Saturday, October 6, 2012

Indian landless march on capital

As there is a land reform law under debate, some of the many many millions of landless peasants of all India have begun marching on the federal capital, New Delhi, demanding land for all. 

While politicians try to call them off, attempting to restrict the debate to Parliament and keeping it off the streets, the farmers undeterred are walking thousands of kilometers to demand a piece of land for everyone. 

After all, who can legitimately own land if he/she does not work it with his/her hands? Did they make land out of thin air as some sort of demigods? Or rather did they (or their forefathers) stole it from the community?

This is particularly a recent truth for the many tribes of India, which have collectively owned lands in parts of the union. As The Hindu recollects:

“Before the forest rangers came, my people have protected the forests for generations. How can they push us out now,” asks Manjanan, a 55-year-old from the Muduvar tribe who hails from a village near Valparai. 

The march is known as Jan Satyagraha, which could be translated as People's Struggle. Satyagraha, the central Gandhian concept of nonviolent struggle, is hard to translate to English, meaning something like insistence on truth, but I would translate is as truth-power, where power is undeterred determination, willpower

By the moment, in its 3rd day, the figures I have read speak of some 60,000 people but I can only imagine that the real figures are larger and will grow as the march looms on Delhi.

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