Press Release

Pan-India Yatra reaches Kolkata to spread the message of Gandhian philosophy of Swaraj, Swadeshi and Satyagraha

Kolkata, 19 Apr 17: The Pan-India Yatra to promote Gandhian philosophy of Swaraj, Swadeshi and Satyagraha across India has reached Kolkata toay led by Dr Vandana Shiva, Founder Director, Navdanya along with activists. This Yatra is aimed to celebrating 100 years of the Mahatma Gandhi's first Champaram Satyagraha in India.

Participants of Yatra included farmers, economic democracy movements, civil society organizations, universities and state governments.

Started on 13th April 2017 at Meerut where the First Independence Movement against the East India Company began in 1857, the Yatra moved to Benares to celebrate the 1810 Movement against the British imposed house tax. Next the Yatra made a pilgrimage to Champaran on 17th April 2017 the day Gandhi started his Satyagraha against the forced cultivation of Indigo. On Wednesday the team joined the valiant communities of Singur stopped land grab through the land Satyagraha (Bhu Satyagraha ).

At Singur, they honoured the martyrs families, took a pledge with the village pradhan and Singur MLA Rabindra Nath Bhattacharya to make Singur free of poisons, both in society and on the farms.

Dr. Vandana Shiva planted a poison-free Garden of Hope with organic seeds to further spread the agro-ecological farming, and to give new hope to Singur.

Addressing the media Dr. Shiva said, "Speaking here, I am reminded of a famous saying by Gohkale ji, 'What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.' Singur and Nandigram have shown Indian farmers a way, a way to successfully resist corporate land grab. I begin by saluting the martyrs of Singur and Nandigram and want to tell farmers that there is hope, and it comes to us once again from Bengal. Bengal is great land with a history of revolution. Bengal is a land of resilience. The people have defeated the British Empire here, they have started the Tebhaga movement here. This land has stood for freedom not just of the body, but also of the soul. But today, Corporations and MNCs are trying to recolonize this land. We have seen with the case of PepsiCo how they locked the Bengali farmers into debt that led them to commit suicide."

She further stated, "The case of Singur and Nandigram are well known. On one side these Corporates seek control from the seed to our thali, they are also spreading diseases like cancer and then selling us the medicines for them."

"Today, as we take our Satyagraha Yatra from Kolkata to Nandigram and further on to the site of Salt Satyagraha in Balasore, we pledge to make a new India, a Jaivik Bharat by 2047," she added.

She informed that "After paying homage to those who participated in the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 by travelling the 'Salt Satyagraha Road' in Orissa ,we will conclude the Yatra on Mother Earth Day at the Navdanya's Community Seed Bank in Orissa which has spread Seeds of Hope across India, after cyclones, tsunami and repeated droughts . We will renew our Satyagraha for the Earth with a renewed commitment to save and sow the seeds of freedom .We know that the freedom for the Earth and all her beings is inseparable from the freedom of people. And it is the higher laws of protecting the planet and defending our interconnected rights and responsibilities that give us the "compassionate courage" `to challenge petty laws and policies rooted in greed, based on violence.

She concluded, "We renew our commitment to protect our - Bija Swaraj , Anna Swaraj, Bhu Swaraj, Jal Swaraj, Gyan Swaraj and Jaivik Bharat 2047 (Jaivik India 2047).

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