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Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

International Conference “Towards a non-violent economy” – A Report

This conference held from Jan-30th – Feb 3rd at Gandhi Bhavan, Bhopal has brought hundreds of Gandhians, peace-makers, non-violent activists, economists and community leaders from around the world together to think and act on the ways of creating and building non-violent economy in various communities in their countries. Delegates from around 25 countries and hundreds of non-violent activists in India strongly conveyed the message of the non-violence in building economies for the poor, youth, workers, women and corporate areas of development.

On 30th January, “Martyrs Day”, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri. Shivraj Singh Chauhan graced the occasion and spoke about the ground realities of economic suppression by global entities in his state, even though the region is rich in mineral resources. He also invited the delegates for a dinner at his house on the 1st of February.

Earlier, the senior Gandhian Leader Dr.S.N.Subba Rao made his humble and imminent presence during the inauguration, while Shri. RajaGopal, the president of Ekta Parishad presented the workshop with the introduction of foreign delegates. Shri. Loui Campana, the president of Gandhi International, France, the co-organisers of the convention presented his inaugural speech on non-violent economy followed by the speakers from various non-violent organizations and institutions.

Some of the features and topics discussed on non-violent economy are as follows:

  • To identify basic human needs and the means to fulfil them.
  • To ensure self-sufficiency of every village, region and country in meeting basic needs
  • To prioritize oranic and food producing agriculture as a basis of viable economy and society
  • To re-assert the value of manual work and craftsmanship which develops strengths, talent and intelligence and is as noble as intellectual work.
  • To provide opportunities for work for people facing physical, mental or psycohological challenges
  • How in a time of war or foreign occupation, to survive economically?
  • To put machines in the service of man and thus so man not become slave to machines
  • To avoid mass production and promote production by the masses
  • To prioritize small producers and to protect existing micro-economic structures
  • To seek alternatives to heavy industry and large-scale producers
  • To encourage the return to rural areas where labour will be needed
  • To ensure a legitimate involvement of a western company in a southern country
  • To anticipate and confront diminishing petroleum resources and develop renewable energy
  • To ensure equal opportunity and eliminate disparities through education and lifelong training
  • To limit the concentration of economic power and to establish a maximum income limitation
  • To ensure the private ownership of a company/property does not jeopardise the common good
  • To encourage stimulation and exchange of knowledge, know-how and conduct
  • To reduce the disparities of revenue and to eradicate extreme poverty by providing work for everyone

Workshops and speeches on the above listed topics were conducted and I was named as a Facilitator for the workshop on “Man vs Machines in Service” and “Mass Production or Production by the Masses” in which around 25 people participated. Also, I presented the delegates with the outcomes of the proceedings of the workshop. The concluding message by the participants was Gandhiji’s “Service to Human by Human, not by Machines.” Isn’t it true/false nowadays?

On 2nd February, the delegates had a privilege of visiting the site of Union Carbide Plant at Bhopal, where the tragic massacre of around 5000 people in 1984 due to the leakage of deadly methyl cyanide gas. This site stands for fatal failure of violent means of economy.

On the 3rd February, Ekta Parishad, the co-organizers of this convention called for a 4 Km “March for Dignity”from Gandhi Bhavan to Ghandhi Bhavan via New market central square in which thousands of Adivasis and tribal people joined for symbolizing the demand for “Land,Water,Forest for all” and Non-violent economic means to survival

Having participated and actively took part in every moment of this convention was indeed a memorable and useful occassion in my life. I also here attached an write-up on Non-violent economy that explicates the politial and current perspectives including what is violent and what is not violent. Kindly look at the "Forum" section for it.

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