Rashtriya Jan Sansad, March 19 - 23, 2012, New Delhi

Organization: Rashtriya Jan Sansad / National People's Parliament


India, our country, is today at the crossroads. Despite our intense and diverse human, natural, cultural and technological resources the Constitutional endowments of freedom, equity and justice appear to be a distant dream. On the one side a small group of people have never had it so good with top class infrastructure, privately run airports, relatively cheap air travel, fast moving cars, obscenely high salaries and the promise of a 9 % growth. On the other side the conditions of the majority continue to deteriorate: farmers' suicides; large scale displacements; the use of police and para-military forces to appropriate Adivasi lands, forests and resources and and resistance to this faced with brutality and murder; dis-employment of the urban poor due to infrastructure projects; mega corruption scandals in every development project. But of course this is of no interest to the media! Corruption in its current form seems to be so institutionalised in character and monstrous in proportion as to make past scandals look like petty deeds. Are these stories of some other land or of our own?

Today we have the paradox of supposed 'vibrant democracy', 'transparent investigation of corruption', 'fair courts', 'free media', 'strong opposition' as well as blatant violence unleashed by the State-corporate nexus, be it in Niyamgiri or Jagatsinghpur (Orissa), Mahuva and Mundra (Gujarat), Forbesganj (Bihar),  Polavaram, Sompeta (AP), in the slums of Mumbai (Maharashtra) or numerous other places. We have witnessed rampant violation of the intent and letter of the law through the likes of land acquisition, resource-grabs and environmental clearances. The reaction to this by the people has been a spate of movements big and small resisting the attacks by staking nothing less than their lives. Martyrdoms pay but not always. There is also violent resistance by alleged 'Maoists’. In those areas we see the tragic spectacle of State and non-State violence feeding off and justifying each other.

One is left to wonder if there is any place for people in this 'Democracy', real people, be they Adivasis, Dalits, farmers, farm labourers, factory workers, fisher people or other toilers. The crude reality is that the Government of the day puts up only the pretense of dialogue while continuing to perpetrate campaigns of extreme violence, without the willingness to talk even with the non-violent struggles.

All existing institutions, the reliable pillars of democracy, have failed the people, as well as all those who struggled for our freedom and the founders of the Constitution. It is the landless peasants, forest dwellers and toiling masses; those who are now struggling not only for a living but to protect their homes, lands, forests, rivers and sea; who in fact sustain our natural resources. Activists, concerned citizens and their organisations striving for change amidst this gloom continue to grow like never before and they are at the forefront of our battle against the sham of corporatised, West-controlled democracy that is rich in pomp and glitz but bereft of substance. It is in this backdrop that we propose that a way out of this morass is for people's grassroots democracy to be organised in a way that allows self assertion of rights, propositioning of decisions on alternativeperspectives, plans, budget to processes of planning and empowering themselves. JAN SANSAD seems to be the way to attain this.

An Invitation and Seeking Your Cooperation, Since July 2009, NAPM exploring the possibilities of organising Jan Sansads across the country. We held meetings in Delhi and other places. The idea was widely accepted and received attention in March 2010 in a meeting in Allahabad and since then NAPM and other organisations have together hosted Jan Sansads at different places – Almora, Bhadrawati, Mumbai, Nellore and Multai. We have held several meetings since June 2011 discussing ways to strengthen our collective struggles and work towards strengthening people's politics, agenda and strategies. After several meetings in 2011, we started Lok Shakti Abhiyan in December, which has travelled, in four phases, through Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab and Orissa are to be covered soon.

NAPM this will all culminate in RASHTRIYA JAN SANSAD in Delhi between March 19 to 23, 2012. Please see the schedule below. We invite you along with your organisation to join the Rashtriya Jan Sansad to participate in the following:

  1. To endorse the agenda and participate in the People's Parliament / Jan Sansad and to make decisions through intense deliberations.
  2. To nominate members of your organisation to the Jan Saansad / People's Parliament as Jan Saansads on March 20-22.
  3. To join us in large numbers in the concluding rally on March 23, at Jantar Mantar.

Proposed Programme:
March 19 : Lokshakti Abhiyan Programmes discussion at three locations in Delhi
March 20–22 : Jan Sansad on the key issues mentioned above
March 23rd: A mass rally of people coming from across the country. Finalisation and adoption of Jan Sansad Resolution amongst thousands [a session with political party representatives] and March to parliament

Contact details:
National Alliance of People's Movements
NAPM C/O 6,6,
Jangpura B,
New Delhi 110014.
Phone: 011 – 2437 4535, 9212587159, 9818 411 417
Email: jansansad@napm-india.org

Website: http://napm-india.org/