The Jai Jagat padyatrees started from the main Chhindwara town after staying for three days. It was a busy day with several stops to interact with people on the way.
Craft shop inauguration
The morning walk began with an inauguration of a government craft shop meant to promote the district’s handicraft and help the poor from the proceeds.
The Church Visit
The team stopped at a Lutheran Church where the minister extended his wishes and complemented the team for carrying Gandhi’s message for world peace, which he said was even more relevant and required today. The bishop of Chindwara conducted a prayer for the padyatrees and blessed them for the cause of world peace.
The Cow Shelter
The padyatrees got a chance to see a cow based small scale factory, Adarsh Cow shelter which had recently opened and was supporting 150 sick and abandoned cows. One could hear some very soothing flute based music in the background which the doctor managing the shelter said was good for the health of the cows according to some recent research. The shelter was basically a small factory making agricultural products, including natural fertilizers, extracted phenylee from the cow urine and wood from cow dung. This production unit in this easy used only cow by-products and didn’t use cow milk at all. They seemed to be a perfect model of locally and naturally produced fertilizers and products for home and agricultural use with their simple, easy to replicate and non-polluting technology.
Nirmala Public School
About 500 students greeted Jai Jagat team where the padyatrees interacted with the children. The principal read a letter written by a freedom fighter while in jail. The letter was illuminating for showing how and what issues concerned the men and women who dedicated their lives to the cause of freedom when speaking with their families. It was emotional to hear how this writer told his children to study hard and do the nation proud.
This was followed by a talk session on the Jai Jagat yatra and the importance and relevance of Gandhi’s message today with the children. It is one of the primary practice of the Jai Jagat mission to interact with students from schools and colleges so as to inculcate the values of nonviolence and get them to think peace at a young age. The Jai Jagat one year march across the world aims to spread the message and values of Gandhi to save the world from the various forms of violence, social and environmental that plague the world today and to get the young and impressionable minds to think differently; in a way that results in the well-being of all, people animals environment, the whole world.
Jill Carr-Harris addressed the children and said, “Everyone has seeds of violence and non-violence inside them”. When children are being nurtured by parents, they are learning nonviolence through the values of sharing and caring, so in joint families. Family gives you nonviolence. The question is how do you include nonviolence in school. If children only study science, memorize theorems and learn abstract theories far removed from their daily lives then how do they learn how to deal with conflict. We all experience conflict.
She said, “What is really exciting about your generation is that you’ve so much access to technology, you’re so globalised with your phones but your minds are not equipped to handle the pressures of a globalised world. Schools do not teach how to practice and build peace.
A solution she advised was to establish peace clubs in school. ‘We can study Gandhi and memorize everything but that’s not learning peace”, she added. We need to include and build peace through action. She prompted them to try this idea of peace club and promised to highlight their project in the Jai Jagat website with a brief on what peace building exercise were they working on. This is ultimately linking with the Jai Jagat peace club. She ended her inspiring speech with a strong message saying, “What we’re doing on this Jai Jagat walk is basically help make a better future and that’s your world”.
The padyatrees also performed an interactive skit to showcase exclusion and discrimination and it was encouraging to see a young girl volunteer to take a role in the skit in order to act a role that provided a solution.
Nepal women’s team
The Nepal women Ekta team of 11 members joined Jai Jagat for a day. They traveled three days to reach here. They introduced themselves and sang an Ekta song in Nepalese to end the evening.
On Gandhi’s Speech after Jalianwala Massacre
At lunch before a gathering of the hosting village, Rajagopal asked everyone to go through Gandhi’s speech delivered after the Jalianwala massacre. These are two of the five points that were elaborated by him with the first meant for the police, especially the Indian men serving the British:
1. Don’t obey wrong orders – just because someone orders doesn’t mean you get the licence to kill. And whom do you kill but innocent and poor people, your own people.
2. Swawlamb: Don’t buy foreign goods- by doing that you are contributing to the colonizer’s wealth which in turn means that you’re contributing to your own oppression.
The first point, sadly, is even more relevant today. Rising police brutality, the common discourse of encounters and instances of taking the law in their own hands only speaks of how the forces meant to protect the country’s citizens are on the contrary instilling fear and are actually oppressing people. To the point that victims of crime exclusion and injustice are often reluctant to go to the police perceiving them as in cohort with the exploitative classes.
Secondly, when analysing Swawlamb, we see how we are consuming and buying goods made in foreign countries. In recent times most go for products with a “made in China” tag for economic reasons. This threatens our local economy and has already done the damage with most traditional skills suffering from this negligent attitude of the buyers for locally produced goods. This is tantamount to gross economic violence towards our traditional and local craftsmen and village industries.
It should be noted that Gandhi despite the horror of the inhuman massacre of around 400 innocent and unarmed men women and children, famously chose to forgive General Dyer who issued the command to his subordinates to open fire on the gathered people there. At the same time he urged but to forget the incident. Forgive but don’t forget, was his message.