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Nationwide Kalajatha for Peace, Unity and Sovereignty

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  • Shaji John K
    =========[SACW]========= Nationwide Kalajatha for Peace, Unity and Sovereignty (All India People s Science Network and Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti) Date: Thu, 10
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14, 2003
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      =========[SACW]=========

      Nationwide Kalajatha for Peace, Unity and Sovereignty
      (All India People's Science Network and Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti)

      Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2003

      Dear Friends,

      The All India People's Science Network and Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti
      (AIPSN/BGVS) is facilitating the Nationwide Kalajatha for Peace,
      Unity and Sovereignty from September 8 to October 2, 2003.

      The attached folder provides a background to this initiative. This
      is
      to invite you and your organisation to actively participate in this
      massive effort. About 60 jathas will travel through remote parts of
      about 26 states during this period. Most of the work will be done at
      the state level, and BGVS state units with AIPSN member
      organisations
      are facilitating the tasks at state levels.

      We await to hear from you and seek your solidarity and participation.

      In peace and with fraternal greetings,

      Vinod Raina
      Secretary, BGVS

      Gautam Ray
      Secretary, AIPSN

      KK Krishna Kumar
      Jatha Convenor

      o o o

      Nationwide Jathas for Peace, Unity and Sovereignty

      September 8 to October 2, 2003

      facilitated by

      All India People's Science Network and
      Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti

      YWA Hostel No.2, G-Block
      Saket, New Delhi 110017
      Email: bgvs@...
      Phones: 26569773/26569943


      From Darkness to Light - through Reason, Plurality and Togetherness

      If we look around today it is tempting to say that the forces of
      darkness are winning all over - in our villages, in our towns, in
      our
      country, across the globe. Iraq and Gujarat are but two examples of
      this apparent triumph of evil over good. There seem to be so many
      other such examples. While food piles up in our granaries, 24 crore
      people sleep hungry in our country every day. They eat poisonous
      berries to survive and we are told that the people of India do not
      know what to eat! There are twice as many in other parts of the
      world
      who face hunger every day. While the imperial powers led by the US
      wage war and threaten nations with impunity sovereign nations are
      bludgeoned into silence. While starvation and death stalks our
      villages, fellow human beings hate and kill each other in the name
      of
      religion and caste.

      While famine looms large over the poor nations of the world, just
      three people in this world have wealth that is more than the
      combined
      wealth of the 60 poorest countries in this world. This is evil
      accumulation by any standard or yardstick. The world's 225 richest
      people have a combined wealth of over $1 trillion, an amount equal
      to
      the annual income of the poorest 47% of the world's people or 2.5
      billion individuals. The market value of Bill Gates' Microsoft
      touched $507 billion, about Rs. 21,92,267 crore - a value that is
      much higher than India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about Rs.
      17,70,000 crores. The cost for providing Basic Health and Nutrition
      for every person in the world is estimated at $13 billion while the
      amount spent on Pet Foods in Europe and the USA is $17 billion. It
      is
      truly a strange world we live in!

      But darkness and evil are passing phases that this world of ours has
      seen so often in the past. Only to be banished by light and reason.
      While the US waged war on Iraq, millions marched on the streets of
      New York, Los Angles, Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona, Berlin,
      Calcutta and in so many other places - we witnessed the largest
      resurgence of protest against war and hatred ever in the history of
      humankind. While Gujarat burnt every person in India with a
      semblance
      of faith in humanity hung her or his head in shame. Many among them
      extended their arms to embrace the wailing victims in Gujarat. No,
      we
      are not alone. In fact they are alone - they who seek to divide, to
      spread hatred, to accumulate wealth so that others die. As Arundhati
      Roy said at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in 2003, "they be
      few and we be many".

      If it is so, if we the forces of light and reason, are so
      overwhelmingly larger in numbers, why do they succeed today in their
      evil designs? It is because they are one and we are still divided.
      Can we come together? Come together with all our differences, in
      fact
      make our differences our strength? The People Science Movement
      believes that we can. We can come together, with the common purpose
      of beating back the forces of darkness. Many amongst us will have
      thought of different paths to reach the same goal - let us come
      together while retaining our beliefs in these paths.

      It is to help this process of coming together that the Peoples
      Science Movement has conceived the nationwide Jatha on Peace, Unity,
      and Sovereignty. For us the Jatha is not a beginning, neither is it
      an end. The Jatha for us is a reassertion and public articulation of
      our beliefs that have been the driving force in all our activities.
      Our activities in literacy and education, in health, in promotion of
      science and self-reliant development, have all been premised in the
      belief in the three pillars of peace, unity and sovereignty.

      What do we mean by Peace? Not the peace of the graveyard. Not the
      peace that allows suffering to exist harmoniously with opulence. Not
      the peace that is enforced by tanks, and bombs and military might.
      For us peace means an environment where every culture, every
      language, every human expression has a place. Where these different
      strands, these beautiful melodies can all be heard clearly,
      completely. For us peace means an environment for fulfilling the
      potential of each human being.

      Who shall fight for this? Not those who benefit from conflict. But
      what about us? Can we fight for peace without unity? Can we unite
      for
      peace? The Peoples Science Movement thinks that we can, and we must.
      Because Unity is a natural state for human beings. Only those who
      are
      diseased do not seek human company, togetherness. No individual, or
      group has achieved greatness by working alone, in isolation. Unity
      for us does not mean discarding our beliefs, our ways of life, our
      cultures, our languages. Unity for us means recognition of all these
      differences in a pattern that knits together for the common progress
      of all humankind. A pattern with thousands of colours is immensely
      more beautiful than one which has just one.

      We do not wish to just come together, we wish to come together for
      the purpose of creating a new world. We do believe that Another
      World
      is Possible, and Necessary. The building of this world has to start,
      not tomorrow, but today, it has to start now. If we are to start
      translating this dream to a reality we also need to unleash the
      immense potential of every child, woman and man on this planet. What
      is preventing the harnessing of this potential? Is a child born in
      Kalahandi less talented than one born in Delhi? Is a woman born
      inferior to man? Does caste or religion have to decide what we
      become
      in life? Do governments of a few countries in North America and
      Europe have the right to decide about the fate of 6 billion people
      on
      this planet? The People Science Movement believes that human
      potential can be freed of its artificial fetters if decisions that
      affect our daily lives voice the concerns and the aspirations of
      every person in our midst - right uptil the most marginalised, the
      voiceless. This for us is Sovereignty. Sovereignty for us is the
      ability of nations to take decisions free of fear of retaliation
      from
      imperialism. But not just that. Sovereignty for us is also the
      ability of communities - no matter how small or how marginalised
      today -- to participate, to contribute and to mould decision-making
      processes. Sovereignty for us means that decision on apple prices in
      Himachal, or coconut prices in Kerala, or sugarcane prices in U.P.
      will not be taken in the WTO in Washington. Sovereignty for us means
      that decisions to privatise our public services - water, electricity
      - are not taken to satisfy George Bush or Tony Blair. Sovereignty
      also means that children do not have to read text books whose
      contents are decided upon by a few people sitting in Delhi, based on
      narrow sectarian considerations.

      These then are the three threads that are part of the Peace, Unity
      and Sovereignty Jatha. The Peoples Science Movement understands and
      realises that this Jatha is not an end in itself. But we believe it
      can be our way of saying that we have had enough of darkness, let
      the
      light shine now! We know that this Jatha, to fulfill even a fraction
      of its mandate, must reach out to a much larger number of people who
      are not part of the Peoples Science Movement. Because we believe
      that
      they are a part of the larger US, that today is fragmented but has
      the ability to really create Another World if it decides to come
      together. The PSM appeals to all those who believe in our concept of
      Peace, Unity and Sovereignty to join hands with this Jatha.

      Questioning as a way to seek Answers

      The Jatha will travel across all the states of the country between
      8th September and 2nd October spreading these messages, through the
      medium of plays, songs, exhibitions, films, books. There will thus
      be
      Jathas that would fan out in all the states in the country, and
      would
      finally culminate in three places: Wardha in Maharashtra, Champaran
      in Bihar, and Jallianwalan Bagh in Punjab. During the course of the
      Jatha we hope that we will raise many more questions that we can
      answer at this stage. Being part of the Science Movement we think
      that raising questions is the first step towards changing anything.

      What are the questions that the Jatha will raise? Many of these will
      evolve as we prepare for the Jatha, even as the Jatha progresses,
      because we do not think that we know all the questions that can be
      asked. But to help ourselves we shall prepare plays, booklets,
      songs,
      exhibitions, films that question the very basis of the world we live
      in today.

      We seek to question the rationale of disunity based on caste and
      creed when millions are homeless, hungry, denied health and
      education. We seek to question why girls will not be allowed to be
      born, not allowed to go to school, discriminated at the workplace
      and
      burnt for dowry. We seek to question the process by which priorities
      are decided. Priorities where we can think of sending a spacecraft
      to
      the moon but cannot provide water to our people. Priorities where
      Multinational companies are allowed to overwhelm us while our own
      companies close down. Where nuclear weapons are supposed to provide
      security while common people become more insecure.

      We seek to question many fundamentals. How do we define the Indian
      state today? Do we abandon the concept of the freedom movement,
      which
      saw India as a multicultural, multi-religious and multi linguistic
      state? Do we turn back to the concept of a state based on religion
      or
      race? Was Gandhi right, or were we wrong all along in thinking that
      Hitler was a monster. Does it matter who our ancestors were if the
      question today is how we survive tomorrow?

      We also need to find answers to what the real people in this country
      feel about globalisation. Is it an opportunity that we need to
      grasp,
      or imperialism by another name? There is not a single "global"
      organisation today that is not controlled by the United States and
      its allies or Multinational Corporations playing the role of
      "expert". The World Trade Organisation is meant to kill poor
      countries' manufacturing capacities and agricultural production for
      the improvement of its own populations' living. Is there opportunity
      for us under these circumstances? The WTO is not about free trade,
      but about free competition of labour. One of the main purposes of
      globalisation is to initiate a savage competition among workers -
      between workers in the US, in Mexico, in Thailand, in India, across
      the globe -- so that labour can be exploited to the maximum extent
      possible, no matter where it resides. The WTO also prevents
      competition from emerging industries in developing countries by
      stopping innovation, stopping science by clamping private property
      right on human intelligence. Alongside this, financial institutions
      like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are engaged
      in ensuring that global capital can flow freely across countries,
      undermining the financial security of sovereign nations. Does this
      not mean that globalisation has to be also fought through the unity
      of the working people across the globe? The PSM, hence, also sees
      the
      Jatha as a way to link up with the global movement against
      imperialist globalisation and with the World Social Forum, that is
      being organised in Mumbai in January 2004.

      These and many more are the questions that the Jatha seeks to pose,
      while attempting to provide some answers on these issues.

      Alternatives - Making Another World Possible

      The Jatha, while questioning all this will also present alternatives
      that the Peoples Science Movement has developed. Alternative
      strategies in education, health, rural industrialisation, village
      level planning, women's empowerment. We know many alternatives that
      are premised on the concept of Another World are being developed, in
      our country and elsewhere. Without only debating on whose
      alternative
      is "correct" let this also be an opportunity to debate all these
      alternatives. The Jatha will also bring to the people lessons from
      our history, which shows how unity is our heritage, not disunity. It
      will present the shared heritage of the people of India - cultural
      and technological.

      The PSM knows this is a massive task that we are undertaking. But we
      also know that people are on the move, they are not silent
      spectators. We seek support for our endeavour from all who want to
      ask questions and believe in Another World. We appeal for people to
      join this task, and dedicate this Jatha to the brave people of this
      country who are willing to stand up and fight against the forces of
      darkness.
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