From Day one of our fight against
Covid-19, a large number of brave and committed CORONA FRONT LINE WARRIORS have been relentlessly lending their
services to save humanity. In the process many of them have even lost their
lives. We the Women force of CHARAKA co-operative
with its sister organisation DESI trust,
comprising of economically poor segment of the society would like to express
our gratitude and love to these warriors
on the RAKSHA
BANDHAN DAY, 3, Aug’20 by gifting
some of our Handloom products like Masks, Towels, Bags etc; in our own small measure.
economically poor, who are also faced with job losses and reduced earnings, we
are required to be subsidised to express gratitude to Covid Warriors. We
therefore, seek your valuable support by merely donating Rs.101.00 and multiple thereof, before 3, Aug’20. We
would like to raise a minimum sum of Rs.5.00 lakhs so that a reasonable number
of Warriors could be honoured. This will serve the Twin Purpose of realising
the Dream of your sisters of Charaka and Desi community but also honour Covid
Warriors. Please also spread the message to all your contacts. The Bank Account
details are given below:
Thank you for your generosity and kind gesture.
– Online Transfer –
BHIM | UPI Modes | QR Code
Name – DESI TRUST
A/c. No. –
Bank – State
Bank of India
A/c. Type –
For more details and queries, feel free to contact
As you all know Gram Seva Sangh is sustaining its efforts through couple of volunteers and from friends monthly small contributions. This support is immeasurable for us.
On the one hand, the contribution from our
member subscribers is thinning during these trying times. To keep our
campaign going especially when a lot of anti-people legislations and moves are
being rushed through by the government at state and centre. We would like
to broad base our supporters so the regular contributors are not overburdened.
On the other hand, considering the
current crisis, we believe this is the time we need to step up the
efforts to work with many organizations. To do that, we need to first
sustain current full time and part time volunteers and a few more volunteers to
increase the efforts.
More of your small financial
contributions will make this happen, so we thought requesting these
– Subscribe to become a monthly donor with your small monthly financial contributions
– Request your friends and interested folks to subscribe to contribute monthly
– We also request already contributing Subscribers who can afford to increase a small extent
Our Bank Details mentioned
below for your use, Please send us a message after contributing by online:
Name: Gram Seva Sangh Bank: Indian Bank Branch: Chamrajpet, Bangalore A/c number: 6820702287
(Current a/c) IFSC: IDIB000C007
Recently Gram Seva Sangh office shifted to Heggodu Village, Sagara Tq, Shivmogga Dist due to the Health concerns of our volunteers and Mentors, So we request your cooperation due to any inconvenience by this.
Our New postal Address: Gram Seva Sangh, c/o, Charaka, Bheemanakone 577 417, Sagar Tq, Shimoga District,
India | Ph: 08183 – 265601 / 02
CampaignAgainstAmendment to Land Reforms Act by Karnataka Govt.Updates:
When all of us talking about “Going Local”, here we would like to recall some of such movements happened in the past, to get inspired by those true spirit.
One such movement is Mothertongue Theatre Movement 2005, which clearly said, all regional languages theatre (means “Local” theatre) has to be considered as “National Theatre”, decentralize the National cultural Institutes and more, which we must work towards.
During the sunset-years of the 19th century, a radical thought was taking shape in India. The “Swadeshi Movement” which was officially launched in 1905 had its theoretical aspects defined in the late 1800s. Stalwarts such as Naoroji, Tilak, Ghokale, Aurobindo are credited with the thought leadership for the same. History tells us that the Swadeshi movement is a “nationalistic movement”, i.e a political movement. But at its very core, this movement was an economical one, born from the understanding that the oppression of the Indians within India was predicated upon the economic control of the entire Indian populace by a few Englishmen.
Being “nationalistic”, today is not considered good behavior by many; it certainly is not seen as progressive. We now associate it with mostly the right-wing, jingoistic and populist style of politics that has taken roots in most parts of the world that has sailed the democratic and secular oceans to arrive at this point. What happened? One reason could be the mix-up involving “method” and “intent”. Movements like the Swadeshi were born out of the need for human beings to unshackle themselves from an oppressor, “a real adversary” (so to speak). Today’s nationalism is born out of the need to manufacture non-existent enemies or distract us from the real ones or both.
The modus-operandi of the Swadeshi Movemement was to “go local”; to boycott foreign products (very specifically, British) and opt for local produce. Underlying this was the confidence that came from “Atmashakthi” (self-strength) , a term coined by Rabindranath Tagore during the same years, when he was putting together his thoughts on Indian Nationalism. In other words, to even begin thinking about boycotting something, to say a “firm no” to external help or input, one first needed to build the inner strength to be self reliant and be confident enough to endure what comes after.
The Swadeshi movement later paved way to progressively mature and effective movements. With the entry of Gandhiji into the Indian Independence Struggle, “Swadeshi” found new intent, meaning and methods where he combined his success of the Satyagraha (that he conceived while in South Africa) with the good-parts of the Swadeshi movement to come up with the tools and ethos which made possible a national conscience strong enough to put up a non-violent struggle against the British-might.
Our grand experiments with “local”
Colonialism, and India’s tryst with it aside, the need for “going local” has been the need-of-the-hour for long. Every individual who has considered or worked towards an “ecologically viable”, “socially just” and “economically alternative” society knows the importance of “going local”. In fact to understand the benefits of going local, one only has to stare at the disadvantages of a world that went global; to be specific, the disadvantages of “globalization”.
It has been a perpetual struggle between these two forces. One that wanted to establish a global-order and another that resists it by celebrating diversity, “the local” and decentralization. If there is a tiny amount of hope today with some skill and culture left in parts of the world that are not yet completely transformed, it is because of the small victories of the latter group. In India especially, even today, we retain some traditional agricultural methods, weaving practices, skills and products that demand respect for human labour simply because we upheld the notion of local over global; a storyline of struggle that connects movement to movement, generation to generation. But was that enough?
We have deluded ourselves in some cases of “going local”; in most cases, we have celebrated too early. This is because we overestimated our success. The very fact that, as a society, we democratically elected a corporation-friendly, yet traditional-sounding ideological concoction, as our leaders and governments today, should be proof enough that we have completely missed our goals. Our attempts all these years to stay local has been within the perimeters set by the “market”; issue of having to “comply”. We have had so many of our “local” stories that gladly claim to be “Swadeshi” but actually can only be considered local “productions” at best. Even the not-so-nuanced original “Swadeshi Movement” was about “local consumption”. Gandhi’s and Kumarappa’s interpretation and experiments with Swadeshi have been about both consumption and production.
These are strong reasons today to rise above our own petty self-declared victories and march towards what is truly local. If nothing, the collapse our years of “half-baked” local movements in current times when a pandemic has struck the world, should serve us as a reminder that our job is far from complete.
It was only a matter of time before the hyper-nationalistic party, that forms the Indian Government today, decided to use “local” in their vocabulary. It is also very amusing that Tagore’s “Atmashakthi” has been aptly re-purposed into an “Atma Nirbharata” (presumably meaning the same thing but with a twist for the slogan-entertained citizen of the present).
The call to go local is not new even within the short history of the current ruling party. “Make in India” was a campaign that ran before this and regardless of what the “thinkers” thought about it, the average person’s idea of this matter varied from “International companies employing Indian workers” to “Made in a factory that is physically located on Indian soil”; a vague enough cloud of interpretative smoke behind which we can continue to worship the only God we know now; that of Capital.
During the Coronavirus crisis of 2020, the call to “go local” will again have all sorts of interpretations. For some – with an overconfident zeal- it has become a chance to raise some dirt against our behemoth neighbour, China. For others, this is an opportunity to “somehow stay alive and relevant” in the dark-and-dying days of Capitalism. So going local today will only mean one thing for businesses that never came up with the true intent of creating local economies; to extract “whatever is left” in terms of resources and run away with the last few crumbs of the pie.
“Local” is but one word in a dictionary and this word is loaded. Hence it is easy to be used to abused, which it will be. So was “Swadeshi” and so was “Swaraj”. We need to look at all the words involved and truly take them in. Self, friends, family, village, community, nativity, interdependence, social, sacrifice, commons, sustainability, ethics, rootedness, belonging etc. Understanding those terms, seeking out and making changes, starting with the self, is essential for understanding what is meant by “local”. But that is not what the politicians will tell us. We need to be wary.
Striving to be “local
For us to even consider having made a dent by “being local”, we would have to first look at “local consumption”. This is not the same as a city-based-consumer buying a product that has the label “locally produced” (be it food, durable or clothes). It is about actual fuel-miles that the product took to reach the consumer, beginning from raw-material extraction that formed its component parts. Taking an example of unstitched cloth, “How far is the weaver from you?”, “Where is the lady who spun the yarn?” “Where was the cotton grown?” are what defines the product to be classified as local. This works for all products and services. “How far is your kid’s school teacher?”. “Where are my cups and saucers made?”. “Did I make that compost I used for my organic herb-garden, or did I buy it from Thailand from a local community?”.
So when the health conscious consumer in Mumbai buys organically grown fresh vegetables from rural Maharashtra, or the ethnicity and ethics conscious consumer in Bangalore buys hand-crafted products from rural Karnataka, we are barely scratching the surface. This is true when we also find false equivalences between organic and local, ethical and local, environmental-friendly and local, handloom and local etc. Which usually leads to newer forms of markets but never truly addresses the real problem, that of consumerism.
The other larger issue when striving to be local is about mixing up the urge and well-meaning intent to be local with nationalism and regionalism, with complete disregard to areas, sizes, climactic conditions and watersheds that form the basis for defining real “locals”. If we were to exist in the southern-most tip of India and home-order something from Assam, can it be deemed local? In large states (that are the size of some of the world’s countries), does it even make sense to create the food miles necessary to transport goods from one corner to the other? Thinking “local” should be elevated above petty administrative boundaries.
Limiting “local” into “products” is also an issue. There is a lot more to local than that; languages, knowledge, customs, know-how and ways-of-life. We need to be able to re-adapt some and value them for what they are. We should avoid being led into a guilt-trip (a trick often played on us by our own modernity) that all local is automatically barbaric, bad and evil. In fact an objective mind should look at “local” for its spatial, economic and environmental value alone. The evolution of “local” from some ancient-form into a newer-form is not “global” (an easy mistake to make), it is just newer-local, a current-and-improved form, as we individuals and communities learn and move on. Hence understanding local and appreciating it for “concepts” before “products” will actually go a long way in understanding production and consumption itself.
It is very tempting to give ourselves the “local” label very quickly, either because our existing delusions need validation or we are part of the same group that needs to pathologically align with the political conscience of this country. Both are not going to help in the long run. To be local, we need to look at the full circle and begin at consumption and then go towards production. This also means, we have to produce for necessity and not for the sake of production itself (which is one of the pillars holding up Capitalism and all of the monsters it spawned, including the current Coronavirus crisis).
The word “local” itself is not lying to us; the people who use it are. It only has a “space implication”, i.e of distance between us (the consumer) and the site of production. Our ideas and thoughts need to have far-reaching implications and consequences but our resource extraction and consumption should now have short-distance gratification and value. To be “truly local” we need to aim for a diverse and colourful world composed of a plethora of “local economies” of interdependent and small communities that strive to give-and-take locally from each other as well as this planet.
The Karnataka Cabinet has decided to take the ordinance route to implement amendments to the Land Reforms Act that will enable anyone with enough money to buy agricultural land. This amendment will open the floodgates for predatory capital to enter agriculture. Land ownership will be consolidated in the hands of people with money. It will also lead to large scale mechanised agriculture. Our policies must be aimed at optimum land holdings for sustainable, climate-resilient agriculture. The importance of agriculture in ecological restoration and the fact that no sector of the economy can match agriculture in providing employment must not be forgotten while framing policies. Land reforms must be part of a larger policy shift towards social justice and sustainability.
Our laws and
policies must be framed so as to promote social justice and
sustainability. Thus far, our policies
have been guided by considerations of economic growth rather than sustainability. Since neo-liberalism gained ground, our
policies came to be guided solely by pursuit of economic growth, without even
bothering to think about who benefited from it.
This has resulted in unacceptable economic inequality as well as
ecological destruction. Now that climate
change has reached a point of crisis, it is necessary to recognise that the
crisis is a symptom of the fact that humanity has been conducting its affairs
in an unsustainable manner. We are truly
in an emergency and we must respond to it as we do to any emergency, i.e.
according it the highest priority.
Justice and sustainability must be the guiding principles of all our
policies and our laws must also be aligned with these principles. One of the most important steps in this direction
is enacting suitable land reforms.
the climate crisis is the result of relentless pursuit of economic growth
disregarding ecological limits, profit maximisation must be rejected as the
driving force of economic activities. It
should be replaced by considerations of security and minimisation of risk to
all, especially to the poor. Ecological
restoration must now be undertaken on priority.
Rebuilding soil fertility, restoring water security and protecting
biodiversity are important aspects of ecological restoration. Our laws and policies must be changed so as
to be aligned with this priority. They
should be guided by a holistic vision of a just and sustainable society.
Knee-jerk reactions to situations arising from earlier shortsighted policies
are to be avoided. Further, alleviation
of poverty itself must not be hostage to the desire of the rich to maximise
profits. It should follow from our
constitutional commitment to right to life, dignity and equality of
opportunities. Amendments to Land
Reforms must be guided by this constitutional commitment and the urgency of
Agriculture must no longer be meant just for producing food but must also be an integral part of ecological restoration. Seen from this point of view, it must not be an economic activity driven by maximisation of return on investment. Land must not be a commodity but should be considered as commons if anyone who wishes to do farming, not just for producing food but as part of a project of ecological restoration, is to have access to it. Ecological restoration must be a mission and must attract not just those who have left farming but also other people who wish to participate in it. Ideally, land use planning must be done based on considerations of ecological sustainability, taking micro-watersheds as units. There should be usufruct rights for permissible use of land. Usufruct rights must be given preferably to cooperatives. The size of land holdings must be what is optimum for sustainable, climate-resilient agriculture.
from farming must be evaluated not just from the economic value of the produce
but also on the ecological value of restoring soil fertility, water security
and biodiversity. There must be a policy
to train farmers in agro-ecological methods and farmers should be paid for
doing restoration work. Scientists must
be consulted to device a rational method of compensating farmers for ecological
restoration. The possibility of
strengthening programmes like NREGA for undertaking such work must be
considered. This has the potential to
not just stop migration of farmers due to ecological degradation but even
encourage them to return to their places to participate in restoration. This work, being of the highest priority,
should not suffer from paucity of funds.
Transparency and monitoring by local bodies must prevent
corruption. Taxation on all economic
activities that are extractive in nature must be used for raising funds for the
mission of ecological restoration. The
guarantee of security offered to farmers must be sufficient to wean them away
from demanding subsidies and populist policies.
suggested here will not find easy acceptance but are based on the realities of
climate crisis and unacceptable economic disparities. Changes in our laws and policies must at
least proceed in this direction.
Policies leading to consolidation of land in the hands of powerful
people or corporations should not be allowed at any cost since it will lead to
greater economic inequality as well as further ecological destruction through
the use of extractive practices in agriculture.
Using an ordinance to implement such a policy amounts to a fraud on the
constitution and on the people of the nation.
chemical engineering at NITK Surathkal, doing farming as part of a sustainable
As you all know, the recent proposed amendment to the Karnataka Land Reforms Act1961 paved the way for snatching away of agricultural lands from farmers by non-agricultural entities including rich businesses and corporate bodies, among others. In this context, Gram Seva Sangh, in support of all farmers and likeminded organizations ongoing protest on ground doing a virtual campaign.