Report

Jeevan Yatra Notes – II

This note appeared in AID News on September 5, 2001.

Jeevan Yatra Notes [Part II]

{Contined from Part I published on 28th August 2001}

Giridhar Pavra, the guruji of Nimgavhan jeevanshala set forth the
comprehensive issues of the Andolan over the past 16 years and the process
of starting the tribal schools a decade ago. He recounted the struggles the
students and teachers faced together to run the schools He also emphasised
that there is certainly no land for rehabilitation and that the schools
will certainly be submerged and the education of the children will suffer
acutely as a result.

Shobha Wagh, full time NBA activist, dsicussed the recently released Daud
committee report, the false affidavits given in court and the recent
incident of the Nandurbar Collector coming to the satyagraha site in
Domkhedi and promising to do a fresh survey of the families affected by the
SSP.

Jaymal (5th class) of Jalsindhi described his experience in the jeevanshala
in Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh, explaining that his was the first
generation of learners.

Kalsingh (6th class) of village Kheda affected by the Mann project,
recounted incidents of the government forcibly removing the village
facilites including the handpump and all educational materials from the
school building, even while the people were still living in the villages.

Karuna, a student of Delhi University and activist of NBA explained the the
falsse affidavits and false premises on which the permission for
construction of dam has been given so far as well. She also discussed the
failure of the government to complete the process of issuing land rights to
73 tribal villages of Maharastrha.

Chunilal from Dhankedi and Baili from Timismal also shared their
experiences.

Children also disussed that they had visted schools in villages, towns and
slums throughout their yatra en route to Delhi and seen the injustice being
done to tothers as well, including in Delhi itself. They stressed the athe
issues they awere raising were the issues of the children of the entire
country, of the future.

The children emphasised that they would not allow their school to be
submerged. They also requested that the president convey his reply to them
as early as possible. Mr. Sharif promised them that he would bring them a
reply before they left Delhi and the children in turn promised that they
had no intention of leaving without a message from the president.

The Delegation of children returned to Parliament Street where the full
contingent of children had formed a human chain extending along the length
of Parliament street. Shouting slogans and distributing pamphlets to the
passerbys on the busy street the children conveyed the message of the
Satyagraha to the common people of Delhi. They followed this with a street
play and several inspiring songs reflecting the sisues of the movement.

The children have been invited by a large number of school and colleges in
Delhi and will fufill some of these in the coming days while anticipating a
hopeful reply from the president. UPDATE as of 24th August: The children
have received a message from the Office of the President conveying Shri
K.R. Narayananji’s personal thanks to the children for coming to meet him,
his regret that he was not able to meet htem personally, appreciation of
their card and gifts, and also a message of hope that he would certainly
discuss the issues they brought to him in the relevant departments and
promised the children that he would see to it that their yatra was not in
vain. The children felt very pleased, saying “Badi khushi ki bat hai,
rashtrapatiji hamare sath hai.”

The children will return to their villages via Rajasthan and Gujarat,
stopping in many schools en route.

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