consequences of such processes and are taking place under government policies and proactive administrative initiative. In agriculture and house-hold industry women’s work is based on their own knowledge, art and technical and management skills. Displacement robs them of their knowledge based productive and organizational activity. Thus if we see displacement primarily as taking away from the people their knowledge based activity, namely lokavidya based activity and in the process showering indignity on lokavidya , then may be a new content and direction is workable for women’s organization and struggle.

4. New way

Women should, therefore, see them as part of a movement where people assert themselves as beings whose knowledge cannot be alienated from them and put forth a claim that the resources at the disposal of humanity need to be equally available to all. Women can then also make a robust contribution to Lokavidya Jan Andolan.

Grant the right to livelihood based on one’s own knowledge and for this equal share in the natural and national resources.

Chitra Sahasrabudhey

Premlata Singh

No comments:

Post a Comment