Narmada Bachao activist, Medha Patkar addressing audience at the Joint Convention of the Sacred Economy that took place in Bangalore.
Maam with her wide range of practical experience in the field of activism by leading the Narmada Bachao Andolan movement gave very wise insights and perspectives, highlighting what it would take for a movement like, ‘Satyagraha in support of the Sacred Economy’ to be successful and impactful.
Gram Seva Sangh’s movement in support of the Sacred Economy intends to be a movement of people to restructure India’s Economic system, for an economy that’s just, equitable and sustainable.
Sacred Economy is Economy of Permanance
Maam, explains the need for a Sacred Economy which is an economy that esteems the value of labour. It is that the economy of permanence that not only gives livelihoods to most number of people but ensures a healthy sustenance of a Nation’s economy with a system that encourages production of goods and services that are actually required by the country’s population, which is what real development should be all about.
Centralization of Power and Exploitation widespread in today’s Economic System
Sacred Economy is an economy of justice and equity. Today’s economic system favors the Corporates, industrialists and only works to satisfy the needs of the City dwellers. Their agenda is profits, and this is got by exploitation of groups that have become marginalised. Corporates and industries use the services of workers who produce goods but these labourers and workers have no job security. Factories and industries close down at will, leaving lakhs of workers unemployed. This is the current scenario where many car factories closed down due to economic slowdown and no demand, workers are abandoned.
These big Corporate and industrial entities have nexus with political powers as well and have been arrogant enough to have taken lands of farmers for development projects that won’t benefit the poor people who have been displaced. Narmada Dam is an example of that.
However, it’s the farmers who provide food security to the country, it is the industrial workers and labourers who are the real producers of many factory and industry made goods, and they are not compensated, looked after fairly. That is why Gram Seva Sangh calls the current economic system, a Monster Economy!!
Today’s Economy continues to destroy Country’s Wilderness – Climate Change Threat
The Monster Economy, has centralized control over a country’s Natural Resources that should be freely available to every person. The big powers have taken control of land, water, rivers, forests and have damaged it as well, which has led to an environmental crisis.
In future if things go this way, there will be no land to grow essential food produce, there will be no water, there will be severe air pollution leaving us with no clean air to breath due to loss of greenery, forest cover and pollution caused by industries and people. This future is nearby too, scientists have said it’s possible that in 12 years time due to climate change the earth will be facing a mass extinction possibility!!
The above point cannot be denied as we know the severe air quality problem, the very capital of our country faces – Delhi. There is unusually heavy flooding occurring during rain down pours in Kerala, North Karnataka, Uttarakhand etc killing many people and wrecking their houses and lives .
The reasons for these are partly man made – depletion of trees in forests that did flood control by being a catchment area for rain water, encroachment of lake, river beds with illegal constructions leading to flooding, landslides dues to drilling and mining in mountainous and ecologically sensitive regions, pollution of river water due to effluent flows of industrial and human waste and dams that curb the flow of the river affecting water quality, fish and aquatic life, their mismanagement also leads to floods as all the excessive and unnecessary dams constructed just to profit the large Corporation that build it, are opened simultaneously allowing suddenly now fierce water to move and cause destruction. Unauthorised mining in sensitive areas have been releasing toxic chemicals on water bodies and forest soil!! Many of Natural Calamities are man-made and this is slowly leading to the extinction of the whole planet in reality.
Sacred Economy is required to save our Countries’ Environment
In contrast to this, Sacred Economy not only revives the domestic economy of our Nation, it also is environmentally friendly as sectors of this Economy traditionally as well as now, make maximum use of local raw materials, they don’t take away Natural greenery or pollute air or water. The best part is Sacred Economy has been an intrinsic part of the Indian culture. India’s been respected and recognized for it’s handicraft , handloom and khadhi products, they have a special value because of being handmade, making use of the artistic skills of local people.
Sacred Economy is required to revive India’s Economy
Sacred Economy is needed for factory workers and laborers, agriculturalists, fishermen, hawkers, handloom weavers, construction workers, anganwadi workers and women in these occupations and others in both rural and urban areas to get supported so these essential occupations are enough to sustain them for a living. Today’s Monster Economy has neglected these segments but Sacred Economy will work to develop these sectors, so that our Nation’s Economy is actually healthy with everyone getting livelihoods and thus acquiring purchasing power to buy required goods and services, which will sustain the Nation’s economy and lift the country out of the deep economic crisis it has gone into.
Currently India’s GDP has fallen. Banks and Govt. policy measures to stimulate consumer demand through their money and market mechanisms are only done to benefit Corporates and industries not the farmers, weavers and others mentioned earlier who qualify to be Sacred Economy constituents. These segments are left out and even the little benefits that they are entitled to receive by Political and Economic powers in the Monster Economy, don’t reach them a tall!!
Therefore, the current Monster Economy system has only widened income inequalities. If we as Indian Citizens desire our Country to have all around development with removal of poverty along with the existence of healthy natural environments filled with greenery abundant enough to provide for clean air, clean water, then we should support Gram Seva Sangh’s Sacred economy movement. Whatever maybe the political climate, we can’t make excuses, we have to demand revival of Sacred Economy, that would also revive India’s basic indigenous industry.
So, join forces with Gram Seva Sangh in our Campaign in support of Sathyagraha for Sacred Economy.