By Rashmi Munikempanna
On November 21, as legislators prepared to start on the winter session of the Karnataka Assembly at Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi, Karnataka (South India), a series of coordinated protests erupted in different cities across the State. These protests, organized under the leadership of Janandolanagala Mahamaithri (The Alliance of People’s Movements) sought to bring lawmakers’ attention to the problems crippling rural Karnataka. Protestors had been on a campaign trail for a month prior, mobilizing cities and villages with a three-point demand: a complete waiver of loans of farmers, farm workers and women’s self-help groups; and, a scientific compensation for crop losses plus the implementation of a comprehensive drought management plan.This is the first campaign for the Alliance, which announced its formation at a conference in Mysore a few weeks ago. The Alliance has brought together diverse people’s movements in Karnataka to collectively ask for accountability from those running the State. Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Working President of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, a major constituent member of Mahamaithri, stated, “This attempt at coming together articulated new desires of hope”– for the future, for an imagination of collectivity.
Source: La Via Campesina South Asia: “Sparks Have Turned Into Raging Fires” in Karnataka state-wide anti-drought mobilization
On the occasion of the 77th birth anniversary of the iconic farmers’ leader Prof. M.D. Nanjundaswamy, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) organized a series of events from the 13th to the 16th Feb to commemorate his memory. The North and South Indian farmers movements jointly inaugurated their own Gram Swaraj (Village self rule) School called the “Prof. Nanjundaswamy Life school” as well as an auditorium called “Mahinder Singh Tikait School of Struggles,” named in the honor of the late BKU farmers’ leader. The Gram Swaraj School is located at the KRRS farmers’ training center – Amrita Bhoomi in the Chamragajar Nagar district ofMedha Patkar and Yudhvir SinghKarnataka. The activities were spearheaded by Chukki Nanjundaswamy, managing trustee of Amrita Bhoomi and daughter of late Prof. M.D. Nanjundaswamy.
Source: La Via Campesina South Asia: Farmers Movements Launch Gram Swaraj School, Organize Training Camp with Activists from across India
The establishment of a seed bank and inauguration of an international seed carnival at Amrutha Bhoomi will be a tribute to former Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha president M.D. Nanjundaswamy. He had envisaged setting up of an international centre for sustainable development of rare and endangered plant species. Nanjundaswamy was instrumental in setting up Amrutha Bhoomi in 180 acres of land in the foothills of the Biligiri Ranga forest range.
Source: Seed carnival to be held at Amrita Bhoomi today – KARNATAKA – The Hindu
Published on April 17th 2006. The Hindu.
KRRS women are coming to the forefront of the farmers movement. “We don’t want a ‘women’s wing’, or a ‘women’s section’ inside KRRS. Such so called ‘wings’ become nothing more than a group upon which women’s issues are piled upon; ignored for all other decisions. We want equal participation in the state committee leadership, it is the only way. We already have many strong women leaders and thousands of women in the grassroots, it’s time to make it official”, paraphrased Chukki Nanjundaswamy from the proceedings of women’s meeting in Bangalore on 15 October.
Source: La Via Campesina South Asia: No Revolution without Women
“You get courage only if you are honest with yourself. If you are saying something, and doing something else you won’t have any courage. If you are doing what you are saying, you are not afraid of anything.I’m not afraid of anything. Whoever will come, I will take it on. Because I believe in truth. I think my life is based on truth. I don’t believe in God, religion – nothing. But my path is clear. I know it is a difficult path, no? lots of obstacles will come. Always people are pulling you back. But you just see your goal, which is a common goal.Not your personal goal, a common goal. It’s not about your career.To reach that goal you need a lot of capacity. You have to go on evaluating yourself. Why did I make this mistake? Why did this happen like this? Maybe we should have done it in another way. It’s very important not to make the same mistakes. Learn from mistakes, this is how you grow.Nobody’s born with all the capacities. You learn a lot in life. Life teaches you.” Chukki Nanjundaswamy
Source: La Via Campesina South Asia: Interview of Chukki Nanjundawamy, farmers’ leader from Karnataka, by Sabina Yasmin LVC Youth Exchange activist from Bangladesh.