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Gandhi Ki Khadi?
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Avadhesh Kumar         

Phone:  011 -   27018015 / 27020903

A-16, Pundrik Vihar, Pitampura, Delhi-110034

Socio-Economic – Ecological Facilitator on Self Reliance

Ex-Member: A.I.Khadi & Vill. Ind. Board (Govt. of India)

Ex-Member: Cent. Cert. Comm. KVIC (Govt. of India)

Ex-Chairman : SLACC (Delhi), KVIC.

       Anna Sudha Village Industries (KVIC approved)

       PANI   :     People’s Action for National Integration, 1/13/190, Civil Lines, Faizabad, UP-224001

       SCRIA :     Social Centre for Rural Initiative and Advancement, Khori Centre, Khori Distt. Rewari, Haryana.

       MAP    :     Movement for Accountability to Public



In the 100th Year of SATYAGRAHA under the Mahatma, Crusader of Non-Violent Fight Path


In September, our Prime Minister, Dr. Man Mohan Singh Ji while leaving for Brazil en-route to Havana to attend the NAM -2006 Conference, underlined the need to combat the triple problems of Hunger, Poverty and Disease, for achieving peace and human development, on a lasting basis, the world over and that the NAM has to address them in a unified and concerted manner with a cooperative sprit. What is important in the international arena is equally important at the domestic front too. In this context the role of Khadi and Village Industries Sector, the only activity which is still alive and is being carried on, in the name of Gandhian Constructive Work, assumes a special significance.


As India enters its 60th year and the government arm, Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC), is all set to celebrate its Silver Jubilee, it is high time to take a stock. 50 Years is an important landmark for any one, more so for an Institution and that too which is directly related and the activity which is responsible to give birth to a Nation called India, the other side of which is Bharat. Can we have an introspective look at re-designing its approach so that the issue of “Freedom from Hunger” is brought on its radar, without further delay, and reclaim the role of “Livery of Freedom”?.


In this fight for the “Freedom from Hunger” a unified and concerted effort with a cooperative sprit is equally important by the various stake holders, be it the Third Tier of our democracy, the Panchayat Raj Institutions, on whose list “Khadi” has its own respectable place, or other arms of the government, Ministries/Departments etc., e.g. Social Justice and Empowerment, Rural Development, SC/ST, Department of Women and Children, National Commission for Minorities, and the like, including the Textile Ministry and the Handloom-Handicraft Board, if the lot of the weavers, i.e. Julahas is to be taken care of. It must be noted that most of them are Muslims, Ansaris or Julahas as they are called or they come form other SC/ST communities like Meghwals etc. Thus there plight leading to their impoverishment is a direct affront to the enormous toil being put by them and is no less than the violation of the very dignity of their skills and their human right to exist and ultimately have a direct bearing on the stranglehold on minorities and SC/ST’s, affecting the very fabric of Peace and Harmony in the society as a whole.


A bit of the Khadi and Village Industries potentiality to intervene is always there in the respective programs of all these Ministries / Departments etc. Time has come to recognise the strength of the powerful idea wherein each government department / ministry shall have an incentive to collaborate, rather than duplicate in building an Inclusive Society.      


Gandhiji during his life time used to observe his birth day as Charkha Jayanti, as he was a crusader of the cause of the down trodden and neglected lots. Can those who claim to carry forward his legacy in the name of Khadi or Sarvodaya i.e. ‘Unto the Last’, in particular and the nation in general muster enough courage to rise to the occasion to join hands to rededicate themselves by taking up the challenge of “Freedom from Hunger”, during the Centenary of SATYAHRAHA under the Mahatma.


Is it not the fact that challenges allow us to grow, both individually as well as collectively. So, why shy away? Even if one life is saved, in this way it surely is a great triumph. Just pause for a moment and think about, this earnest Appeal, in a calm and reflective way: ‘Can We Remake Ourselves?’ Please allow your imagination a brief space to conjure up, ‘Est Hunger’. The question is that with persistent hunger, poverty, depleting natural resources and simmering unrest, coupled with terrorism, how people can live together in future? Hunger is the greatest menace. Even the NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) is reported to have ticked off the Centre for not doing enough to eradicate HUNGER, terming poverty as greatest violator of Human Rights.

After 60 years of India’s Independence, thy claim there is much be to proud of and our prospects have never seen brighter, as the World’s 12th largest and 2nd fastest growing economy. However, they agree, that one of the biggest threat to this potential is the glaring in equality, which in a large democracy like ours, will eventually provoke a social and political backlash.


Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, Chairman National Commission on farmers has also underlined the need for a true a national Endeavour in this regard, calling for a pan-govt. of India approach as hunger and poverty are multidimensional and cut a cross responsibilities of various Ministries and Departments of the government. Furthermore, it is official now, India’s dazzling growth has failed to dent poverty. It is politically worrying as it is indicates a rise in economic disparities. Economist say, uneven growth often leads to social unrest, which in turn, can create problems for politicians. Remember more than 50% population is below 25 years of age.                         


CHARKHA is not only the rural non-farmer livelihood initiative but generator of confidence as well, a pre-condition to development. While KVIC is now all set celebrate its Silver Jubilee, it is high time, to think if we can seek inspiration from the 65 year’s old Prof. Muhammad Yunus, who is hailed as ‘Banker of the Poor’, in his country Bangladesh and his Grameen Bank, the duo, who have been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, whose work as compared to KVIC is quite young, just 30 years old, born out of an experiment in a Bangladeshi village in 1976, with just 10 women, who could not get excess to a very small, rather a tiny Bank loan without collateral.                   


Prof. Yunus says, “Poverty alleviation is Peace”, “for hundreds of millions of people, peace comes only through poverty alleviation” and exactly that is what Mahatma believed. Eradication of Hunger is certainly the first step in this direction. Hence, let us resolutely resolve to make India Free from Hunger and for this KVIC should come out to stand the test of the challenge.          


News Reports say that if the current trend of development paradigm continues then soon we would be needing two planets’ worth of natural resources, every year. Only two Earths can sustain us or else we shift the Goal Post. Obsession with GDP can cost India, China dear. The Earth has a fixed bio-diversity, its total contribution of water, earth and air and ability to rejuvenate these resources with energy from the Sun. A tragedy is working within India’s shining story. Gandhiji’s oft quoted saying, “The planet earth has enough for everybody’s need, but not for anybody’s greed”, is a stark reminder of the need to shift the Goal Post from GDP to GNS (Smile). Hence, it is time to give a call to change the life styles. Can India grab the opportunity to give a lead in this direction? Tragically, it has no other option too.


In this context Gandhiji’s legacy of Constructive Programs hovering around Khadi and Village Industries activities has a challenging task ahead, as no less than around 150 million of our population are struggling keep hunger and death at bay, even after 60 years of Independence of India. According to the latest National Sample Survey Report, 58% of the country’s population is unemployed. As long as the economy is this skewed the potential for large scale disaffection, and therefore, terrorist as well as communal violence, is always their: warns the leading newspaper Times of India in its Editorial dt.28/10/2006.


Last but not the least, are we not signatory to the Millennium Declaration, setting forth the Eight Millennium Development Goals – specifying the targets and the deadlines, of which Hunger is an integral part? So, what else we want and are waiting for to give some space in our thoughts, expressions, and actions in the 100th year of ‘Satyagraha’, the non-violent – path against violence, as hunger itself is the greatest violence on Humanity.                  



      Avadhesh Kumar

Movement for Accountability to Public (MAP)





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