Nonviolent Economy and walking as an art – 9 Jan

The hundredth day of the yatra was a highly engaging day as the team met and interacted with several groups of hundreds of students, NSS cadets and villagers on the way. Lines of school children at short intermittent distances greeted the padyatrees and it was heart warming to see Rajagopal P.V. and Jill shaking hands and giving their blessings to each of the young school children there.
Ramakona – The Satyagraha Village
In Ramakona, the village home to the Jungle Satyagrah of 1930, a garland ceremony for the Gandhi statue was held along with felicitation of the padyatrees who were introduced by Jill Carr-Harris. Rajaji also spoke at this historical place in the context of the freedom struggle. He spoke of his visit to Lakhanwadi early in the morning to honour the Jungle Satyagrah movement and asked the people to keep Gandhi’s message alive in keeping with the rich tradition of the forefathers of this region who carried on the Jungle Satyagraha.
The violent global economy
He also spoke of the pervasive violence that forms the base of the current global economy particularly since the IInd world war. The world since the last 70 years has seen unparalleled proliferation of the arms and ammunition industry so much so that it’s the top most industry in the world and can blow up the white euros more than 70 times over.
A world economy based on arms trade by implication requires a socially unstable and divided society at war with each other. Conflict, rather armed conflict becomes an overwhelming necessity that is normalised in the mediatized everyday narratives of this violent economy.
Violence has entered our vocabulary, our actions, habits, our games and is the colonizer of our minds superimposing itself over the innate nonviolence that every human is born with. No wonder we have seen a massive growth in intra-country and inter-country conflicts all over the world. In fact there is hardly a country that is not at war, overt or covert.
One must ask who is behind all this violence and that leads us to the question, who benefits from all this violence. The corporates that make and sell these merchandise of death and misery are only part of the problem but the political system that sustains itself on these violent strategies are the ones that can be checked for afterall they are supposed to represent people.
Rajagopala addressed these issues in his talk ending with the message that everyone has a small Gandhi in their hearts. The new generation, he said, had to carry the value of Gandhi if we are to save the world from this madness of violence. He said that he felt Ramakona with its heritage of 140 freedom fighters who also adopted the method of Satyagraha was a holy land and the country should be proud of this place.
Walking and Life as an Art
The tree shade meeting
In the meeting the art of walking was discussed in a review of the first hundred days of the Jai Jagat padyatra. Rajaji spoke of walking as an art. Indeed, everything is an art. Eating is an art, talking and listening is an art. Everything we humans do can be an art of it is fine with awareness and with love. This is also a central concept of Buddhist meditation techniques that includes walking mediation also.
In this sense life itself is an art. One must be fully aware of oneself and of the other along with one’s own actions and how they affect the euros around one. Some thinkers posit that what distinguishes us as humans is this ability to abstract and make art. The traditional cultures of the world, and their dances, songs, festival rituals are all forms of art that revolves around synchronisation of movement, visuals and sound. Same goes for the act of walking, particularity when it’s group walking. We must take care to be walking with the group as one and make sure that others in the group don’t get disturbed by how we walk. In fact, to extend this logic, we must think of how to live nonviolence in our lives itself such that no one is hurt by our actions. This will benefit us as well as others and that is the spirit of Savo
daya, the well-being of all.
Nepal Team Farewell
After three days of walking along with the Jai Jagat team in solidarity, the Mahila Ekta team of eleven women from Nepal took leave in the evening. Shanti Sharma, from the Nepal team said that they will organize similar walks in their country to get the government to hear the issues of the people there. She thanked the padyatrees for a very rich experience of walking and for the immensely rich learnings that they are taking back with them.
The Hanuman Mandir
The team reached the Hanuman mandir, a huge 26 acre compound in Jamsawali with some temples still under construction. The head trustee of the the welcomed the team and thanked them for carrying Gandhi’s message and ideals. He also informed of a Rs 65 crore fund granted by the Madhya Pradesh government for the completion of the temple.