Friday 15 November 2013

Jan Satyagraha, 2012

Five years after Janadesh –their first 350-km-foot march involving 25,000 people who demanded rights on their lands, once more, the landless peasants of the Ekta Parishad Union met in Gwalior, India, to march to Delhi.  The march started on October 2, 2012, and arrived in Delhi on October 29, 2012. They needed 70,000 participants to demand new rights over land, water and natural resources. But, millions in Indian villages would hear the message. There were also many support activities in Europe and the rest of the world with local marches, meals, conferences and meetings.

We have often heard the cry we learned from Gandhi: JAI JAGAT! Victory for the world! But what is this victory? The agreement reached in Agra? The million land titles given to Adivasis (tribal people) since 2008? Or standing, walking, and facing the holders of power, without hatred or contempt but with determination?

These landless' peasants of Ekta Parishad with their leader Rajagopal on one side and on other, the Indian state and its government, all contributed to this victory, without violence and with respect.

It was hard for everyone; this victory could not be taken for granted. Victory against fear, indifference, poverty, and the inevitable fatigue is a daily task.

Janadesh March, Jan Satyagraha March and the twenty years of Ekta Parishad’s nonviolent struggle do not only mean the million property titles distributed to Adivasis since 2008 but much more than that, the transformation of Adivasis’ lives, opening doors to a dignified life, joyous awakening and the return of their confidence.

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