Vidarbha farmers widows to protest during Barack Obama visit to Mumbai-Six vidarbha farmers suicide on the eve o f “Diwali” 4 Attachments

Vidarbha farmers widows to protest during Barack Obama visit to Mumbai-Six vidarbha farmers suicide on the eve of “Diwali”

4TH NOV.2010

Vidarbha farmers widows to protest during Barack Obama visit to Mumbai-Six vidarbha farmers suicide on the eve of “Diwali”

US President Barack Obama’s attention, on his visit to Maharashtra from remote place of vidarbha by the candle light protest of starving farm widows drawing towards the fact related to the most serious issue of Agrarian crisis resulting more than 2,16,000 cotton farmers suicides in Indian since USA started giving huge subsidy to American cotton and American Bt.cotton seed popularly known as ‘killer seed company’ which has ruined complete rural economy of cotton growing vidarbha region and turned it to the dying field after the commercial permission in year 2006 claiming more than 10000 cotton farmers suicides mostly the cotton farmer swho opted American Bt. Cotton seed.

“Our aim to inform US President Barack Obama that this vidarbha cotton farmers mass genocide is the result of American policies to protest their cotton farmers and wild claim of bumper success claimed of GMO MNCs Monsanto that Bt. Cotton has brought genetic revolution in agriculture is hoax when 80% of 3 million cotton farmers families are in deep distress and debt and one farmers is committing suicide @ 8 hours then one can understand ground reality. our protest is to bring the truth before the world so that somebody will come forward to stop this on going cotton farmers suicide spiral” Kishor Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) which has been documenting farmers’ suicide in Vidarbha informed in press release today .

When the country is celebrating ‘Diwali’ the main festival of Indian Hindu community dying field of vidarbha has reported another six farmers suicides taking toll to 645 in year 2010 ,the recent victims of vidarbha agrarian crisis are

Five more vidarbha farmers in 48 hours that include the farm widow

1. Harishchandra Pawar of Village Ramnagar(Yawali) in Yavatmal

2.Vithal Zade of Viallge Wadhona in Yavatmal

3.Sheikh mushtak of Matharjun In Yavatmal

4.Chandrakar Chaturkar of Pathri in Wardha

5.Satish Banker of Nandora in Wardha

6 Nagesh Bhage of Bellora in Chandrapur

According to Kishor Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) which has been documenting farmers’ suicide in Vidarbha, attributed the extreme step taken by the farmers to the heavy crop loss and ‘failure’ of Bt cotton in over six million acres. vidarbha suicide spiral is slow spreading towards paddy growing region of vidarbha from cotton growing west vidarbha as now more suicide s are paying reported from east vidarbha too .Tiwari added.

The cause for the farmers’ despondency is the crisis arising out of the delay in cotton procurement and forceful loan recoveries by banks and private micro finance agencies operated illegally as Govt. owned banks failed to provide fresh credit to dying distressed farmers even after intervention of administration, Tiwari alleged.

‘The news of a bumper cotton crop and skyrocketing prices was far different from the ground reality as the Central government was under pressure from textile lobby to bring down the raw cotton prices whereas the high international rates and hence was not opening cotton procurement centers in Vidarbha is adding fuel in the hardshipd of farming community of vidarbha as on an average, a cotton farmer spends about Rs 30,000 per acre and may get a maximum yield of about four quintal that doesn’t even puts him in a position to break even and hence the farmers are under perennial economic strain’ Tiwari said

“Cotton farmers are demanding that C.C.I (Cotton Croprn. of India) should start procurement at the rate of Rs.5000/- per quintal Open market prices are already ruling over Rs 5000 a quintal. While there are clear indications that prices may firm up in international market mainly because crops in China and Pakistan have been ruined by floods, the Indian farmer could take advantage of the situation and export to the countries like China, Bangladesh, where there is high demand for short staple cotton that we produce” said Kishore Tiwari of the VJAS

What drives the Dalits to Christianity?


What drives the Dalits to Christianity?


Discerning Pathways: Edited by Sathianathan Clarke, Deenbandhu
Manchala, Philip Vinod Peacock; Oxford University Press, YMCA Library
Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi-110001. Rs. 745.

Although Christian missionaries of various denominations have been
active in India for several centuries, the 1941 Census placed the
number of Christians in colonial India at just 1.6 per cent of the
population. This clearly indicates that the main objective of the
British rulers was colonial domination and economic exploitation, not
religious conversion.

According to the 2001 Census, Christians constituted 2.3 per cent of
India’s population. This rise of 0.7 percentage point in their numbers
over six decades has been a matter of debate. Starting with the Niyogi
Commission (1956) down to a Supreme Court’s 1977 ruling, conversion
has been a highly contentious issue, sometimes inviting frowns from
officialdom and the judiciary. Hence the interest in the question
whether the Dalit converts to Christianity have indeed been seduced by
proselytising missionaries to “change Gods.”

Urban artisans and people in the lower middle class have generally
turned against their established faiths throughout history.
Urbanisation gave these people a “greater access to religious
preachers, to literacy, to education and books, to a great variety of
personal relations, and to greater riches of urban culture,” says
David Lorenzen in his introduction to Bhakti Religion in North India:
Community Identity and Political Action (1995). A distinct feature of
the Dalits who embraced Christianity is that a vast majority of them
are from the poorest sections in villages, not urbanites.

According to John Webster ( Religion and Dalit Liberation:1999),
changing the religion is one of the ‘strategies’ the Dalit communities
adopted in their struggle to secure social justice and equality. The
other four were: acquiring political power; securing as much
independence as possible from the dominant castes; initiating
reformist measures to reduce prejudices among themselves; and
deploying cultural modes of communication, like literature and
theatre, for conscientisation. Dalit theology has grown out of this
practice of changing religion. We have Christological reflections in
M.E. Prabhakar-edited Toward a Dalit Theology (1989), and
methodological formulations in Arvind Nirmal’s Reader in Dalit
Theology (1992), and biblical reinterpretations in V. Devashyam’s
Frontiers of Dalit Theology (1997).

This book presents, in three parts, 16 well-researched essays on
different themes by theologians and teachers and is a mine of profound
concepts and serious ideas on ecumenical social thought, myths of
Dalit origins, and so on. Does the ‘Dalit Theology’ have anything to
do with ‘Liberation Theology’? Sadly, the points of
convergence/divergence between the Dalit Theology and the South
American Liberation Theology are not discussed in this book. One of
the reasons could be that Sathianathan Clarke, an editor of this
volume, has already authored a tome on the subject titled Dalits and
Christianity: Subaltern Religion and Liberation Theology in India
(1998). Yet, the omission is a real shortcoming.

From Punjab to Tamil Nadu, there have been a lot of conversions for
well over a century. What leads the Dalits to Christianity? Does
anything change for the better after conversion? It emerges that,
despite conversion, the Dalit Christians continue to be denied “land,
water and dignity.” And the women among them have to bear the double
cross of ‘lowest caste’ and ‘womanhood.’ Sujatha, a woman tricked into
unwed motherhood, is told: “The palm leaf is torn, whether it falls on
a thorn or a thorn falls on it.”

The relevance of the book stands enhanced in the context of the spate
of violent attacks by the Hindutva forces as a backlash to religious
conversions in recent years. The worst of these were witnessed in 2007
and 2008 in Kandhamal (Orissa), the target being the meek Dalit
Christians from the Pana caste. Dalit conversions are not a calamity
but they throw up situations of “slippery identities and shrewd
identifications,” say Clarke and Peacock epigrammatically.

Mayawati launches scheme to woo upper caste poor

Why this cross is red

Why this cross is red
November 01, 2010 6:37:15 PM

Margins of faith
Author: Rowena Robinson
Publisher: Sage
Price: 695

The book seems a propaganda literature for the church, says BB Kumar

The book, Margins of Faith: Dalit and Tribal Christianity, has a
strange title; stranger still is the content of the book.

First, Christianity with Euro-American backing, a multi-billion dollar
soul-saving industry, and with its churches owning/controlling more
than 1,300 universities and 1,500 other institutions teaching theology
and church history, running about 1,500 radio/TV centres, 930 research
centres and publishing 3,000 journals in addition to another 20,000
magazines/newspapers can never be marginalised.

Second, the term ‘Dalit’ and ‘Tribe’ Christianity became necessary due
to the church’s failure to bring promised change in the status of
Dalits and tribes even after conversion. After all, conversion was
often perceived as one of the ways of escaping ‘caste oppression’.

The book, in general, talks of “double marginalisation of tribal
church”, which includes intra-church marginalisation and that by Hindu
tribes. SM Michael’s paper, ‘Dalit Encounter with Christianity: Change
and Continuity’, in particular, talks of five-fold discrimination
against Dalit Christians — by the state, caste Hindus, fellow Hindu
Dalits, upper Caste Christian community and Dalit Christian subgroups.

In reality, however, only Hindu tribes were subjected to
marginalisation, as the church and the British empire helped Christian
converts enormously. Senior British functionaries regarded the
converts as collaborators and helped them. Thus the problem is a
psychological one, emanating primarily from the numerical inferiority
of the converts.

The European soldiers and Christian priests, working in unison, were
enormously successful in colonising the world and proselytising
Africa, Americas, parts of Asia. But Hinduism resisted conversion,
which baffled early missionaries. Abbe JA Dubois, an 18th century
French missionary, could only convert about 200 to 300 people during
his 31 years of missionary work. Incidentally, two-thirds of the
converts were “pariahs, or beggars”! He wrote about them: “I will
declare it, with shame and confusion, that I do not remember anyone
who may be said to have embraced Christianity from conviction.” No
wonder many converts, not getting expected temporal advantages,
relapsed into Paganism.

He saw no future for Christianity in India unless “intellectual
Hinduism” was countered by taking steps to diminish the influence of
Brahmins among Hindus.

For church, as the Niyogi Committee Report reveals, end justifies the
means. Purity of means is meaningless for them. Adoption of
“liberation theology” — a philosophy of direct political action — has
given new dimension to the activities of many missions. Dubious
organisations, calling themselves civil rights groups, are floated.
They act through local political forces and ideologies of divisive
significance, hoping to succeed in an India of subverted nationalism.

An official Catholic publication, India and its Missions, issued by
its American Capuchin Mission Monks (1923) discussed the “Spiritual
Advantages of Famine and Cholera”. It quoted the report of the
archdiocese of Pondicherry sent to its superiors in Europe: “The
famine has brought miracles. The catechumenates are filling, baptismal
water flows in streams, and starving little tots fly in masses in

The book uses notorious terms like Brahminism (for Hinduism) and
neo-Hindus (for tribals). It does not examine why a convert becomes
Hindu-hater? The authors of this book have no use for serious studies,
as was done by Dharampal, proving in no dubious term that exploitation
by the British empire was the root cause of poverty and illiteracy in
India. These weaknesses make the book a propaganda literature, rather
than a serious study of the subject.

–The reviewer is editor, Dialogue

CITIZENS’ MEET IN SOLIDARITY TO IROM SHARMILA on 6th Nov at Lohia Academy, Bhubaneswar




Date: 6th November, 2010 (4 PM)

Venue: Lohia Academy, Bhubaneswar

Dear Friend,

Ms. Irom Chanu Sharmila’s unwavering courage for standing as a voice for thousands of voiceless people demanding to repeal the Armed Forced Special Powers Act of 1958 (AFSPA). Her 10-year fasting symbolizes the journey of the people of Manipur and other areas of Northeast India for genuine peace and freedom from violence.

Ms. Irom Sharmila started her fasting against the Malom massacre in 2 November 2000 which had claimed 10 civilian lives, including women and children by the Indian security forces. Ms. Irom Sharmila took a strong stand that she will only end her fast when the Government of India repeals the AFSPA. The Government of India only responded to this act of peaceful protest by arresting her several times on charges of attempted suicide under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. The series of arrests of Ms. Irom Sharmila has continued for the past 10 years.

Despite the international community’s recognition of Ms. Irom Sharmila’s work, the Indian government insists on keeping her under judicial custody in the Security Ward of the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Imphal, Manipur, and forcibly feeding her through intubations which is against Tokyo Declaration of World Medical Association (1975 October) as “Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the doctor as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgement concerning the consequences of such voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially” .

AFSPA was initially introduced in 1958 and was enforced in Manipur in 1980, initially intended to be in effect for only 6 months in order to maintain public order in areas deemed to be “disturbed” by the Indian government. However, the AFSPA is still being implemented in Manipur. The Act allows discretionary power to the personnel of Indian armed forces to arrest without a warrant, and with the use of necessary force, anyone who has committed certain offences or is suspected of having done so.

Human rights defenders in India and all over the world demanding for repealing the Draconian act. In 2009, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay, during her visit to India in March remarked that the Act breached "contemporary international human rights standards."

The subjugation of Ms. Irom Sharmila’s peaceful protest against the AFSPA violates Article 1 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which guarantees the right of human rights defenders and women human rights defenders to promote and protect the realisation of human rights. Restriction imposed on Ms. Sharmila and depriving her to access with media, human rights defenders and other people is in violation of Art. 5 of the said declaration and the right to access and disseminate human rights information and to draw public attention to human rights issues is again a violation of Art. 6.

On 2 November 2010, Irom Sharmila marks a decade of the hunger for fundamental human rights and championing democratic rights for her fellow citizenry of north east India. In this juncture we all must reinsure solidarity to Irom Sharmila and her fight against Armed Forces Special Power Act.

In support of the valiant struggle by Ms. Irom Chanu Sharmila, who is continuing her hunger strike since last 10 years demanding for the repeal of the Armed Forced Special Powers Act of 1958 (AFSPA). We are going to hold a Meeting in support of her cause at Lohia Academy at 4 PM on 6th November, 2010. We do invite your participation in the Meeting.


Pramila Swain and Dhirendra Panda on behalf of NAWO, INSAF, Human Rights Defenders Alert – India and several other organizations and individuals.

For further contact: – 9437385757

« Older entries Newer entries »