Jan Satyagraha Samwad yatra is a nationwide yatra for one year through 24 states of India. We began from Kanykumari on 2nd of October and we will end in a city called Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh from were 100 000 people are going to walk to Delhi. These 100 000 people, who are coming from various part of India, will represent various marginalized communities of our country. Of course they are mainly Adivasis, Dalits, Nomads, Fisher folks, etc. After 65 years of freedom they are coming together to ask for a piece of land. They have waited long enough and they have elected different governments into power at different intervals. Dalit communities in India never received their share of land and respect for their life. Adivasis are driven out of their forest and livelihood basis in the name of mining industries and dams. Fisher folks have lost much of their livelihood resources because of various projects and Special Economic Zones in the coastal area. Promotion of tourism is another reason why they have lost control of their fishing rights. According to a published report, there are 11% who are nomads in India, even though many of them are denotified criminal tribes, they continue to be harassed and victimized. There are large numbers of agitation by the farming community across the country because their land and water resources are being taken for industries and infrastructural development. You are well aware that large number of farmers has committed suicide and large area of our land is under the control of armed groups.
We already covered 70000 km by road. In every state, the situation is similar. Marginalized people are getting more and more marginalized while powerful lobbies are grabbing resources for making profit. As we are people believing in Sarvodaya, we have no hate for those who have moved ahead though we have a problem with the methods some of them have used in their advancement. But we definitely have problem for those who are left far behind in this rush for development. Uncontrolled greed has undertaken all other values and it should be a serious concern for all of us.
As NRIs, I am sure you can play a very important role in changing India’s destiny. It’s a shame in the country of Mahaveer, Buddha, Vivekananda and Gandhi, 50% of our people are still in poverty. While the country is rich in terms of its natural resources and skills and capacities, our distribution of resources is poor. Any serious government, especially democratically elected, is supposed to distribute opportunities and resources to its people to fight poverty and discrimination. Instead what is happening in India is accumulation of resources and opportunities in some families and hands while others are left with nothing. This is a strong reason for you to intervene.
I am aware that so many of you are contributing in the development of India, some of you in the field of health and some other in the field of education. But in the recent past some of you are into investing into real estate, industry, mining, etc. Many of you are holding shares in projects and companies. I am also aware of the fact that many of you are participating in support to social work, human rights activities and social movements. It’s a mix basket and that is why it needs to be appreciated. But at this stage, we need your support in terms of building some pressure on the government of India to come out with a comprehensive land reform policy, and within that policy, provide homestead to millions of our people who don’t have a place to build their shelter and cultivable land to those who are totally dependent on land-based labour. Lot of our land in India is being misused or kept idle while millions have no place of their own. This is a minimum that they can expect from Indian democracy, and you have the power to make it happen. When 1 lakh people will walk from Gwalior to Delhi, please join us. Please write to the Prime Minister reminding him its commitment to 25 000 people when they came to Delhi in 2007. Remind the political parties that they have a moral responsibility towards the people who have voted them to power. Remind the Indian bureaucracy that they are being paid to serve the people and not to harass and exploit them. Support us in raising financial resources to feed the 1 lakh padayatris for 1-month.
I hope you will respond positively to this call. Please excuse me in case I am harsh in formulating the situation of India. My interest is not to make exaggerated statements but to solve the problems of marginalized communities of India so that all of us can be proud Indians.
President Ekta Parishad
1. A draft letter to the Prime Minister is available at https://js2012.wordpress.com/support-us-2/draft-letter-to-the-prime-minister/
2. To Volunteer during Jansatyagraha, fill out an application form at http://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/a31M6Knqyc
3. To contribute financially, visit https://js2012.wordpress.com/support-us-2/donate/