BENGALURU: Highlighting the potential misuse of the local people’s movement as a representation of soft Hindutva, Narmada Bachao activist Medha Patkar warned of misinterpretation of ‘sacred’ — “Today’s fundamentalism can misinterpret the term ‘sacred’,” she said.
She urged industrial workers and those from various organisations to remember the meaning of sacred in the concept of Sacred Economy — as an economy which is sustainable, just and equitable.
Patkar was addressing a convention of workers, artisans and those from the unorganised sector at the ‘Satyagraha for Sacred Economy’ in Bengaluru on Sunday. “All those who have their hands in the soil, including small farmers, and all those who are working to produce basic needs are marginalised today. Hence, this reconstructive struggle is a must,” she said.
To understand and give voice to the people and their problems, advocates of the Sacred Economy will visit various places in Karnataka over the coming weeks and hold People’s Courts where these discussions will take place.
Prasanna Heggodu, champion of the Sacred Economy concept, theatre artiste and activist, said the courts will be a platform for people to voice their grievances.
Patkar blamed the rampant unemployment and recession in the economy on industries working for profit, and which are given concessions of all kinds by the government. Hence, the need for the “alternative paradigm” which is social as well as political in nature, Patkar said.
The people’s movement is championed by Grama Seva Sangha, a non-political organisation that has been promoting handmade goods and their makers. Recently, the movement got a shot in the arm when various people’s movements across the country began to join hands with it, in what they foresee as a larger people’s movement.
A court for weavers and landless labourers will be held in North Karnataka. Industrial workers will be heard out in Bengaluru, especially in Jigani and Peenya. A court in Mangaluru will address environmental issues and those affected by the Special Economic Zone. Peasants will be given a platform to voice their grievances in Chamarajanagar. These courts will be convened till January 30, said Prasanna.
He explained that the Sacred Economy is a means to address not just economic but also social issues of caste and gender inequalities.