| Friday November 10, 2006
Social forum gives voice to tribals
New Delhi, UNI:
Tribal dancers from West Bengal perform during the India Social Forum (ISF) in New Delhi on Thursday.
A cultural extravaganza showcasing the struggles of tribal, downtrodden and marginalised people to achieve their dream of “Another World” marked the first day of the five-day long India Social Forum.
About 50,000 people from across the country converged on the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium here for ‘Building Another World: Visions for the Future’ under the aegis of the India Social Forum.
It has provided these diverse movements, groups, organisations an opportunity to come together under the broad slogan, ‘Another World is Possible. Let us Build it!’
Pointing out that globalisation has reached to the homes of the people affecting their livelihood, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar said only a few people are trying to control the lives of the majority. The Forum provides an opportunity to these oppressed people to learn from the experiences of the others like them.
The Forum would deliberate on issues such as equal distribution of resources like forest and land, casteism, globalisation, neo-colonialism and the role of women in the people’s struggle against all these, she pointed out.
Winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize Ruth Manorama said the hydra-headed impact of globalisation could not be fought by a single person or organisation; it required a collective effort.
Activists and social movements from across the country and globe are participating in the ISF, which gives them an opportunity to voice the people’s perception.
Subhashini Ali, president of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, said AIDWA was the first to raise its voice against the negative impact of globalisation on women in 1992. Now, other social organisations have also realised that globalisation has thrown people at the mercy of market forces and that affects the marginalised sections the most.
Ali said recent developments in the US, Nepal and Nicaragua have indicated that the people are now realising the ill effects of globalisation on their lives.
In the US, the people have defeated President Bush’s party in the elections, Nepalese have fought against an oppressive monarchy and showed their strength.
The Social Forum provides an opportunity to these people to exchange their experiences and get a sense of solidarity, she said.
Wahu Kaara, social activist from Kenya, said ISF was the forum of the people struggling for social transformation.
People and NGOs from many South Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Palestine, African nations like Kenya where the next World Social Forum would be held next year, Latin America and Europe would also participate to exhibit solidarity among people and organisations of different regions and continents.
India Social Forum is the third event being organised by the World Social Forum-India, which consists of more than 200 organisations, after the Asian Social Forum in Hyderabad and World Social Forum in Mumbai in 2004.