Tuesday, March 13, 2007

An Invitation to Swim Against the Tide Together

We could give you lifetimes of empty:

The unmarked graves

The lost languages

The uprooted trees and histories

The dead stares on the faces of nameless children

Before I start this poem we could be silent forever

On just long enough to hunger,

For the dust to bury us

And you would still ask us

For more of our silence.

--Emmanuel Ortiz

This letter reaches you amidst tall claims… about a strong and secure India riding the high tide of prosperity in South Asia in the 21st century. Growth, Security and Development are the buzzwords on the lips of anyone and everyone who matters in the sub-continent. A kaleidoscope of the emerging big picture—surfeit of images of super highways, malls, flyovers, golf courses, tourist resorts, mega-dams as hydel power projects, corporate farming, Special Economic Zones, urban beautification and finally a boomimg sensex—in the sub-continent as signs of growth, security and development is also being flaunted in the sensation driven media.

The vast sections of the people have been subjected to the worst kind of socio-economic crisis in the name of development. Today more and more tribals, dalits, minorities and the poorest of the poor are most cruelly removed from their forests, fields, lands, homes and cultures. They are being evicted from their lives and livelihoods.

When this letter reaches you probably many more farmers might have committed suicide. In the rich belts of the so-called ‘green revolution’ in Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh… .The granaries of India have become the graveyards for the farmers. More than a lakh farmers have so far committed suicide. Due to debt peonage. For the farmers agriculture is no more a viable economic enterprise. There is no economic incentive for the farmer to continue with the same agricultural produce. There is no way the landless agricultural labourer can work in the fields as the wages have gone down.

Peasants as a community also has become economically unviable for the state. As per experts (the bane of our times) the purchasing power of an IT professional is considered equivalent to 100 peasants put together.
In the name of development the best of arable lands in Haryana, Punjab, West Bengal, the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra is being sold for a pittance to the MNCs for setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The violence of an uncertain future have abounded the lives of vast sections of the masses who stand displaced in every possible way in this ‘model of development’. Displaced from their farmland, forest land, slums, small scale industries, villages, national territories. Displaced from their productive living. It is not to say that their lives till now have been devoid of any uncertainties, any form of exploitation or oppression.

The people of South Asia are subjected to most violent accumulation of capital. The position of the vast sections of the masses should not be confused with the dreams that are being peddled by the money merchants who want to sell the land, its resources, its peoples and their memories and dreams for a pittance.

The need of the hour is to come together, join hands and raise the voice of our conviction to redefine the world. For it is only through struggle that we can stop these designs: Of not only to exploit us economically, but also to reshape our reality so that we become willing slaves and willing servants. And it is only through uncompromising struggles that we redefine our world, where the people and only the people are the masters of their destiny. It is only possible through a united struggle of all fighting people and their organisations.

We invite you to be part of this anti-imperialist resistance, a platform against all forms of displacement to stop forever all displacement in the name of ‘development’. A note in this regard is enclosed. Let us discuss and initiate a peoples’ front against all kinds of displacement. We look forward to your participation in a meeting of people’s organisations and individuals in Ranchi on 20th and 21st January, 2007. The meeting begins at 11 A.M. The venue is Patel Bhawan, Lalpur Chowk, Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Endorsed by:
1. Dr. B. D. Sharma, Bharat Jan Andolan;
2. Gursharan Singh, Eminent People’s Artist, Punjab
3. Mahasweta Devi, Writer
4. Surendra Mohan, Socialist Front
5. K G Kannabiran, Eminent Human Rights Advcocate
6. Shyam Gaekwad, Labour Front, Maharashtra
7. Arundhati Roy, Writer
8. GN Saibaba, Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)
9. Shamsher Singh Bisht, Loksangarsh Vahini, Uttarakhand
10. A.K. Roy, Marxist Co-ordination Committee, Jharkhand
11. Debranjan & Bhagwan Majhi, PSSP, Orissa
12. Bojja Tarakam, Eminent Human Rights Advcocate and Convenor, PDFI, Andhra Pradesh Committee
13. Anand Teltumbde, Writer, Human Rights Activist, Maharashtra
14. M T Khan, Prominent Civil Rights Activist
15. Vittal Raj, All India Federation of Trade Unions (AIFTU)
16. Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha
17. Professor Keshav Rao Jadav, Eminent Socialist leader and Prominent Civil Rights Activist
18. Prof. KR Chowdry, Andhra Pradesh
19. Suguna Rao, Telengana Aikya Vedika
20. BP Kesari, Jharkhand
21. Shashibhushan Pathak, PUCL, Jharkhand
22. Thomas Mathew, Samajik Nyaya Morcha, Delhi
23. Harish Chandola, Senior Journalist, Uttarakhand
24. Rakesh Rafiq, Yuva Bharat
25. Tridib Ghosh, PDFI
26. PC Tiwari, Jan Adhikar Manch, Uttarakhand
27. Madhuri, Jagruti Adivasi Dalit Sanghatan, Bardwani, Madhya Pradesh
28. Gopal Naidu, Vidrohi Sanskritik Chalwal, Maharashtra
29. Revolutionary People’s Front, Kerala
30. Sini Soy, Kaling Nagar Bisthapan Birodhi Activist, Orissa
31. Amin Mharana, Jan Jamin Jungle Khani Surakhya Samiti, Sukinda Orissa
32. Partap Chinara, Chasi Mulia Dalit Sangha, Puri, Orissa
33. DR. Bisvajit Roy, Rastriya Yuva Sangathan, Orissa
34. Nav Nirman Samiti, Orissa
35. Bhakta Batshal Mohanty, Kendujhar Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch, Orissa
36. Suraj Tekam, Vananchal Kamgar Sarvangin Vikas Samiti, Chattishgarh
37. Judge Tirki. Jal Jangal Jamin Surakhsa Parishad, Orissa
38. Ram Chandra Sahoo, Rourkela Local Displaced Association 32 Villages
39. Vistapan Virodhi Jan Sangharsh Manch, Jharkhand
40. Auranga Bandh Virodhi Sangarsh Samithi, Latehar, Jharkhand
41. Kutkoo Dam Visthapan Virodhi Sangharsh Samithi, Garhwa, Jharkhand
42. Hindalko Visthapan Sangharsh Samithi, Richu Gutha, Jharkhand
43. Jameen Raksha Visthapan Sangarsh Samithi, Amrapada, Jharkhand
44. Tiger Project Visthapan Samithi, Betala, Jharkhand
45. Khutkathi Sangh, West Singhbhum, Jharkhand
46. Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Mukti Vani, Chandel, Jharkhand
47. Visthapan Mukti Vahini, Chandel, Jharkhand
48. Netrahat Field Firing Range Virodhi Manch, Netrahat, Jharkhand

49. Coal Visthapan Sangharsh Samithi, Peeparvar, Jharkhand
50. Bauxite Khanan Visthapan Sangharsh Samithi, Gumla- Lohardaggah, Jharkhand
51. Visthapit Sangharsh Samiti, Tetheriakhad, Jharkhand
52. Caol Visthapit Sansharsh Samiti, N K Area, Jharkhand
53. Visthapan Virodhi Samanvay Samithi, Jharkhand
54. Hul Jharkhand Kranti Dal, Jharkhand
55. Nau Janwadi Chetana Manch, Jharkhand
56. NTPC Vistthapan Sangharsh Samithi, Chandwa, Jharkhand
57. Surangi Visthapan Sangharsh Samithi, Singhbhum, Jharkhand
58. Birsa Ulugulan Manch, Namkum, Jharkhand
59. Mahila Ulugulan Manch, Namkum, Jharkhand
60. Ravi Study Circle, Ranchi, Jharkhand
61. HEC Vishapan Munch, Ranchi, Jharkhand
62. Paryavaran Bachavo Samithi, Kaandra Raghunathpur, Jharkhand
63. D C Gohai, Boakaro Visthapan Sangh, Jharkhand
64. Gautam Bose, Tatanagar, Jharkhand
65. Bapikar Samanyay Samiti, Jharkhand
66. Angami Pandey, Sajha Jan Sangharsh Abhiyan, Jharkhand
67. Sambhu Mahato, Jharkhand
68. Professor Ramsharan, Ranchi College, Jharkhand
69. Lambada Hakkula Poratha Samithi, Andhra Pradesh
70. Tudum Debba, Andhra Pradesh
71. Adivasi Vidyardhi Samskhema Parishad, Andhra Pradesh
72. Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Andhra Pradesh
73. Patriotic and Democratic Front, Andhra Pradesh
74. Adivasi Swayam Prathipathti Sadhana Samithi, Vishakha Agency, Andhra Pradesh.
75. People’s Land Commission, Andhra Pradesh

(A complete list of Signatories will be provided soon.)

20 January 2007
Venue: Patel Bhawan, Lalpur Chowk, Ranchi, Jharkhand
Date: 20, 21 January 2007
Time: 11 AM


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