Images from Narmada Sangarsh Parikrama

Introduction

With an impending submergence due to the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in the oncoming monsoon, the people in the Narmada valley embarked on a Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama from April 4th to April 10th. The Parikrama (circumambulating Narmada) was aimed to proclaim the resolve by the people to continue fighting for their right to life enshrined in the Constitution. The Parikrama travelled through the villages affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project in the fertile plains of Nimad in Madhya Pradesh. The people challenged the attempts by the government to displace them by deceit and force while exposing the serious flaw and absurdity in the recent verdict of the Supreme Court of India, which had allowed the construction on the dam beyond 88 meters. They also highlighted the issues of displacement and destruction caused by other completed and proposed dams in the Narmada valley, like Bargi, Tawa, Maheshwar and Man.

The Parikrama started on the 4th of April from the village Balgaon and wound its way through Badwani and more than 40 villages in the Nimad valley and concluded on 10th April at Indore with a public meeting, which was attended by representatives of various people's organisations along with eminent persons like Baba Amte, Swami Agnivesh, Prabhas Joshi, Mohini Giri, Dr.B.D.Sharma, Surendra Mohan, Dr.Sunilam and many other senior social and political activists and organizations.

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Images

All photographs © Harikrishna (hariki12@hotmail.com & Deepa Jani (djani27@hotmail.com)

The route taken by the Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama starting from April 4th at Balgaon and concluding on April 10th at Indore

The Parikrama begins with Didi offering prayers to the Goddess Narmada. The Parikrama is an old tradition in which people living on the banks of the Narmada river get an opportunity to come out of their homes and mix with people from various communities and get to know the different facets of their culture.

An earthern pot (Kalash) containing the holy Narmada waters is passed through each village. A coin is dropped into the Kalash by each family symbolizing the vow not to take the cash compensation offered by the government.

Women of Balgaon watch the Parikrama.

Volunteers used puppets to enact plays in every village. The plays highlighted the disastrous consequences of globalization on the villagers and farmers.

Food preparations for the Rally members.

Medha Patkar and adivasis from the village Kuva listening to the village headman's speech.

Adivasis from the village Nimrani at the Rally.

On the way to the village Chichli.

Volunteers perform a play at Anjad.

At the village Pipri: "My lifetime is over. What can I give my grandchild? Only this humble earth."

"We will not give up so easily. This is a fifteen year long struggle and there is a long struggle ahead." Devram Bhai leads the Parikrama to the village Talun, undeterrred by the heat and dust.

Rally passes through the village Kari.

Baba Amte marches through the streets of Badwani.

"Only Truth will liberate us." Baba addressing a massive meeting on farmers issues (Kisan Sammelan) at Badwani on 6th April. The meeting concluded with all the participants taking a vow to protect their rivers, forest and land.

Dr. Sugan Baranth with Medha Patkar at the village Chikhalda.

Engineer turned activist Ravi, explains the mistakes made by the government surveys to the villagers. His research shows that the actual level of submergence might be about 3 meters more than the governments' claim.

People in the village Chikhalda trying to get a glimpse of the charts prepared by Ravi to show the mistakes made by the government surveys.

"We will drown, but not move". Kamlu Didi chants the mantra of resistance at the village Pura.

At the village Karoli.

The rally passes through the village Jotpur.

"This is a struggle for equity. A struggle from village to village for reconstruction, regeneration and revival of people's resources and sovereignty." Jagdish Bhai sings the Nimadi folk songs of protest at the village Nimboli.

Marching through the streets of Mhow.

"No matter who you are, where you come from or what language you speak, we are united in this struggle for human rights, for human dignity." Adivasi women at the rally at Mhow.

Displaced adivasis at Mhow.

"We protest for our land. We protest for our grain. We protest for our rights. We are the Satyagrahis". The Rally passes through the streets of Indore.

"When your beliefs are just and the path is right, nothing can destroy you" Eminent social activist, Swami Agnivesh expressing his solidarity with the Narmada people at the Indore Meeting.