Peace Justice and You(th) 2016

In the run-up to the AID conference in College Park, the youth conference on Friday gave kids a chance to learn games and songs related to people’s unity, share experiences related to conflict and injustice, meet the speakers and learn about their work, and talk about ways to work for peace an justice from their own perspective and using their various talents. Continue reading

Letter to Editor

We cannot let this appeal appear and disappear!

Letter to Editor in response to

Ilina Sen, An appeal for peace in South BastarThe Hindu, Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008

We cannot let this appeal appear and disappear!

Dear Editor,

Dr. Sen’s appeal for peace touches the heart of the life-and death issues people of south Bastar are facing. Not only the state is ignoring the need for political dialogue, the rest of the country seems to be ignoring Chhattisgarh, where people have lost the right even to humanitarian relief as they live and die amidst the warring parties.

We cannot let this appeal appear and disappear!
The forum Dr Sen proposes, comprising members of all parties as well as civil society, may be our best hope for forging a lasting peace in the region. I hope that we can expect the parties and local organizations to respond to this appeal, or put forth alternative proposals and reach some consensus rather than accept this ongoing conflict as a way of settling scores.

And in the meanwhile people must have a democratic space in which to live – this is not asking anyone to ignore the valid and burning issues, but to recognize people’s efforts to return to their own villages and live on their own land also as an important political exercise in nonviolent resistance. Democratic struggles depend on these brave acts of ordinary people.

Unfortunately compounding this problem is the apathy of everyone whose life is not threatened by this chronic violence, no matter how loud it becomes.

Implementing Dr. Sen’s proposals, from PDS to voter rights, will bring hope, health and life itself to a region where the majority lives with chronic hunger and fear.

As a citizen living outside of the conflict zone, I urgently request more parties to comment on this appeal, discuss its ramifications, how soon any part of it, from PDS to voter rights, could be implemented? And what guarantee can the state give to people who return to their villages, that they will not be forced to flee again? When can we see the Black Laws repealed and those incarcerated by them, including Dr Sen and 75 others, released?

P. Aravinda


ask not for whom the bell tolls

(note written in response to discussion regarding support for peace march)

by LS Aravinda on Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:24 pm
As important if not more important than the work we do in India is the work we do in the US, raising these issues and seeking insights sincerely. We are not one of those organisations who merely says, here is a thousand dollars, go march. We aim to understand and address the tough problems of poverty and underdevelopment, the kinds that plunge us into the midst of questions that compel us to think from new perspectives. I wish that we would take up this level of discussion with reference to more of the projects that we support. Indeed, discussions such as this ARE the heart and lifeblood of AID.

wrt peace march i have no doubt that the folks marching share these concerns, and in fact are propelled by them to march. in general, we should take seriously our role as volunteers to take part in debates on the various development areas in which we intervene. such debate should not prevent us from getting involved, but should be part of our involvement. village level workers and affected people genuinely value this dimension of our contribution to the cause, as they have told us often..

it always happens after long days of inspecting rehabilitation sites and seeking documents from offices, riding back in the train or jeep we will ask ourselves, “is it worth it, what will we achieve, should we have done x or y ….” or after campaigning for every BPL family to receive their correct ration card and full supply of rations, we will also ask ourselves whether this is a system even worth fighting for. the same quandaries may apply to a school or health clinic, or any number of programs. when we look at the issues in the abstract we can easily be convinced to do nothing.

i always find it helps to share my doubts with those who are involved in the programs at the village level. never underestimate their perception of the complexities and paradoxes involved.