340 km for land, and a stab at history
At Janadesh 2007, they are all here for a purpose. The farmers have come to demand their land rights. The activists are here to fight for a social cause and scholars have come to gather material for their research.
A number of researchers, from across the world have walked almost 340 kilometres from the rural countryside to the Capital, with 27,000 labourers, for about a month to get first hand information for their research. And in the process, they are hoping to make history.
For Faisal Chaudhry and Adnan Naseemuloah of the US, the Janadesh Rally holds tremendous significance. The two are here to conduct research for their PhDs in Indian history. Ever since the two left America three months ago, they have been travelling around India, hoping to collect material for their research.
“The Janadesh Rally has given us a lot of scope for our research. It has provided us with interesting insights into rural India and the problems being faced by farmers in the country,” said Chaudhry.
“ I am waiting for the twist that is surely going to take place, and change the way things stand. The government will have
to do something to alleviate rural distress because I don’t think the protesters will budge until the government agrees to meet some of their demands,” Naseemuloah said.
Besides collecting research material, the two also feel strongly about the cause.
“We believe that the affected have sought to bring about a change in their situation, which is a huge step forward in itself. We believe today’s India has shown a lot of courage by standing up for the right thing,” said Chaudhry.
Clotilde, who is from France, is presently studying Hindi and International Studies in London. She has been travelling with farmers from a village near Agra since the last two weeks.
Earlier, she had been a supporter of Solidarite, which works for indigenous issues in South America and the position of women in Africa. Her father was a follower of the Bhoodan movement in Bihar.
“The farmers sitting here at this ground today, doing nothing, is not a passive action — it is non-violence in all its glory and is as active as it gets,” she said.