Saturday, May 30, 2009

Local is true universal

Zebra based in Graz of Austria organized a series of seminar on 22 anniversaries of Zebra. Dr. Lenin participated on 29 May 2009 .See link:

Speech and presentations follow:

Local is true universal
Local thinking, local-global action
Lenin Raghuvanshi, Convenor, PVCHR

I am highly obliged to ZEBRA for providing me this valuable opportunity. Here I would like to discuss how local thinking can be transformed into global. Local is true universal. This means local people are inevitable part of globe, which requires local-global action base on local thinking for the survival of people with dignity.
In this regard I would like to draw your kind attention on participation and empowerment of marginalized communities of Damahi village of India, in their hunger situation. This village is very near to the village Dabahi of Aharoura, related with small dalit girl PINKI, whose film “Smile Pinki” has won Oscar Award for best documentary film for this year. Initially this marginalized community was reluctant and afraid to explain their situation before anybody, but when they were encouraged and mobilized to explain their situation, they came forward and talked about their hunger situation before human rights activists. Thus they uncensored themselves against the fear created by patriarchal-feudal system and feudal forces. The human rights activists highlighted the issues regarding hunger situation, bonded labor practices, absolute crisis of rule of law, corruption in PDS, torture of marginalized community and class by the local police in the name of Naxalism. On the basis of these facts Hong Kong based regional Human Rights group Asian Human Right Commission (AHRC) issued urgent and hunger appeals and Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) filed petitions to the Chief Secretary UP, District Magistrate Mirzapur, National Human Right Commission, Supreme Court Commissioner on Right to Food. Further the AHRC raised the issue before UN, international and national human rights institutions. NHRC send notice to the Chief Secretary UP, District Magistrate Mirzapur. Thus voice of these marginalized people had been amplified. Apart from this print and electronic media have played important role in highlighting the situation. The impacts of this amplification are as follows:

• Many official teams visited the locality and under emergency action food grains had been distributed among starving families.
• With immediate effect four hand-pumps have been bored for potable water.
• 53 families got Antyodaya Ann Yojana AAY (red ration card) as urgent.
• Irregularities in distribution of ration at PDS have been rooted out.
• 54 job cards under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) have been issued to the community people.
• One bigha (2/3 acre) land has been allotted to each mushar family for agriculture.
Thus administration has been awakening due to local-global action and every musher family of Damahi has got basic amenities and other facilities from the government. It means if we want social transformation, local thinking must be included which support the opinion “Local thinking, local-global action.”
It is very important to understand the phenomena of local-global action on the local thinking. There is a gap in the policies and its implementation at grass root level. This gap can only be identified while working at grassroots and realizing through “participatory evaluation process”. This requires organizing campaign and awareness programme with the aim of inculcating such values and imparting such knowledge which go into making a human being more humane and awake to the task of creation a world, where all beings co-exist peacefully. For this local to global campaign is followed at three levels. Firstly, at gross-root level, it can be campaigns to change people’s perception and local norms. It does not only mean work to get policies into placed, but also monitoring policies and pressuring them to be enact as well as work to ensure that the intended beneficiaries are aware of policies and have a sense of ownership for them. Secondly, at national level, it might be government’s regulations legislation or industrial/development policies which are anti-people that are challenged and, thirdly, at international level, to influence international institution, this in turn will put pressure on the national government for appropriate action on issues.
Since justice requires un-censorship and breaking silence and the demoralized communities confine themselves within some unwritten law and they have no courage to break this law to un-censor themselves, so the foremost thing is to encourage the people to break their silence and un-censor themselves to speak about their sufferings and pain. This requires:
• The location from where the rules of censorship can be broken.
• The will to break such rules of censorship.
• Creation of audience for hearing.
• Continue the process until the problem is fully dissolved.

The PVCHR is striving to comply with above requirements through testimonial process, honor ceremony, folk school, peoples’ tribunal, demonstration, protest and local meetings. The community people share their problem at this platform and enrich with confidence to continue their struggle. Their problems are being discussed at peoples’ resistance platform and it can be published at local level through print and electronic media, leaflets and peoples’ centric advocacy is done before appropriate authority. Modern technology of internet is used to give the voice for the pain and suffering of the most vulnerable section of the society. A network is created through web to create a mass campaign on these problematic issues. Thus the voice of the community is amplified and it reaches to the government and administration. Now the government and administration cannot ignore the problems of the community. However for sustaining it individual alone are not sufficient. PVCHR itself may be an extension of its leader, providing him/her the necessary organization supports in order to mobilize people into movement around the campaign’s issue which is critical for greater impact at the national and grass-root level.

PVCHR is fighting back the caste system of India through participatory activism in philosophy of “local thinking and local-global action”. Now Dalit is un-censoring themselves and claiming their own rights in sustained way, Fighting Dalit associated with PVCHR asking,
”We ask, "Is the earth alone?" Don't you have to go to the earthworm,
busy making earth fertile, and ask before taking any important decision!
Who knows if the ants are more concerned about the earth’s future than you?
I am worth an earthworm. For you I am only an ant to be crushed.
My human rights puny before your demon rights
We may be insignificant come on.
yet our claim over the earth is no way less than yours.”

In last I would like to conclude by saying that any process should be taken after taking into account the peoples’ emancipation and empowerment. For this, people should be involved in decision making, implementation and ownership, which inculcates the participatory activism. However there is the possibility that people may give unsystematic and un-concentrated idea. After scientific analysis and validation base on values of justice, equity and non-violence, systematic and concentrated idea will be generated and this idea should certainly be the peoples’ idea for dissolution of centralized structure in favour of control system of small communities solving local problems with their own material and intellectual resources.

Speech at Graz

Presentation on caste sytem:
Caste System

Presentation on strategies and tactics of PVCHR:

PVCHR: tactics and strategy

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