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The Powerful Combination

Building Up and Criticizing at the Same Time

 Campaigning for water rights.

What is the best way to revitalise the rural areas? Is it by development projects like planting trees, building water harvesting structures or starting a small factory to process medical herbs? Or is it by campaigning against a corrupt Forest Department and government? Both constructive work and campaigning have to be done. At the same time. Constructive work without changing the system is useless, because the system will destroy the livelihood of the people faster than we can build up. But campaigning without constructive work can easily become sterile. Even when the slogans hit the nail on the head, people cannot eat slogans. But the combination of building up village economy with campaigns to protect the rights of the villagers is powerful. Read more  Map


for bigger picture click on this photo Stop Land Grabbing!

Via Campesina
a Global Peasant Movement

Via Campesina is a global peasants' movement fighting for food sovereignty. It published a lot of booklets about all political issues relating to peasants. For example: 'Stop Land Grabbing', 'Peasants Can Feed the World', 'No To Violence Against Women' and 'Small Scale Farmers Are Cooling Down the Earth'. Read more


Sitting on the Fence

Letter from a Middle Class Activist

It is a terrible idea that we, middle class activists, sit at the fence, when 'our people', the small farmers, are killed by the government. Killed by decades old exploitation, by displacement for mining and so many other projects and now killed as collateral damage for hunting the 'Maoists'. At the same time we are sitting on the fence, doing almost nothing. Traveling, having some discussions, writing an article, making a picture, compiling a website. Read more   Print   Nederlands   Druk af


India's Anti-Displacement Movements

David Pugh

I traveled across five states in central and eastern India visiting the sites of proposed industrial and mining projects, Special Economic Zones and real estate developments. I spoke with hundreds of villagers who are threatened with displacement and with many dedicated activists who are helping to organize the people's resistance. Read more  Map


Heavy Resistance Adivasis Against Globalisation

Photo article

 Bahan Bulu, an experienced Adivasi activist, gives a speech.

The economy of India grows incredibly fast the last years. Even in our times of worldwide financial and economic crisis it still goes strong, be it a little less. Still there are some drawbacks. Big companies got much more freedom to do what they want. They displace small scale farmers and even expel Adivasis, the original peoples of India, from the regions protected earlier. But the resistance grows from day to day. The farmers realize they will lose everything when their land has gone. Our reporter visited villages in all quarters of the vast country.
Read more   Print   Nederlands   Druk af   Map


 This 'enclave' consists of about thousand apartments with a car-park under the buildings, a swimming pool, tennis courts and a club house 'for members only'. Big fences and security guards all around.

Islands of Wealth

gated communities

All big cities in India have 'enclaves' or 'gated communities'. This are well protected islands of luxury for the well-to-do middle class people who have the better paid jobs at the companies and the government. The people who are the profiteers of the very unjust social-economic structure which is the cause of the poverty, the exploitation and the richness.
More photos   Map


Reflections on Violence and Non-Violence
in Political Movements in India

K Balagopal

The public arena is witness to dispirited discussion of the ineffectiveness of people's movements, which are at the most able to slow down things, and nothing more. The discussion often turns around violence and non-violence, not as moral alternatives but as strategic options. Those who are sick of sitting on dharna after dharna to no effect are looking with some envy at violent options, while many who have come out of armed groups find the Narmada Bachao Andolan fascinating (organisation of non-violent groups fighting against the Narmada dam). Read more   Print


Arundhati Roy about Narmada dam

'Who owns this land? Who owns its rivers? Its forests?'

(Photo: Mukesh Jat)

Village meeting in Jalsindhi, discussing actions.

The famous Indian writer and journalist Arundathi Roy wrote a long article for Outlook magazine about the Narmada Dam Project in the West of India. She also discuses the question how useful big projects are. Who are the winners, who the losers and who are resisting.
"In India over the last ten years the fight against the Sardar Sarovar Dam has come to represent far more than the fight for one river. (..) It became a debate that captured the popular imagination. (..) From being a fight over the fate of a river valley it began to raise doubts about an entire political system. What is at issue now is the very nature of our democracy. Who owns this land? Who owns its rivers? Its forests? Its fish?"

Go to the introduction article or download the whole article (in Word, 400 KB)


Arundhati Roy With the Guerillas

roaming around in the forest for several weeks

 Guerilla camp in the forest.

Arundhati Roy traveled around with the Maoists in the center Indian state Chhattisgarh for several weeks. The guerillas are mostly young tribals (women and men) fighting against oppression and displacement for dams and mines and for their autonomy as small farmers with their own local culture.

Roy: "The antagonists in the forest (of the government and companies) are disparate and unequal in almost every way. On one side is a massive paramilitary force armed with the money, the firepower, the media, and the hubris of an emerging Superpower. On the other, ordinary villagers armed with traditional weapons, backed by a superbly organised, hugely motivated Maoist guerrilla fighting force with an extraordinary and violent history of armed rebellion."

Go to the introduction article or download the whole article (in Word, 1.5 MB)


Bon Bibi Legend and 'Ethnic Cleansing' of India's Forests

Amitav Ghosh

(Photo F: V. Malik from New Delhi and Pune, India)

The Bon Bibi deity.

Indian writer Amitav Ghosh is very angry about the Indian forest policy: "Over many decades, there has been a kind of 'ethnic cleansing' of India's forests: indigenous groups have been evicted or marginalised and hotel chains and urban tourists have moved in." With the help of the beautiful Bon Bibi legend from the Bengal mangrove forests Ghosh describes the relationship between the villagers and their forests. He warns the political disempowerment of the forest dwellers will not continue forever. Read more   Map

Download full article from Amitav Ghosh: 'Wild Fictions', 7 pages in Word, 7 photos; 400 KB.


Mother Earth - New Future for Small Farmers

 A parade of bullock carts travells from village to village, to celebrate the richness of the traditional seeds.

Documentary about poor women farmers in the South of India who turned their back to modern agriculture in order to bring new life to their traditional ways of farming. With a lot of success! Read more; link to the documentary


Himalayan Waters

 The life of Himalayan is closely linked with the rivers.

This documentary gives a quick overview of the water problems in the Himalayas. It also shows how villagers and their local organizations struggle against hydro power projects and deforestation and for safe drinking water; to protect their life and save the Himalayas. Read more; link to the documentary


Damming the North East

for bigger picture click on this photo Idu Mishmi tribals oppose fake public hearing, March 2008.

No fewer than 168 big dams in the North East of India will be constructed in the coming decades. That is what the central Indian government, the banks and contractors have in mind.
But the resistance is growing. Lepchas and Idu Mishmis tribals in Sikkim protest and in Assam there is a major political debate on the downstream impacts of dams.

Read more or download the full report (pdf, 1400 KB). map


Dam Building in the Himalayas

for bigger picture click on this photo Many big dams are build already in the Himalayas, many more are planned.

When you want a quick overview about the several hundred dam projects in the Himalayas for the next twenty years, you will find a lot of information in the report Mountains of Concrete - dam building in the Himalayas.

Read more or download the full report (pdf, 2900 KB). map

Photos: Himcon, Uttarakhand; Arundhati Roy Outlook; Paul Enkelaar; HPSS, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand and Peasant Autonomy - Creative Commons