Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rights of the Mother Earth

[ There was a conference held in US on 11th October called Dialogue on the Rights of the Mother Earth. We had circulated the proposal to the Vidya Ashram group requesting online participation by those who could do it.  Amit Basole from LJA participated online in it. Lalit Kaul wrote the following on that list.  We are posting it on this blog. Also requesting Amit to write on this blog about his participation.     - Editor ]

Rights of the Mother Earth
 I am not sure who can define ‘rights’ of a mother.  I have held this opinion that parents are not the property of their children, but on the other hand the parents may claim the children to be their property for very simple and direct reasons. Who can define Creator’s rights!
I am not sure how much of this ‘emphasis on ‘rights’’ is an embedded part of the native’s traditional way of life; traditionally what governed the dynamics of Lokavidhyadhar Samaj?  What was the guiding principle for them: the concept of ‘right’ over the Samaj or ‘duty’ towards it?
I think the term ‘Dharm’ - as being different from generally understood meaning of religion- as used traditionally for one’s endeavours in the material world lays emphasis only on one’s duties and not rights. The unprecedented deprivation on all fronts as experienced by Lokavidhyadhar Samaj has necessitated usage of the vocabulary ‘rights’ by them, because modern world understands only ‘rights’ not ‘duties’.
Therefore, in my opinion, all those associated with LJA must articulate their thoughts on ‘Duties towards Mother Earth’ even while participating in activities that propound ‘rights’ of mother Earth.
If, for the ecological imbalance and the consequent impending (!) disaster all around the globe, modern technologies, explorative ways of modern science and exploitative ways of modern state are to be blamed then LJA need to articulate how and what kind of alternative (post modern) science and technologies, and state have the potential to not only alleviate the extant imbalances in the Nature, but also deter deprivation/ dispossession of the people across the globe.
Machine over Man OR Man over Machine OR a neat reconciliation of the two to eliminate denial of livelihood to people across the globe! It is the third option that need be synthesized, may be; that may entail totally new definition 1) of ‘science’ that may have to be essentially heterogeneous in character, 2) of the state insofar as organization of societies is concerned, and 3) of wealth.
We have ‘Ministry for Environment’ and ‘Ministry for Infrastructure Development’; the activities of the latter more often than not cause grievous injuries to environment. For public consumption, Ministry for environment raises objections for the projects proposals and stalls their progress for sometime only to be cleared eventually. All things being equal, we know that ultimately who is earning how much wealth decides the fate of the project.

Therefore, defining ‘rights of’ or ‘duty towards’ mother Earth cannot be disjoint with definition of wealth. In a society what parameters shall define their wealthiest person is very important to the very survival of the mother Earth.

Lalit Kaul

1 comment:

  1. I heard the talk by Luis Macas at this conference and posted the following comment on the discussion board. This comment was read out during the discussion session: We at Vidya Ashram (www.vidyaashram.org), a organization of peasants and artisans from India, have been very excited by the developments in Ecuador and Bolivia. We have been trying to build a politics on the basis of lokavidya or people's knowledge. The idea is that there is a vast store of knowledge outside the universities and the "educated people," that can help build a just society. No one should be seen as "ignorant." We see the Rights of Mother Earth and other indigenous peoples' struggles as fraternal to a people's knowledge movement which we are trying to build in India (http://lokavidyajanandolan.blogspot.com/). We are also proposing a Knowledge Conference as part of the upcoming South Asia Social Forum in February.