NBA Press Release
August 7, 2000
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"Fight For Peace, In A Peaceful way"
CHILDREN IN NARMADA VALLEY CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY WITH SKIT,
SONG AND RESOLVE FOR A BETTER, PEACEFUL LIFE
Over 500 boys and girls, were a part of the celebrations of
the International Peace Day in the Narmada Valley on Sunday (6th August),
as they sang the song to protect the Mother Earth from destruction - either
by bombs or dams. As a mark of their life with peace and harmony,
the first ever book of songs in their own Adivasi language, Pavri was also
released on this occasion. Along with the children, about two hundred
village representatives and the supporters were present at these celebrations.
On Sunday, August 6, the Satyagraha site of Domkhedi was rustling with the
bright faces and vibrant shouts of the Adivasi children and their parents.
Most of the students belong to the 'Jeevan-shaalas' (School of Life) run
by the Narmada Bachao Andolan in the villages for last nine years. They
came from the villages in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh like
Nimgavhan, Bharad, Savariya, Jalsindhi, Turkheda etc., affected by the
controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP). The programme coincided with
the ongoing Satyagraha against the impending submergence and displacement
due to the dam.
Along with the school-children came the teachers of these Jeevan Shalas.
Keval Singh Vasave, one of the veteran activists in the Narmada movement
and a teacher in the Nimgavhan Jeevan shala chaired the function. He explained
the propriety of the Peace Day celebrations in the village, confronting the
submergence due to the dam. Keval Singh Vasave,
made it clear that the dam has been threatening the adivasi
society, their harmonious and relatively peaceful way of life. He described
in details how enriched their life has been in contrast with the people
languishing in the small apartments, slums and footpaths of the cities. He
made it clear that, "We grow all type of crops and vegetables, some
oilseeds needed for their good life and nutrition and never need hybrid
seeds or pesticide and fertilisers. The cattle and poultry supplements our
food, the pure air, river water and open vista to live on the plateau and
valleys, which must be envy for the townspeople who live a miserable life
in the small, dingy houses and surroundings". For him, this life of Peace
and Harmony has to be safeguarded and nurtured, developed. Vesta Pawra,
another experienced activist from village Sikka compared the dam with the
bomb, waiting to be exploded on the lives of Adivasis. 'Like bombs, the dam
is for the destruction', he said.
Among the supporters from outside the valley
were Dr. Leo Rebello of Amrit Manthan,
Dr.Nicky Sushiela Cardozo from Coastal People's Movement, Mr. Hemant Ugale,
all from Bombay, Ravi, Aravinda from AID India, Dr. Naresh Dadhich, a
scientist from Pune and Mr. Anilkumar and others from Kerala, who are
working on Micro Hydel Power generation and presently installing one at
Domkhedi, representatives from Samvada, Bangalore.
The peace day programme started with the song and a skit by the children on
the dangers of the bombs, other arsenal and how it brings wound to the
Mother Earth. While speaking Dr.Leo Rebello, who had been at Hiroshima last
year, said that, "even after 55 years of the blast at Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, people are still suffering from various ill effect of it reaction".
On this occasion, the first ever book in Pavari language was released by
Dr.Naresh Dadhich and Sadhana Dadichh. The book published by NBA comprises
of village stories written by the Gurujis (teachers) of Jeevanshalas.
While concluding the celebrations Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan
said that, "the struggle in the Narmada Valley is not only the struggle
against unjust and destructive developmental projects but a fight of Peace
and happy, enriched life for all, in a peaceful manner".
There was an exhibition of photos showing the destruction caused by the
atom-bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a resolve/oath to fight for
peace in a peaceful manner.