March for Justice – 2012

A member of Action Village India recently sent news that 100,000 people, who have been displaced from the land they had been living and working on for generations, as corporations and industry move in, will walk for a month in autumn 2012, living and sleeping at the side of the road, before arriving in Delhi to lobby the government. 

PV Rajagopal, is an Indian activist with a charity Ekta Parishad, a people-based organization dedicated to Gandhian non-violent action to assist people to gain control over livelihood resources such as land, water, and forest.  He explains: “80% of displaced people are without any rehabilitation support, because usually they have no titles for their land. The indigenous people never thought that it was necessary to have a bit of paper – the land was farmed by their fathers and grandfathers before them.” 

Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License – photo by Yann 

The takeover of every part of our life by multinationals is something we should resist 

He cited Gandhi’s teaching that you should co-operate wherever you can co-operate, but resist where you need to resist – adding that “the takeover of every part of our life by multinationals is something we should resist. Today, it is all industry, industry, industry. People who work on the land do not own the land. We need the government to return to the agenda of 1947, and the phrase ‘land to the tiller’. The only way is to put pressure on the government.” 

In 2007, 25,000 people marched, with 30 districts holding protests in support and the government of India announced that it would establish a National Land Reforms Committee – but progress has been slow.

Another colleague from Village India Aid met Rajagopal in Delhi in 2008. He wrote: “It was clear from the early exchanges in our conversation that we were on the same wave length. VIA had already sent support for two of the walkers on the epic long March by 25,000 people from Gwalior to Delhi, taking two weeks in October 2007. The participants included many Dalits who have been driven off the land they had tilled for generations. This March was an impressive feat of organization and drew a positive response from the Government, through the Rural Affairs Minister, when they presented their programme of required legislation.”

 

Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License – photo by Yann 

“Why do we allow so many people to be deprived, and so few people to own so much? 

This time the organisers hope for 100,000 marchers and are inviting 300 districts to hold protests. “The march is for economic and for social justice,” says Rajagopal. “Land gives you dignity. Land gives you some security; you have an address. We are arguing that every family should get two and half acres of land: enough to cultivate food and to pay to send their children to school.” 

 “Why do we allow so many people to be marginalised and poor and deprived, and so few people to own so much? They say the wealth will trickle down, but nothing ever does trickle down. I think, still, there is a chance for change – and we need to prove it through non-violent action.”

Read more on the March for Justice website.

FURTHER INPUT

Hans-Jurg forwarded this link to Jaheda Begum of AVI – see the new March for Justice video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phehspBtQSQ and his website www.walkforjustice-film.com.

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