NBA Press Release
  11 March 2009
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

HOLI Observed with Jubilation by Thousands of Adivasis in the Narmada Valley.

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-222464
Email: badwani[at]narmada.org

SEZ EFFIGY BURNT - DEMAND FOR LAND BASED REHABILITATION INTENSIFIES

Thousands of adivasis, yet again assembled in the village Bilgaon, Dhadgaon Tehsil in the Sardar Sarovar Project affected area on the 10th March and observed Holi with jubilation and a spirit of challenge. A riot of colour, with songs and dance, the constant ringing of bells and jingles, playing of flutes and conches and beat of drums filled the atmosphere all through the night. On the one side the Andolan Holi was being observed in Bilgaon on the banks of the Narmada, joined by the Udhay and Titti tributaries and on other side of the Narmada in Madhya Pradesh; Kamlu Jiji, Kailash Awasya, Dipti Bhatnagar had joined the adivasis from Jalsindhi village in celebrating one of the cherished cultural festivals of adivasi lifestyle.

At least a thousand adivasis; men, women and children had gathered at the meeting of the Narmada Bachao Andolan before the celebrations began and asserted that their twin action of struggle against large dams and maldevelopment as also successful alternative experiments of real pro-people development such as the Jeevanshalas or the micro-hydel project in Bilgaon shall be pursued by them. They all gave out slogans such as 'SEZ Hatao, Desh Bachao' and 'SEZ Nako, Haq hava' as they burnt a huge effigy of the Special Economic (Exploitation) Zones Act.

Dr. Meher Engineer, activist from West Bengal and President of the Indian National Social Science Congress was one of the chief guests who sent out a message of solidarity from the struggling adivasis in the Lalgarh area in West Bengal and congratulated the adivasis of Narmada for their 23 years of non-violent brave struggle against the might and deceit of the state.

Shri Yuvraj Rajput, Tahsildar, Shahada was the special invitee who expressed his support for the rights of the adivasis.

Many of the adivasis who had participated were also given water mugs as a token of love and solidarity by the guests. Supporters from various cities including from Dhule; Madhav and Gopinath bhau, Shyam Patil, Neelima Tai, Pradeep and others from Chopda, Medha Patkar and many others sang and danced in merriment along with the adivasis expressing solidarity.

Early in the morning the huge bonfire was lit aglow and the entire ambience, with the people swayed in ecstasy. Slogans of 'Aamu akkha ek se' (We all are one) and 'Jal, Jangal, Zameen Kuneen se? Amri se Amsi se' (Whom to forests, rivers and lands belong to? To us! To us!), rent the air.

Yogini Khanolkar Chetan Salve Thuniaya Sukhlal Pawra