Friday, 7 December 2018

Aval Vikatan Award

Aval Vikatan Award.

Roopa and Eashwaramma collect for the village.

 PaalaGuttaPalleBags, JeevaniMilk

'Have wings, will fly', given that space to rise.
Replicable sustainable processes. For Livlihoods. For Nourishment.

#KrishnammalJagannathan, 92 years. The greatest among the awardees here.
Daughter, "Why were we called on the same stage as her ?", in genuine wonder.

Krishnammal Jagannathan 🙏
"I got my aoointment order as a teacher, and I wondered if this was what I would spend my life doing, was this all life was for ... i tore it up, took a train, and went to Vinoba Bhave ."
Between 1953 and 1967, the couple played an active role in the Bhoodhan movement spearheaded by Vinoba Bhave, through which about 4 million acres (16,000 km2) of land were distributed to thousands of landless poor across several Indian states]
After the burning of 42 Dalits including women and children in the Kilvenmani massacre in Nagapattinam district[ following a wage-dispute with the landlord[3] in 1968, the couple started to work in Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu to concentrate on land reform issues.

(Krishnammals award speech)

" The purpose of the organisation was to bring "the landlords and landless poor to the negotiating table, obtain loans to enable the landless to buy land at reasonable price and then to help them work it cooperatively, so that the loans could be repaid".
Although the initial response was lukewarm with banks unwilling to lend and the high rates of stamp duty, Jagannathan managed to go on with the cause. By 2007, through LAFTI, she had transferred 13,000 acres (53 km2) to about 13,000 families.
Through LAFTI, she also conducted workshops to allow people, during the nonagricultural season, to support themselves through entrepreneurial efforts like mat weaving, tailoring, plumbing, carpentry, masonry, computer education and electronics. LAFTI would gain such popularity that later even the Government of India would implement LAFTI's approach to increase the peaceful transfer of land."

EENAADU 5/12/2018

The was a call from Eenaadu paper, the largest circulated Telugu newspaper. Just now. 10pm.
Asking for the story of the women of PaalaGuttaPalle.
The women are remarkable. The story they have crafted is more remrkable. And the more I discuss, the more I realize. The lessons there are here.
No NGO, no state. A group of women. Landless, assetless. Below poverty line.
Getting together. Learning tailoring, purchasing their own machines.
Braving the infinite hurdles that working from a remote village entails. From the challenges and overheads of getting the cloth. bales. Of stitching and screen printing in realities of random power outages. Of the distance to be traversed for each posting. With the nearest bus stop 4 km away.
Learning screen printing. perfecting it. With Vigneshwaran Karthikeyan and Arun Kombai walking the mile with them.
With going to exhibitions in Goa. Tamil nadu. Supported by Lavanya LakshmananKhatija Rahman.
Many customers turning friends, supporters. I also doing what I can from the sides. As a neighbour, a friend.
A testimony to the strength, capability, resilience of villages. To adapt and carve a new life in a breaking and broken economy.
With just that little bit of external guidance.
Which the Government needs to answer to.
To promise livlihoods in evey village. Cloth bags or Food Processing.
And stop industrial production, of all that villages can produce.
They have it in them. The villages. To deliver quality with responsibility.
Do we ? Those who craft policies. To enable it for them.

Roopa, "Madam, is it OK if we delay the next order a bit."
(Loud happy giggles from the back.)
"Why Roopa".
"We all want to go to the konda. To Tirumala. To offer our thanks to the God. Our business has been going on so well.
And today we have been covered in our Eenaadu paper. All our relatives are calling us up !."
Anitha, "We will stitch a small bag, and all of us will put money in it. And put it in the hundi !"
Lakshmikantha, "We can put our PaalaGuttaPalleBags logo !"
(Happy laughs from the background.)
Anitha, "We have kept wanting to there as a group. We wanted to plan with you, but its not happenning. So we thought we will just go now."
"Yes, get me Tirupathi ladoos !!", I said.
And then again I realize the cultural differance.
In the real India, God is remembered after every meaningful event. A simple genuine thanksgiving after every happiness. A simple real relationship between the gods and the people. A friendly relationship.

"Roopa, Kavitha akka told you to get her also Thirumala ladoos."

Kavitha is our friend, customer, co traveller. She got the team loverly sarees recently, and so its all a family.
"Of course we will madam. But how to send to her in UK ?"
"Lets see. But she said in tamash (jest) anyway'
Roopa, "Tamashni nijam cheyyali madam. Ede kada !" ("All that begins as jest has to be made real. Thats the point !").
With a happy laugh.
They make my day. With simple sturdy cheerful wisdom.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Sabarimalai - Krishna Kumar

An Englishman's dilemma
( )

40℅ of the present day British feel they had brought Language, Education and Scientific reason to human aboriginal population like Indians, and actually helped them develop through colonization.

Little do(did) the (erstwhile) rulers realise- that education is never about compliance. It is always about dissent. That is how they were shunted out of all their colonies.

Krishna kumar, in his essay in the Hindu yesterday, feels sad that Kerala did not lead rest of the Nation by example, despite its track record in universal education. His sadness, surprisingly, stems from the tension that Sabarimala verdict has caused in the State. He is pained and hurt that educated people of Kerala took such strong objection to a progressive decision by the Court.

I find this reading strange, for I can see that Kerala dissented an undemocratic decision by the State in this manner, so patiently, unlike a UP, precisely because it is educated.

And true Education never pleads yesmanship, especially to an entity called the State. Education is always about raising questions.
Peter Coan Just a quick note that if 40% of Brits think like that, then that means 60% do not think like that at all.

And another note that if education leads to the idea that a celibate God will be distracted from his meditations by the scent of menstruating women in his temples, then such education must surely deserve some critical questioning.
Narayana Sarma Ghadiyaram Venkata Peter Coan Now that we are at it Sir- 
1. There are temples all over India where a)only women are allowed, b) only men are allowed, c) only transgenders are allowed.
There are secret religious practices In India where only women know what happens.

Question is NOT of celibate or lusty Gods. Not of Gods at all. Question is how much somebody's choice of worship is 'permitted' or restrained in a secular democratic setup.
Question is whether an agency of secular State, that clearly does not have the wherewithal to delve into matters of faith, intrude into the nuances of essentially peaceful religious practices, and dictate terms, while outwardly professing celebration of multiplicity.
Question is whether education means being docile and accepting whatever the State decides unilaterally, or to question it courageously.
Narayana Sarma Ghadiyaram Venkata 2. India has a history of 'Non State initiated' social reform, the State only giving it final seal of approval. 
Reform in India, (I am sure elsewhere too) requires serious dialogue, exchange of ideas in public domain, and wider acceptance by the socie
ty before being made into a Law. The current decision by Supreme Court has not followed this principle, thus making it's decision sound rather top down and also disrespectful of democratic processes.
Narayana Sarma Ghadiyaram Venkata 3. In a democracy like India, the State can be hijacked by various interests all the time. Political interests always try to outsmart other constitutional structures. By playing into the hands of such communal entities (in terms of the timing of the judgement, for example) SC has not done much good to the secular fabric of India. 
Education helps one see into all these, and make informed choices. It is not correct to brand people uneducated, simply because they chose something that does not suit our taste.
Peter Coan Narayana Sarma your points are quite valid.

I agree that it is reasonable to allow any group of people to exclude others from a private club, or cult.

But if we start to exclude certain groups from public places, then it is problematic.

In pubs in London a few decades ago, there were signs: "No dogs. No Irish."

The idea that women are "unclean" is similarly offensive.

Really, the question is whether a temple is a public space or a private space.

Does it belong to God, that is, to all of us, or to a certain religious organization, which then is free to exclude whoever it wishes?

It seems to me - as to the Supreme Court - that temples are public spaces, and anyone should be free to go there and respectfully worship the Divine.

To claim that women of menstruating age are "unclean" is really a claim lacking merit. Like animal sacrifices and human sacrifices, such ideas belong to the past of human cultures, not to the future.
Narayana Sarma Ghadiyaram Venkata Peter Coan Sir,
1. Pubs and hotels are indeed public spaces., quite clearly. And in deciding that temples (or churches or mosques) are actually on par with pubs and hotels or marriage halls, the SC had better paused a bit. (It actually did, if you not
ice the 1:4 split).
May be they had better created some space in between? ..
For an atheistic State, pubs and religious spaces could have meant exactly the same. But if the same thing happens with a Democratic Secular State., one better revisit the basics.
2. The idea of unclean woman is indeed abhorrent as you say. However reading it into the current context is a) becoming a part of the politics, that too a politics bent on provoking public' ire against the Constitutional values, and 
b) not correct at all, seeing that the same religion has created correspondingly exclusive spaces for other genders, elsewhere. I am not an Ayyappa devotee, neither am I keen on visiting that shrine, but I believe a metaphysical logic can't be subjected to the rational whims of a coercive State machinery, just like that. (Is it not like evaluating a red indian belief of a living forest by a rational scientific State?) There has to be a notice, an inclusion, an appeal to the sensibilities, a discussion, hearing, evaluation by committees comprising experts with relevant expertise and charm- all that goes with an inclusive democratic process of social change.
Peter Coan Narayana Sarma yes, you make some good points.

Real change comes from education, uplifting the consciousness of the society.

Forcing people to do the right thing is a crude approach, often counterproductive - as perhaps it has been in this case.

The mobs out attacking women for the "crime" of wanting to pray in a temple are hardly a harbinger of progress.

Nevertheless, the principle of equal access for all to public spaces is worth defending.

I was quite surprised to find some temples in India wouldn't let me in, simply because I have white skin.

Well, this taught me something about temple organisers, but not much about God. 😂
Harathi Vageeshan Peter coan sir, firstly the question of barring women in mensuration age from visiting the Ayyappa temple at Sabado mala would have been negotiated differently. The carpet ban on women of such age group is imposed probably with some Tantrik intet related to that specific temple. Changes are possible but what must be the process is the question. Added to this this specific temple did not stop ALL women which may attract to an extent Art17 of Constitution of India.But in this case using such logic is farfetched.The court would have used some more nuanced sence in this question.
Harathi Vageeshan Peter Coan sir the question of discrimination in the realm of religious practices has to be dealt with caution. There are certain religious practices which are secretive likeAghora pantha. Uninitiated will not be allowed.How should one understand this? So the objection to what SC did in this case stems from the way how it approached this question which belongs to a polytheistic order.The timing and the politics surrounded it also deplorable.
Peter Coan Harathi Vageeshan your points are quite correct.

Really, the underlying issue is the glaring misogyny and caste prejudice at the heart of many - not all - Hindu traditional practices and organizations, which has not been addressed or challenged in any significant way for centuries.

Such challenges will continue to arise with increasing forcefulness, irrespective of what the outcome is at this particular temple.
Harathi Vageeshan Peter Coanchallenge to mysogyni and caste based prejudice which I would like to call as birth based stratification and discrimination is a wellcom. The only point to ponder are the realms in which and approaches which have to be taken.