Austin, 24 May 2015: Volunteers gathered at the 17th annual conference of the Association for India’s Development took a moment to salute the resistance and resilience of the people in the Narmada Valley over three decades of struggle. The Intercultural Resource center has published a calendar spanning April 2015-March 2016 titled Narmada: 30 Years of Resilience. Conference keynote speakers Bharat Patel and Ajay Kumar released the calendars and spoke about the groundbreaking work of the Andolan in defending people’s rights against forced displacement and destructive development policies.
National Book Trust, Children’s Book Trust, Tulika Books, Amar Chithra Katha and a number of other publishers offer a decent variety of books for children. Picture books, early chapter books, stories from mythology, contemporary culture, historical fiction and more wonderful books are available for early and elementary readers. However as children demand books of more advanced reading level, the selection dries up considerably. Those fluent in English turn to books published abroad which are imaginative, entertaining and also huge in number. This is fine as far as it goes, but what about books set in Indian landscapes, with Indian characters? Have we no room for adventure? Continue reading
As the year of the bicycle draws to a close, thousands of AID volunteers, well-wishers, family and friends-of-friends of AID around the world are preparing to take down the calendar that brought outstanding photographs of bicycles in use in diverse aspects of sustainable development including health, environment, employment, education, civic engagement and girl power. The hard work, heartfelt aspirations, and simple joy shine through all the months of the year.
- Watch the video
- Reach out to to your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family to let them know about the work AID is doing in collaboration with grassroots organizations.
- Ask them to keep the AID 2014 calendar on the wall of their homes and offices, to remember AID all year long.
- Send a calendar as a new year gift to near and dear.
- Raise funds for AID!
2012 Safar: Along Roads Less Travelled | video
2011 Jivika: Living in the Margins
2010 Makan: A Place Called Home | video
2009 Roti: Sharing Food, Sharing Values | video
2008 Kapda: Clothing the Nation
2007 Nurturing Nature
2006 Pattachitra on Rural Living
2005 Looking Forward: A Journey through North East India
2004 Wisdom of Grassroots
2003 Women and Work (Photos of P. Sainath)
2002 Inspiring Changes
2000 Rethinking India (Photos from Narmada Valley)
While we have all ears and eyes for reports form the ground regarding immediate relief and rehabilitation work, we should also pay attention to the very good articles and reports that are coming based on information already in our hands such as performance audits on existing programs and institutions.
With public attention turned towards Uttarakhand people are seeing real live impact of poor planning, poor implementation and climate change. As if ready for this moment to reach the public, Down to Earth Magazine has published a wealth of material on geographic and environmental aspects of the flood. Scroll down to see the links I have copied directly from their home page.
As part of Association for India’s Development, we must study these reports. We have a significant role to play in increasing public awareness of these issues. Although the tendency is to jump on eyewitness reports, we should not, to quote an excellent article by Himanshu Upadhyay, ignore the writing on the wall. I was moved by his commitment to understand the role of institutions and implementation in the present disaster:
“Yet, once again, while not rushing to ground zero to file a disaster-related human interest story, I have decided to browse through a source that friends often accuse me of being addicted to: Performance Audits by CAG of India on the working of institutions and implementation of Acts.
– Uttarakhand: Ignoring the writing on the wall
Kedarnath – the cause of the debris flow disaster is now clear
Uttarakhand Landslides June, 2013
What the terrain around Kedarnath looks like, Indian Space Research Organisation
Kumar Sambhav S,
CAG had warned state about lack of disaster preparedness (Down to Earth) Uttarakhand government took no step to address shortcomings in three years.
Himanshu Upadhyay, Uttarakhand: Ignoring the writing on the wall
Watershed Moment, Uttarakhand government ignored advice from CAG. Himanshu Upadhyaya, Times Crest, June 29, 2013
CAG had warned last year about Uttarakhand Crisis in Making Himanshu Upadhyaya, Governance Now, June 27, 2013
South Asia Network of Dams, Rivers and People
Lessons from Uttarakhand disaster for Selection of River Valley Projects Expert Committee (Sandrp)
Uttarakhand Floods disaster: Lessons for Himalayan states (Sandrp)
Even as the Uttarakhand state faced the worst floods in its history, CWC, which has been given the task of forecasting floods across flood prone areas all over India, completely failed in making any forecasts that could have helped the people and administration in Uttarakhand.
Jyotsna Singh, Man-made reasons for Uttarakhand disaster (Down to Earth)
Sunita Narain, Himalayan blunders, Down to Earth
” … stop blaming the people living in the Himalayas for the floods in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Instead, focus on building a management system to live with floods; to harvest the excess water in ponds, tanks and groundwater recharge systems.”
Ammu Joseph, An unequal disaster in the land of Chipko (India Together)
There is now growing international recognition of the fact that women and girls face an increased risk of violence in the chaos and loss of social cohesion that routinely follow disasters in many parts of the world. However, violence and exploitation are not the only hazards women face in the wake of disasters. Even the death toll is sometimes influenced by gender.
Excerpts from Floods, Flood Plains and Environmental Myths, Center for Science and Environment
L.S. Aravinda, Beware of Disaster Profiteering (India Together)
Throughout India farmers and social organizations are fighting an uphill battle to sustain local grains. Yet these are neither included in the public distribution system (PDS) of the government nor distributed through the private suppliers who have the infrastructure to work with large donor agencies
How to contain Himalayan tsunamis (Down to Earth)
The Himalaya is still geologically active and structurally unstable. Scientists speak on what needs to be done to mitigate disaster impacts in the region
CLIMATE JUSTICE STATEMENT ON THE UTTARAKHAND CATASTROPHE ” …similar catastrophes could recur with increasing frequency and intensity anywhere in the country in the coming years.”
” … we cannot ignore Climate Change and its associated challenges…”
PM kick starts 850 MW Ratle Project in J&K without full Impact Assessment: Invitation to another disaster in Chenab basin? (Sandrp)
India should start preparing for a large earthquake in Uttarakhand“…large parts of the Himalayas are overdue a large earthquake. Such an event would be even more destructive over an area hundreds of times as big.”
Development in the Himalayas
The cost of development in Himalaya (Down to Earth)
There is a link between the disaster and the manner in which development has been carried out in this ecologically fragile region.
Himalayas: the agenda for development and environment (Down to Earth)
We need to think about a pan-Himalayan development strategy which is based on the region’s natural resources, culture and traditional knowledge.
Sunita Narain, Himalayas: the agenda for development and environment
Ankur Paliwal, New dams to burden Uttarakhand, heighten disaster risk
Resources on AID work in Livelihoods: Agriculture, Land Rights, Labor, NREGA
How has AID worked with and learned from people’s efforts to sustain, restore and generate livelihoods?
Explore these resources to find out.
Livelihoods forum currently covers four overlapping themes: Agriculture, Land, Labor & NREGA.
Sridhar– Thanal, stopping GM
Revathi:TOFarm, Mahanadhi – organic agriculture: Safety Net for Organic Farmers
Prasanna Health & sustainable agriculture
Reetu Sogani – traditional knowledge and sustainable agriculture
Nisarga, working with agricultural workers, has helped many landless families secure government land for which they are legally eligible. AID Supported awareness programs on land rights in Visakha District.| Land for Landless in Kondavedhi
AID supports traditional income generation projects assisting small groups in training in new skills, manufacturing & marketing products, and using these goods and services to earn income.
Some successful income generation projects have been:
Jivika: handloom, handspun (khadi) cotton garments and bags made in Srikakalam (AP) and Gajapati (Orissa)
Some Jivika products: kabbadi shirt | nursing kurta | hoodie
[new catalogue under construction]
Himmat:Women survivors of Naroda-Patiya carnage, joined together in 2003 and started training in sewing. Today 18 women manage the production unit, selling in the market and at exhibitions.
Article on Himmat in South Asian
SEWA:World renowned for empowering self-employed women, SEWA, with AID support, set up infrastructure to regulate the flow of raw material and finished handicrafts between the craftswomen and the market. AID also supported SEWA when it exhibited at Smithsonian Festival in Washington, DC(2002).
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)
NREGA GoI site: http://nrega.nic.in/
covers all of rural India, effective April 1, 2008
[announced in 200 districts on Feb 2, 2006, extended to additional 130 districts in 2007]
Projects to assist people in applying for jobs and demanding full and timely wages for work via NREGA:
SPS NREGA Consortium
AID – NREGA implementation in Visakha District
AID Bangalore Chapter – NREGA Rally at Bangalore
AID Publications – NREGA survey in Mathurapur
AID – NREGA work- Gumma Block, Gajapati Dist., Orissa
The South Asian: NREGA Audit in Orissa Finds Inconsistencies
Reflections on 2 years of NREGA in Economic & Political Weekly, 23 Feb 2008
Educational and non profit outreach in us
Aashish (Bay Area) is taking care of sending calendars to schools in the US. Renuka, Swati and selva are taking care of sending to orgs in india.
We are actually sending to university departments and a few nonprofit organisations working in areas related to sustainable development, india, agriculture and poverty – here is the list of what we have so far – pls suggest additional names. Also if you can suggest high school teachers who would use the calendar for educational purposes we would like to send to them as well.
we have drafted this cover letter to send with it:
Greetings on behalf of the Association for India’s Development. Please accept our gift of a complimentary 2009 calendar. Thousands of hours of labor of love were put into forging the partnerships with the people at the forefront of social change and sustainable development in India, and developing this publication as a tool to raise awareness on issues of food security, livelihood of farmers, sustainability of farming and vitality of Mother Earth.
As a group of volunteers, we have been alarmed by the agrarian crisis in India. As we studied the issue, we were awakened to the crisis in the United States as well. We see the links between this global crisis and many issues of human development, and through Association for India’s Development, we are joining with grasroots organizations in rural and remote areas in India to address these holistically. In solidarity with people’s movements and non-governmental organizations, AID works to address issues of poverty, injustice, environment, human rights, health, education, livelihoods and all aspects of development.
We have come across your work and would like to stay in contact with you. May we call on you for guidance when we are working on issues related to your areas of research and expertise? We would appreciate it if you could share this calendar with your colleagues or students. And please do let us know if we can ever be of help as you work on issues of rural development, sustainable agricutlure and related issues. We have 35 chapters and several hundred volunteers in the United States, working with over 100 grassroots organizations in India.
With warmest wishes for the new year,