The Second Struggle

Media Briefing and Release of Down To Earth Hindi, Ranchi, April-May 2018

CSE brought together journalists from Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, along with activists, academicians, government representatives and members of the common public at a conference in Ranchi to understand and discuss the Patthargadi movement – the call for local self-governance -  in India’s tribal heartland. The latest issue of Down To Earth in Hindi, the monthly magazine that CSE helps publish, was officially released at the event. The magazine has the Patthargadi movement as its cover story in its April 2018 issue.

Speakers at the meet pointed out that the tradition of Patthargadi  is not new: tribal communities have practiced it for years. According to them, it is simply an assertion of the villager’s right to resources and their management, and the movement has emerged out of the realization that not enough is being done to improve the lot of tribal societies in the country. 

The one day conference was followed by a field-trip to villages in the Khunti district – where the Patthargadi movement is emerging as a powerful way of establishing local self governance. Accompanied by journalists from across India, and local activists, the visit was led by Ms Sunita Narain, director general, CSE. The trip provided journalists a first-hand experience of the movement, while also introducing them to the perspective of a people whose demands, even though backed by India’s constitution, are being deemed illegal and anti-national by authorities.

The meeting and trip proved to be a success – as both the tribals and the journalists got the opportunity to interact with one another on numerous issues plaguing the village communities, while the residents of the villages – after an initial phase of distrust – freely expressed their perspective, their hopes from the Indian constitution, which the media present at the occasion will be able to communicate to the audience at large.