Skip to main content

NAPM meet to challenge 'oppressive' policies and politics of India's current regime

Counterview Desk
Deciding to hold its 12th Biennial National Convention on at Puri, Odisha, from November 23 to 25, 2019, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM), has said that during its 25 years of "struggle and reconstruction", and for freedom, democracy and constitutional values, there was never such attack as today on the countey's post-Independence ethos.
In a theme paper distributed for the proposed convention, NAPM said, today, the core values of our constitutional republic, which is in fact our ideological rubric, are being grossly violated day in and day out", adding, "Our food habits, life-choices, relationships, identities, each of these are being marked and targeted and being used as a barometer of our ‘patriotism’."

Text:

We are all aware that our country is facing serious political, social, economic, cultural and ideological crises. The powers-that-be and its affiliated organizations are hell-bent on changing the secular fabric of this country in unbridled ways. We are facing a severe economic slowdown. Unemployment is on an uncontrolled hike.
We can feel the effect of growing inflation in our day to day life. Violence of all forms, in particular instances of mob-lynching is on the rise. Every day one hears of gruesome stories of violence against women. More often than not, very powerful people seem to be involved in these cases; and those in power are keenly protecting them.
Marginalized communities, especially Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and Christians, are being attacked in various ways. Attempts are being made to portray a specific ideology of the dominant ruling party as the voice of the entire nation. Right-wing communal elements are now fully out in the open to actualize their project of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’.
Those who differ in their opinions from those of the current government are being portrayed as anti-nationals and called names like ‘urban naxals’, ‘tukde tukde gang etc and ordinary people are being provoked instigate violence against those who question the wrong-doers.
Concerted and organized efforts are being made to silence, ridicule and defame all the dissenting voices, especially human rights defenders and groups. For over a year many activists have been languishing in jail, falsely implicated ‘Bhima Koregaon’ case where actually Dalits were subjected to violence by the right-wing.
People's movements are being smothered. The latest example in this regard is that of forceful submergence of the residents of the Narmada Valley, who have been fighting for their land and life over 35 years.
Multiple progressive laws enacted after hard-fought battles including the RTI Act, labour laws, environmental laws, land acquisition and rehabilitation laws etc. are being diluted even as repressive laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and National Investigation Agency (NIA) amendment Bills as well as the constitutionally questionable Triple Talaq Bill are being passed.
An ultra-masculinist nationalism is being imposed on us in the garb of patriotism
The parliamentary processes are being grossly undermined. The dwindling autonomy and independence of the judicial system including the Apex Court is also a matter of deep concern.
We have seen numerous overt and covert attacks on our post-independence ethos. The core values of our constitutional republic which is infact our ideological rubric are being grossly violated day in and day out.
All these values which safeguarded the diversity and plurality of our public life are being eroded. An ultra-masculinist nationalism is being imposed on us in the garb of patriotism. Practically every right that was painstakingly earned through our independence struggle is being contested today and we are being led into a ‘state of surveillance’.
Our food habits, life-choices, relationships, identities, each of these are being marked and targeted and being used as a barometer of our ‘patriotism’. Those who indulge in mindless violence both online and offline are left to run amok and any discussion on any issue is sought to be communalized these days.
While the regions of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and North-eastern states have always borne the brunt of state repression, as of now, peoples of these areas have become absolute survivors of the fascist onslaught of the present government.
While on the one hand, large number of poor persons who have been left-out of the NRC are facing a bleak and uncertain future, BJP is communalizing the entire issue for its political ends and is introducing citizenship based on religion, through unconstitutional measures like the ‘Citizenship Amendment Bill’, which is to extend to the whole of India!
Government seems to take pride in its audacity to ‘show Kashmiris their place’ by ignoring 70 years of complex history
Even as we are able to deal with these issues, we find that one (not-so) fine morning, the state of J&K (including Ladakh) is ripped into two union territories. This Government seems to take pride in its audacity to ‘show Kashmiris their place’ by ignoring 70 years of complex history, abrogating Art 370 and dissolving the statehood of J&K, overnight and virtually incarcerating the people of an entire state for over two months, cut off from communications, basic health care and other essential services.
With no respite in sight for Kashmir, the Naga areas and Naga peoples seem to be the next target for this Government. If the Naga cease-fire of 22 years comes to an unfortunate end, the Prime Minister and his Government’s reckless political approach would only be held responsible.
The economy has been so badly hit that for the first time in our history that the reserves of the RBI have been withdrawn for the sake of waiving off taxes of mega corporates. Failed attempts are being made to salvage the fragile banking system by imposing a variety of taxes on the common people. People are now worried about their savings with the government.
Public sector enterprises are being privatized relentlessly and lakhs of employees are seen protesting these moves. With the imposition of GST in a thoughtless way, many industries have already been hit badly. Labour laws are being diluted and even as the PM goes around the globe claiming to safeguard the planet, back home environmental laws and institutions are being severely compromised.
It is amidst such a charged atmosphere that the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) is marking 25 years of its history of collective struggles. As we know, NAPM is a collective platform for all the voices that have spoken out for people's issues at the grassroots. It includes in its umbrella, people and organizations with several progressive political views, but those who are committed to values of secularism and who advocate for people's rights.
NAPM is a collective platform for all the voices that have spoken out for people's issues at the grassroots
Alongside being a platform for movements, it is also an inclusive space for struggles and reconstructive activities. Be it in adivasis or urban areas, working with children in schools, attempts at organic farming and gainful agriculture, creative engagement with young people, eco-friendly alternatives in power generation, understanding the vagaries floods and drought and working on rejuvenating tanks – the alliance is a space for a whole host of groups.
Likewise, groups working on Gandhi’s model of decentralized Gram Swaraj, collectives taking ahead the vision of Marx to ensure ownership of means of production in the hands of the proletariat, struggles organizing dalits and oppressed around the vision of Ambedkar to annihilate caste, groups working with the social justice spirit of Bhagat Singh, collectives reposing faith in the rationalist and equity based world view of Periyar – all are part of the NAPM process.
Groups working to establish peace and harmony across the country are also associated with the Alliance in a strong way. For us, the ‘last person’ in the ‘line of development’ is the first priority. This includes adivasis, dalits, marginal farmers and workers, women and other oppressed genders.
The Alliance believes in the values of Constitution including equity, self-reliance, non-discrimination, social justice and is committed to the non-monetization of natural resources by corporates, which are lifelines for millions of peoples.
We have all collectively fought and won many struggles in the past few decades. Be it questions of land rights, anti-displacement, forest rights, struggles against large dams, corridors, coastal attacks etc. or right to information, work etc, along with other fora.
NAPM has also received strength from many other networks and has always been available in solidarity with other struggles and groups. We have also been able to compel parties to include many of our issues in their agendas. Our struggles continue and that is why we say: We have fought. We have won. We shall fight. We shall win.
We are very much aware of the global climate crisis and are very much part of efforts at the South Asian level to deal with the same. Be it the melting glaciers of Himalayas of the burning Amazon or the Aarey forests being cut back home – all of these are our shared concerns and struggles.
Our struggles continue and that is why we say: We have fought. We have won. We shall fight. We shall win
In today’s time – groups struggling to preserve lands, forests, commons, water bodies, mineral and coastal resources and livelihoods are also faced with an acute challenge to defence and preserve the plural values of our Constitution. This is the time when we as NAPM need to work more actively with a whole host of networks and groups to defend basis human values and social justice.
Even as acknowledge the fact that over the past many years, lakhs of workers, adivasis, dalits, women, transpeople, students, minorities, fishworkers, farmers, teachers, anganwadi and asha workers, public sector employees and many others across the country have fought valiantly against the oppressive policies and politics of the current regime, there is still a lot more of consistent, collective organizing that we need to do at various levels and in various forms, in order to defend our constitution as well as basic human rights and social justice.
In this context, we are pleased to invite you to the 12th National Convention of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), as we mark 25 challenging and significant years of our collective journey towards justice and democracy. 
The Convention is to be held at Puri, Odisha from November 23 to 25, 2019. It is upon each of us individually and collectively to face and confront the challenges that these trying times have thrown up. We would like to use the occasion of the Convention as a space for reflection and introspection as well.
NAPM logo
NAPM has always striven to bring together progressive groups and individuals being in a range of ideologies and issues. Today’s times require such efforts most so that we can work together in defence of the Constitution, for freedom and democracy.
The Convention would begin with a marker of cultural resistance on November 23 at Doodwala Dharamshala, Grand Road, Near Jagannath Temple. The Convention would include many interesting sessions on our contemporary struggles, ideological discourses, our challenges, positions and responses, strategies and actions plans.
On the occasion of this Convention, we earnestly appeal to all who have been raising their voices to ensure dignified life for the ordinary people, social justice as well as have been part of struggles for natural resources including water, land and forests and those who have tirelessly advocated for people's causes to come together.. Do bring along the colours and histories of your struggles, your banners, posters, badges literature, films etc. Let our spirit of collectivism thrive at the Convention and beyond.
Call of the Times: Let’s Unite for Freedom, Democracy and Constitutional Values!

Comments

TRENDING

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

Hindutva groups threat to peace, freedom: US diaspora groups tell FBI, other govt depts

By Our Representative  The Islamophobic and neo-Nazi ideology of Hindutva is a clear and present danger to peace and freedoms in the United States, a coalition of civil rights organizations told key officials of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a recent event in Edison, New Jersey. At the event titled United Against Hate, activists from American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) made detailed presentations on this ideology of Hindu supremacism that is committing mass persecution of India’s Muslims and Christians and is rearing its ugly head in New Jersey as well as across the US. Attending the event were David S Leonardis, Special Investigator from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety; Michael E Campion, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the US Attorney General's Office; and Jonathan R Norbut of the U.S. Dep

Facing tough times, Rajasthan's Raika herders hold first-ever camel cheese festival

By Rosamma Thomas*  During the pandemic, the annual Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan did not occur for fear of contagion; in 2022, it was called off again as lumpy skin disease affected cattle. At Sadri in Pali district, however, festivity continues – a two-day Camel Cheese Festival was held on November 23 and 24, 2022. Visitors spent time with the camel herds and their Raika, drank camel-milk tea with the herders and then returned to lunch at the Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy, from where the Kumbhalgarh Fort is visible, to taste camel cheese. The Raika herders have been facing a tough time – camels are no longer used as much for transport or agriculture in Rajasthan. The animals have limited utility, but their milk is prized. Camel Charisma, the dairy at Kumbhalgarh, sends camel milk across the country to people who use it in therapy – for autistic children, improved blood sugar levels, or even to treat cancer. It is believed that the health benefits of the camel milk is because the animals

As polls approach, electorate 'failing to realise': Gujarat model is in a shambles

By DN Rath*  Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled to be held on 1 and 5 December 2022, is viewed by many as dress rehearsal for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. When the suffering people have been pointing towards redressal of some local issues like absence of cleanliness, sewage problem, shortage of water supply, troubles created by stray cattle, insufficiency of streetlights, etc., it is evident that they are not fully aware that assembly elections are being fought on ideological standpoints and policy decisions. Nor is there the realisation that the state is in a shambles and the much-trumpeted ‘Gujarat model’ of development has proved to be a hoax. Like other states, the people of Gujarat are also back-broken by steep rise in prices to the tune of 400% in last 20 years. It is not that the government cannot control the spurt in prices if it so wants. Apart from the fact that price rise is an inevitability in a capitalist economy, artificial shortage triggered by massive hoarding, b

Shedding Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan? New Modi-Shah love for Tamil Nadu 'ignores' Periyar

By Sandeep Pandey*   The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) or the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have long argued for ‘Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan’, which into recent years has translated into a crisper English expression: ‘One Nation-One Religion-One Language’. Given this backdrop, it is curious that the BJP government has organised the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency. Why did the BJP and RSS feel the need for such an event? All Narendra Modi events are highly publicised and have multiple political objectives. It is never an innocuous religious/cultural event as it may appear from the face of it. Afterall, RSS calls itself a cultural organisation, but has never ceased to surprise us with its political designs. Tamil Nadu has a long history of opposing imposition of Hindi by Union governments. Periyar EV Ramasamy had opposed the idea of compulsory teaching in Hindi as far back as in 1937. The 1960s witnessed violent protests against Hindi in which a number

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

BJP poll gimmick? Bilkis Bano rape case 'pardon' vs Rajiv assassins' release

By Sandeep Pandey*  Supreme Court has released six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This was bound to happen as earlier AG Perarivalan was released in the same case, setting a precedent. Even though four of them are Sri Lankans but a popular Tamil sentiment favoured the release of these convicts which is why Tamil political parties supported this and resolutions were passed by different governments in Tamil Nadu to his effect.  Rajiv Gandhi paid the price of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka where it got entangled with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and eventually the whole operation ended up is a fiasco.  However, most importantly Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi and probably Rahul too do not have any objections to the release of these convicts. In fact, Sonia Gandhi played an important role in getting the death sentence of the only lady among the convicts Nalini commuted to life term through the Tamil Nadu Governor. Priyanka visited Nalini in Vellore Jail and

GM mustard not swadeshi, it's a patent of MNC Bayer, GoI 'misleading' SC: Modi told

Counterview Desk  In a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 42 farmers’ organisations though their representatives , backed by senior scientists and experts, have said that the Government of India (GoI) should stop misleading the Supreme Court “with untrue and incorrect” statements on GM mustard. Insisting that India does not need unsafe GM mustard, in their representation, they urged the Supreme Court to order immediate uprooting of GM mustard crop in various locations. The representation comes even as a penal of experts, coming down heavily on the GoI for refusing to see how in less than a week’s time the pollen from GM mustard will “start contaminating” non-GM mustard fields with transgenes, including male sterility and herbicide tolerant traits. Alleging that the GoI is actively misleading the Supreme Court with untrue and incorrect statements on GM mustard, Kavitha Kuruganti of the Coalition for a GM-Free India said, “We can list at least five areas where Gov

Amit Shah accused of inciting communal passion: Demand to postpone Gujarat polls

Counterview Desk  In an email representation to the Election Commission of India (ECI), Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of India, has objected to the statement reported to have been made by Union home minister Amit Shah, who allegedly justified the 2002 Gujarat riots stating that certain sections of people “taught a lesson” to the rioters. Noting that the statement, if correct, “in effect implies those other than the law enforcement authorities had taken law into their hands”, Sarma says, “Shah's statement needs to be viewed by the ECI in conjunction with the reported fact that it was the Union Home Ministry that cleared the release of the eleven rape convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, directly related to the infamous Godhra incidents in 2002, which triggered the shameful sequence of events that shook the nation's conscience.” According to Sarma, if the statement is true, “I am constrained to draw the inevitable inference that it would have already impacted th

Never-ending saga of sin tax: What if murder is taxed at Rs 1 crore, rape at Rs 5 crore?

By Moses Raj GS, Sangeetha Thomas*  What should have ended by June 30, 2022 as a 5 year experiment has resurfaced. The government has extended the levy of GST compensation cess by another 4 years till March 31, 2026. This cess, dubbed as the sin tax imposed on sin(ful) goods, is double the highest slab on indirect taxes. But only a few pay for it and the majority benefit, unendingly. The year 2017 is a landmark year for indirect taxes. With the grand idea of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ as a fiscal slogan subsuming all State based taxes such as octroi /entry tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling, luxury tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, property tax, professional tax and central sales tax into a single framework of Goods and Services Tax (GST) changed the contours of revenue collection. Complicating it further, India, with each State having its own size and revenue problems, has the most complex and highly centralised indirect tax structure in the w