Picture Credits: Simon Williams
RAN SINGH PARMAR
In 1982, Raju Bhai (Rajagopal Ji, President) was linking the youth of Chambal with the campaign of non-violence and peace with the work of 'Yuva Shanti Sena' after the rebel surrender in Chambal. I decided to join this peacebuilding process and devote my life to the service of the marginalized people. From Ekta Parishad, I learned nonviolent activism and widely using it to fight against injustice and violence. Together we have succeeded to motivate thousands of rural youth to take up the lead from the bottom and stand for the deprived community.
Today, as the president of Ekta Parishad organization, I want that in the coming years, we should work realistically for the self-reliance, social empowerment of the deprived society, and realize the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi in real sense.
For the first time in 1986, I participated in the youth camp held in Tilda which completely transformed me for a lifetime. In 1989, I voluntarily decided to go to the tribal region of Malwa (Madhya Pradesh) and devote my life to building a campaign among tribal people and farmers. I have proud to be a founder member of Ekta Mahila Manch in the Year 2002– a women wing of Ekta Parishad for encouraging the women leadership for fighting the rights of women farmers.
Today, as a Vice President of Ekta Parishad and Convenor of Ekta Mahila Manch, I want to build a strong women leadership from the grassroots to the top of the organization.
After joining the Ekta Parishad in 2001, I got a chance to walk in a foot march and participated in the series of youth camps under rebuilding the Bihar campaign. This was a life-changing experience for me and the success of youth camps filled me with inspiration. Ekta Parishad has a wonderful dimension of social work which gives me satisfaction and allows encouraging voluntarism. I am devoting my time to strengthen rural-urban linkages of youth.
As a General Secretary of Ekta Parishad, I want the next generation of leaders to come forward at every level and make it a value-based Gandhian organization.
In 1979, as a part of the student struggle, I have decided to join the nonviolent land movement of Bihar which was a turning point in my life. After a few years, I was decided to be part of a social movement with the dream of rebuilding Bihar. In Ekta Parishad, I learned to build grassroots leadership and campaigning. For me, Ekta Parishad is the ‘organization of communities’ where every member is connected with the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.
Today, I want to see the underprivileged society at the forefront of leadership so that our shared dream becomes true one day.
Bastar in Chhattisgarh has been my first learning school of tribal life. In 1999, while walking 3500 Kms with Raja Ji, I started to assimilate nonviolence and transform my thoughts & behavior. As a campaigner, I was part of dialogue and negotiations in every campaign; thanks to mass actions to balance and complement the dialogue and we have always achieved what we aimed for.
As a General Secretary, I do strongly believe that Ekta Parishad is a ‘School of Nonviolent Thoughts and Actions’. By continue learning from this school let us together dedicate our collective energies & dreams and build a world free from hunger, injustice, and violence.
I was born in a peasant family, which is my deep, connect with the villagers and land. In 1990, I met with Raja Ji at a youth camp held in Rewa, which filled my life with inspiration. Later, the struggle for the landless becomes the goal of my life while working in rural areas of Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh). As soon as Ekta Mahila Manch was formed in the year 2002, I was given the leadership of Madhya Pradesh where we all fought together for women’s land rights. After the success of long march of 2007, when the Forest Rights Act implemented and getting land to landless people in villages was really like realizing the biggest dreams of my life.
As a leader of the National Committee of Ekta Parishad, I want our struggle of tomorrow to be so strong that we can altogether build a self-sufficient society and country.
As a displaced family from Simdega (Jharkhand), I have felt the pain and suffering of landless poor. In 1994, attending the youth camp in Bihar actually set the new meaning for my life and mission and then a new chapter in the struggle for land rights and justice of the underprivileged society in Bihar-Jharkhand started with Ekta Parishad. In 2002, I was given the leadership of Ekta Mahila Manch of Bihar and my next few years devoted to fighting for the women farmers.
As a leader of the National Committee of Ekta Parishad, I want the deprived section of the society to become so empowered by our collective efforts and can lead the process of change in their life and their own society.
Soon after participating in the youth camp in Tilda (Chhattisgarh) in 1999, I decided that Ekta Parishad is my new home. The struggle and activism for the poorest people changed the perceptive of my life. During the long march of 2012, I was given the responsibility to lead a team of 5000 people – a life-changing experience for me and I learned that foot marches are an open school of activism. Struggling for the land rights of thousands of landless and homeless poor is really like meeting common dreams.
As a leader of Ekta Parishad National Committee, I want to see a society where every poor people own their own land and felt their dignity as a son & daughter of the soil.
After joining the youth camp organized in Orissa in 2004, while walking for the land rights march, I realized that Ekta Parishad will be my identity from now onwards. A young woman like me from a small village of Odisha was given the leadership of EktaKala Manch through which we played an effective role in every campaign like Janadesh, Jan satyagraha, Jan Andolan, and Jai Jagat. I feel that the spirit of mutual cooperation in the Ekta Parishad makes it stronger as a family apart from an organization.
As a member of the National Committee of the Ekta Parishad Organization, I am effectively using folk songs and folk dances to mobilize folk artists for public awakening - and want to use this as a powerful medium for future campaigns.
I was first introduced to Rajagopalji, the founder of Ekta Parishad, in 2008 as a member of Assam's Shanti Sadhana Ashram, his kindred behavior led me to the organization and social service forever.
Later, as a worker of Ekta Parishad, I got the opportunity to work for the poor in Assam and North-Eastern states, according to the ideology and work of Mahatma Gandhi. Today, we all have an organizational objective to motivate the youth to establish peace in the violence-affected areas of Assam.
As a member of the National Committee of Ekta Parishad, I want to work towards the reconstruction of society based on self-government and self-reliance.
While living in the rural areas of Haryana, I have felt discrimination and injustice against the poor. In the year 2018, I had the opportunity to join the MahilaKisanYatra and then the mass movement which inspired me to join the Ekta family forever. As the guardian of Ekta Parishad, Rajagopalji, affectionately offers an opportunity to connect thousands of people like me with Ekta Parishad - I think this is the biggest strength of the organization.
As a member of the National Committee of Ekta Parishad, I have learned to fight for the rights of women farmers in particular. My dream is that one day women should also get the right to land so that the foundation of an equitable society can be strengthened further.
NIRBHAY SINGH PATEL
In 1987, while attending a youth camp organized in the Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh, I got an opportunity to understand the campaigns of Ekta Parishad. I believe that we can eradicate poverty in the true sense only by land and agriculture-centric rural economy. In later years, while working with the Ekta Parishad, we did many substantive works to eradicate poverty. In the year 2010, I was given the responsibility of Ekta Economic Forum. Through the platform, we also established many successful models.
As a member of the National Committee of Ekta Parishad, I want to connect the youth with the possibilities of land and agriculture-centric rural development so that we can all together rebuild rural India.
CHUNNU LAL SOREN
Taking birth in a landless tribal family, I have deeply experienced injustice, violence, and discrimination which is why I accepted myself as a member of the Ekta Family as soon as I joined the youth camp organized by the Jharkhand Council in the year 2004 in Jharkhand. My first objective is to motivate the youth for non-violent movement in difficult circumstances among the tribal society of Jharkhand. In the year 2019-20, as a participant of Jai Jagat, I had the opportunity to join the global padayatra, where I learned a lot from the open, borderless, school of social.
As an accountable member of the National Committee of Ekta Parishad, I want to wage a non-violent struggle for the rights and respect of tribal society so that we can realize the right to self-governance as enshrined in the Constitution.
BHARAT BHUSAN THAKUR
As a student leader, I joined the Loktantra Bachao Andolan of the year 1974 and pledged to work for the establishment of democracy in the villages of other states of India including Orissa. In the first meeting with Rajagopalji, in the year 2002, I realized that through Ekta Parishad, we can mobilize thousands of people together, for establishing Gram Swaraj, In the remote villages of Odisha, it is a common campaign for me and all of us to get the rights of the oppressed through self-government as per the mantra or principles laid down by Mahatma Gandhi.
As a member of the National Committee of Ekta Parishad, my dream is that all of us together can achieve the goal of Gram Swaraj.
My first introduction to Rajagopalji was in Kerala - his simple, easygoing personality and impressive leadership not only attracted me but also gave me a deep inspiration for social service. While working at the Shashi Centre in Tamil Nadu, I had the opportunity to meet the international colleagues of the Ekta Parishad and get involved in many of their works. I have learned a lot from society while realizing many schemes of self-reliance in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. I believe that we can bring Swaraj in the true sense only by Mahatma Gandhi's self-centered village system.
My role in the National Committee of Ekta Parishad is to make village self-reliance strong and meaningful so that we may together realize the goal of establishing a non-violent rural economy.
As a youth, the Gandhian surroundings had always attracted me. During the first padayatra of the year 2000, meeting the members of the Ekta Parishad family, I was convinced that I can work with the organization for the development of rural laborers. In the years following the padayatra, I had the opportunity to join the Ekta Economic Forum. I am happy that we have made a successful attempt to strengthen the rural economy by connecting thousands of rural laborers with new economic opportunities.
As a member of the National Committee of Ekta Parishad, working with the rural artisans of the unorganized sector, I want to realize our shared dream of self-reliance.