Monday, April 27, 2015

Badanwal satyagraha

Badanawal Satyagraha and the National Convention for 

Sustainable Living
March -April 2015
Over the last year and a half, a Handloom Satyagraha has been underway in and around Karnataka, spearheaded by the All India Federation of Handloom Organizations. In December 2013, thousands of handloom weavers from across Karnataka marched several hundred kilometers in a campaign termed Banashankari Yatre to highlight their plight and demands. In January 2014, an indefinite fast was observed demanding the strict implementation of the Handloom Reservation Act. In December 2014, a protest against the manufacture of imitation handloom products through power looms culminated in a fast unto death campaign.
Subsequently, the scope of the Satyagraha expanded to include all organizations working towards sustainability, focusing on agriculture, environment, labor, gender, language, folklore, culture and education, along with Khadi and handlooms. Over months, it has taken the shape of a joint campaign of all consumers and producers of sustainable goods and services, from cities and villages across Karnataka. Over time, the Satyagraha came to be called the Badanawal Satyagraha – after a village that continues to provide a powerful symbolism of the possibilities of societal regeneration for people in these parts of the country.
Badanawal (Badanawaalu) is a small village situated south of Mysore, adjoining the Chamarajanagar district in Karnataka, a perpetually drought prone area. In 1925, a well-known Gandhian, Tagadur Ramachandra Rao, started a Khadi and Village Industries production centre here on a 7.5-acre campus. Subsequently, Gandhiji visited the centre a couple of times, stayed there and was pleasantly surprised by the success of the khadi centre. Four dalit women formed the initial staff of the Khadi and Gramodyoga Kendra at Badanawal and their number increased gradually as the centre introduced other trades. More than 300 women were working here during its heydays producing close to 50,000 lbs of handspun cotton yarn by 1938.
The current Badanawal Satyagraha was organized by the well-known theatre personality Prasanna, who with a group of volunteers, camped in the village, rebuilding the dilapidated sheds in the Khadi and Gramodyoga Kendra besides holding meetings, workshops, street performances, and visual art campaigns beginning March 21,2015.
Six padayatras began on April 12 from various parts of the State and culminated at Badanawal for the National Convention for Sustainable Living on April 19. Several hundred activists, practitioners and enthusiasts of sustainable living came here to articulate their thoughts, hear from others and express solidarity with the growing numbers of people concerned about the unsustainable path of development that India has taken. The gathering also included handloom weavers and their federations, craftspeople, farmers, farmers unions, activists working on biodiversity, climate and energy, food and health safety enthusiasts, dalits, artists, writers, students and others.
Several panchayats were held on different aspects of sustainability throughout the day at the convention alongside exhibitions, sales, demonstrations and prayer meetings. A common thread seen in the discussions was the serious nature of inequities created by development through harmful chemical agricultural practices, devastation of forests, water, the environment and livelihoods; through the elimination of biodiversity in crops, vegetation and fauna, the disenfranchisement of local knowledge, the breakdown of community and respect for anything local; and so on.
One of the panchayats was on the struggles of Artisan communities. Prasanna, in his keynote address, outlined the issues facing men, women and children of these communities. He stressed the fact that, left to themselves and without the negative impact of the capitalist market, these communities had the wherewithal to sustain a dignified life even today. He also emphasized the need to impart an education to children that augments the knowledge and skills they acquire in day-to-day work with their elders.
J.K. Suresh from LJA, Bengaluru, briefly spoke about developments that threaten the very existence of the Lokavidya Samaj - comprising farmers, artisans, dalits, tribals, small shopkeepers & businessmen etc - and whose knowledge, obtained from their families and communities, forms the basis of their occupational skills and work. And how, since India’s independence, the livelihoods of the people of this society have been destroyed systematically, forcing them to abandon the calling of their communities in search of better opportunities and means of life. This in turn has led to the widening of the influence and control of centralized capitalist production and the capitalist market in their lives, making the condition of a large number of people even worse. It is therefore imperative to assist the revival and relegitimisation of Lokavidya, so that the Samaj can find its moorings and chart a new role for itself to meet the challenges of a changing global reality.
M Mohan Rao, President of the Rashtriya Cheneta Samakhiya, Chirala, Andhra Pradesh and LJA, stressed the need for various sections of the village society to come together and prevent the destruction of livelihoods while enabling sustainable lifestyles for all. (B. Krishnarajulu from LJA, Hyderabad, translated the Telugu talk)
A final declaration adopted by the Satyagraha is as below:
  • Handloom is the fabric of the future
  • Traditional farming is the agriculture of the future
  • Mother tongue is the language of the future
  • Decentralization is the politics of the future
  • The Satyagraha calls for utilizing today’s resources for the industries and agriculture of tomorrow.
  • The Satyagraha calls for utilizing knowledge, science, education and political power towards building a sustainable life.
  • The Satyagraha calls for renouncing industrialization cleverly, carefully and judiciously, without hurting anyone.
The plan for the future is to expand the movement across the country by reimagining and reshaping Badanawal, without harming the original design of the existing structure, and making the village a place of pilgrimage for people who believe in sustainable living.
(In compiling this article, several sources have been consulted, links to which are as below:

  1. J K Suresh
    LJA Karnataka

Let No Acquisition be at the root of a New Politics

There has been firing on adivasi peasants assembled to peacefully protest on the morning of 14th April and then again on 18th April at a dam being constructed on the river Kanhar in the Duddhi taluka of Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh. The submergence is likely to cover dozens of villages in U.P., Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.  The dam site is some 180-200 kms south of Varanasi, about 60-70 kms east of Singrauli. 

What we are writing here is based on the reports of Roma Malik of All India Union of Forest Working People  (AIUFWP), Dilip Kumar 'dili' of Vidya Ashram Sarnath, Ritesh Vidyarthi of Bhagat Singh Chhatra Morcha Varanasi,  Ravi Shekhar and Ekta of Lokavidya Ashram Singrauli, Siddhant a journalist of Varanasi and a team from Chhattisgarh consisting of Sudha Bharadwaj and others, who all visited the site immediately after these incidents and also before them. Sandip Pandey, Medha Patkar with a team from Varanasi, and a team from Delhi consisting of Kavita Krishnan and others have visited the site meeting protesting peasants and the administration. The struggle is in need of  as much support as it can muster.

The entire area is in a state of terror maintained by the State of Uttar Pradesh by placing there many more police than the number of protesters. All roads have been blocked and an official campaign let loose against outsiders that is people like us. Women have been the main target, very heavily beaten up by police lathi-charge. There are people in jail and in hospitals. There are people who are missing. There are reports that many have been killed but without confirmation so far. One of their leaders Gambhira Prasad was forcibly lifted from right outside the house of the famous PUCL secretary and senior High Court lawyer Ravi Kiran Jain in Allahabad when he was there for consultations. And this by plain clothes men supposed to be police men from Sonbhadra. And under these conditions the administration is making promises to the villagers, nothing of course in writing, about remunerative package deals, which is so difficult to believe for anyone.

The project dates back to 1976 and has gone through all kinds of stages through promises, protests and repressions. The government says that the project is for irrigation purposes, which nobody believes. This for two reasons. One, the entire area of south Sonbhadra and Singrauli is full of upcoming industries, power and mineral projects and many others. They all need huge amounts of water, assured supply of which is possible only from reservoirs created by damming rivers. Two, the speed and urgency with which the work has started disregarding not only people's living conditions and needs but also requirements of environmental clearances and social impact assessment.
There have been two main institutions organizing the peasants there. One an NGO at Duddhi led by Maheshanand and the other AIUFWP led by Roma Malik.

In Varanasi an umbrella forum of social activists and organizations called Sajha Sanskriti Manch has started bringing together the various organizations and individuals interested in extending support to the struggling peasants and adivasis from the villages near the Kanhar dam.

Vidya Ashram suggests that all the practical steps of support and organization need a companion campaign and dialogue on a possible India in which there is no land acquisition. We shall discuss the ideas of swaraj, democracy, well-being, social equality, end of disparity, progress and everything which may help paint the picture of a world which is built without acquiring any land from adivasis and peasants, all transfers or exchanges being voluntary and in the public eye. Just as all politics today agrees on acquisition of land differing from one another only on which land, how, what compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement and many other issues, the new debate ought to have the base line of NO ACQUISITION and a constructive dialogue on the nature of possible buildable futures.  

Vidya Ashram

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

लोकविद्या जन आंदोलन का एक साल का कार्यक्रम

इस ब्लॉग पर कल प्रकाशित अंग्रेजी पोस्ट का यह हिंदी अनुवाद है।

लोकविद्या जन आंदोलन (लोजआ)
राष्ट्रीय कार्यालय , 10-100 न्यू गड्डीअन्नरम , हैदराबाद-500060 

2015 - 16 का कार्यक्रम 
लोकविद्या समाज में लोजआ का कार्य कई स्थानों पर चलेगा  तथा नीचे दिए बिन्दुओं पर केंद्रित होगा।
  •  लोकविद्या में समाज के विश्वास को मज़बूत करना और उसका ऐलान करना - "लोकविद्या काबिल है और कर के दिखाएगी !" यह ज्ञान आंदोलन का एक बहुत महत्वपूर्ण पहलू है। 
  •  लोकविद्या आधारित कार्यों के लिए बराबर के पारिश्रमिक की मांग उठाना और उसे फैलाना। 
  • स्थानीय बाजार मज़बूत करना। 
  1.  इन विचारों के प्रसार के लिए देश भर में कई स्थानों पर बस्तियों, गाँवों और स्थानीय बाज़ारों में बैठकें की जायेंगी। लोकविद्या साहित्य का वितरण और स्पष्ट वार्ताएं ही जरिया होंगे। 
  2. जिन राजनीतिक नेताओं ने पूंजीवादी बाजार के खिलाफ सार्वजनिक बयान दिए हैं , उनसे जब भी संभव हो बात की जाएगी और उन्हें लोकविद्या साहित्य भेजा जायेगा ।  जैसे बिहार के नितीश कुमार , पश्चिम बंगाल की ममता बनर्जी  और दिल्ली के केजरीवाल।  
  3. उपरोक्त विषयों पर सभी दलों के और गैरदलीय ऐसे नेताओं तथा सक्रिय कार्यकर्ताओं तक लोकविद्या साहित्य पहुँचाया जायेगा जो पूंजीवादी बाजार के खिलाफ हैं।  
  4. लोजआ का राष्ट्रीय समन्वय हैदराबाद से होगा।  हैदराबाद स्थित प्रमुख कार्यालय से यह काम किया जायेगा।  हैदराबाद तथा सारनाथ/वाराणसी के सदस्य विभिन्न स्थानों के कार्यों में सहयोग करेंगे और उनमें भाग लेंगे। 
  5. राष्ट्रीय कार्यालय की ज़रुरत के मुताबिक धन संग्रह किया जायेगा।  लोकविद्या प्रपंचम (लोजआ की  तेलुगु पत्रिका ) के बैंक खाते के मार्फ़त यह कार्य किया जायेगा।  हैदराबाद इकाई का एक सदस्य यह ज़िम्मेदारी निभाएगा। 

विद्या आश्रम 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lokavidya Jan Andolan Work Plan for the year

Lokavidya Jan Andolan
National Secretariat, 10-100 New Gaddiannaram, Hyderabad 500060

Programme for the year

1. LJA mobilisation within Lokavidya Samaj will continue at various places and will concentrate on
(i) reiterating and strengthening the belief of the Samaj in Lokavidya- The slogan “Lokavidya CAN & WILL deliver!” This is a very important aspect of the Gyan Andolan
  1. raising and spreading the demand for equal wage for Lokavidya based work
  2. strengthening of local market
2. Meetings to spread these ideas will be taken up at local market/shandies sites across the country in as many places as possible i.e we will organise and address such meetings wherever and whenever possible and Lokavidya literature will be distributed at these meetings.
3. Political leaders who have taken an anti-capitalist market position will be talked to as and when possible. e.g Nitish Kumar in Bihar, Mamata in Bengal, Kejriwal in Delhi etc and our literature will be sent to such political leaders/activists.
4. Our publications on these issues will be selectively distributed by post to politicians/activists who have openly taken an anti-capitalist-market stand irrespective of their party affiliations.

5. The LJA Secretariat will function from Hyderabad and coordinate the activities of various units across the country . Members at Hyderabad and Sarnath/Varanasi will asssist and participate, to the extent possible, in the programmes of the units

6. Funds will be mobilised to meet the requirements of the Secretariat. The Prapancham account will serve as the bank account for this purpose and accounts will be maintained by a member of the Hyderabad unit.