the friend online
02 November 2007

news extra
29 October 2007

Dear Rajagopalji, Ekta Parishad and Friends

On behalf of the South Asia Peace Alliance we send a message of gratitude and support to all the Janadesh marchers and to Ekta Parishad's 'social workers'.

You continue to be a living example that nonviolent protest is alive; that the spirit that sustained Mohandas K. Gandhi, and the people's actions that he gathered and led, remain a light for the world.

We urge the Government of India to follow in the ways that its founding father, Gandhiji, would have supported, remembering his talisman that the next step to be taken should help the poorest person we know to gain “swaraj” or “self rule”.

You are demonstrating that the most disregarded can bring their voice to the ears of the political and business elites in a way that appeals to their humanity. It challenges their commitment to build societies in which every woman, man and child is respected. This is a message that is important not only in India, but also in South Asia and the wider world. Without offering a measure of decent support to its citizens no country can be considered developed. In fact, such degrading conditions experienced by India's adivasis diminishes the humanity of us all.

We have been with you in body and spirit throughout the time of preparation for Janadesh. We recall the immense dedication of so many rural people whose nonviolent courage we have witnessed at first hand in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh.

We have followed Janadesh from Gwalior to Delhi through Emails, websites and newspaper articles. We have been saddened by the tragic loss of life at the roadside, and uplifted by your determination to keep going.

We remain in friendship and solidarity with you and trust that soon you will have the legal right to land, forest and water that you need and deserve.

We say to the Government of India: Here is your opportunity to set yourself on the world stage as a Government that asserts both human rights and does so in a spirit of practical compassion. There is no better place to respond than with the reasonable calls of the Janadesh marchers and the myriad communities they represent. Provide them with land, water and forest that will sustain their lives. At the same time you will help to dismantle the structures of violence that weigh heavily on their backs and souls.

The world is waiting and watching.

Stuart Morton
Co-Coordinator South Asia Peace Alliance


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