An ode to the Andolan

Here is a note wishing the Andolan and all its co travellers all the best for the next 100 years. As the moon shines on them, so does the solidarity from supporters... far away.

The grammar may be wrong... And the verse without rhyme... but these are thoughts that come to my mind and I am sorry its sooo... long.

An ode to the Andolan

25 years of the Andolan,
25 years in Narmada’s life,
25 years of consistent challenge,
Keeping hope amidst encircling strife

Challenging misguided plans, deceptive promises,
Questioning at once many fundamental premises
Of destruction as development, and scale of measurement,
Of practicing displacement promising development,
Of exploiting nature and peoples predicament.

The simple people born of the Narmada
Created a modern river valley civilisation
Living simply lives of dignity
Demonstrating cultures of justice and simplicity,
Setting standards and patterns in life and living.

‘Koi nahi hatega, Bandh nahi banega,
These are six simple words,
But when said together, in this order,
It takes us to the banks of the Narmada,
And the Andolan it inspires.
Short and straight, it touches both heart and mind,
And leaves no doubt on intentions or claims.

‘Narmada ki ghaati mein ab ladaayi jaari hai
chalo utho chalo utho rokna vinaas hai’

From Harsud in ‘89, to Dhadgoan and Badwani today,
These words are etched deep,
In a million hearts and minds.
Be it in Badwani or Berkeley,
Mangaleshwar or Maryland,
The Netherlands or gods own land,
These lines need not be translated,
And the voice behind each word heard.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan, the NBA,
Is a community that has made clear,
That you don’t need to be the state,
To survive, grow and renew faith.
For people who are generous and care.
People with a vision big enough to share.

Their ideas, they take a life of their own,
More effectively, than any military operation.
It can liberate sometimes few, and at times a generation.
Accompanying communities in all their lively deliberation,
Taking life and death, both in their stride and celebration,
As that’s the a cycle of nature and creation.

Dear Sanjay and Baba Amte,
We carry forth your wishes,
In the valley that shares your ambition,
And cares for your hopes and tradition.

The Narmada gave birth, and nurtured many a community,
Tribal, industrial, agricultural and philosophical,
But now on, it will be best known for the Andolan,
And the culture to protest injustice and exploitation. .

The NBA community has spread far and wide,
From the river banks to the coast,
From the village to the city,
From the state to the nation,
And the global village.
It has gathered ideas and people,
Shared passion and strength.

From academics, students to teachers,
Philosophers and preachers,
Writers and politicians,
Engineers and doctors,
The people of the valley, the Andolan,
Has welcomed one and all.
All are respected and expected,
To give what they can,
To share what they have,
And take what they need.

Like the Narmada, the Andolan too,
Sometimes flows as a stream,
Small and brisk, like a river just born, .
Running along steep slopes and mountains,
But now and then it has gathers strength,
Meandering with the grace,
Cruising towards new beginnings and ends.

The river valley lives on,
And so do its people,
With pride and dignity.
For they have survived against great odds,
Won a few battles, and are ready for those to come,
As the struggle for justice are not one,
But have to be won many times over,
Till all humanity and life is on one side,
On the other side there none.

II The ‘big family’ secret

The gathering today bears witness to rich experiences,
For those who are with struggles, and struggling to move on.
To be generous in struggle is easier said than done,
To share credit and remember to name,
To ask and appreciate,
Both the known and the unknown.
To make every supporter feel special,
Is a task that comes from the heart.
The NBA has created a culture,
Difficult for the light hearted,
Though not easy, its important,
As struggles now mark every region,
The river valleys, forests and coastal regions.
Along highways, heartless cities and every labouring hand.

It is difficult to be generous,
Be it in pain or success,
To give everyone a share,
Is not easy for those who cannot care.
Like in a large family, to which many belong,
Some may work very hard,
Some others less than others,
Some take the strain,
And others the pain,
Still others take credit,
And for some its only debit.
The children add joy,
The elders continuity,
Some are able,
Some not so capable,
But when it matters, they are all there,
That’s makes a difference,
The ability to share,
Beyond what seems to be fair,
To be able to look beyond,
A vision on what matters,
Beyond me, just now and today,
Thinking of the time to come.
And world more just to its people.

There is value in giving everyone s name,
And sharing a little fame,
One might falter and fall, but not die.
As its important, to live and move on.

The Andolan is a large family,
Gathering strength like a small stream,
Becoming a mighty river,
A force to reckon with,
With the power to stand up to its cause,
And support others and lend their voice,
Against injustice anywhere,
As that’s the calling they share.

This small lesson I have learnt,
In the little time I traveled along,
From co-travelers and leaders,
In The Valley School I have known,
The Narmada Bachao Andolan.