Exhibition: Food for Peace and Justice
On 2 October 2019, the 150th Anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, a international walk (padayatra) started out from Delhi. The objective of padayatris (walkers) was to travel to Geneva to canvass the United Nations on four areas for action: Eradicating Poverty; Stopping Social Discrimination; Mitigating the Climate Crisis; and Reducing Conflict and War. They carried banners portraying Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba with the wording ‘Jai Jagat 2020 – On the Move for Justice and Peace’.
Jai Jagat 2020 was founded on a tradition of campaigning that seeks to discover the injustices that affect communities, learn from them and organise actions to bring positive change. Gandhi and Kasturba used this campaigning technique to great effect to address injustices in South Africa and to help bring and end to British rule in India. Nonviolent and tenacious, Jai Jagat uses mass walking as a slow, strategic and highly effective means for change.
Rajagopal PV, Jill Carr-Harris and the Jai Jagat team have established an international network of sympathetic community organisations in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America that support their aims. Besides walking Jai Jagat employs networking, conferencing, nonviolence training, developing community youth leaders, mobilising women, well maintained press and media relations, a deep understanding of legal issues that affect policy makers, and long-developed experience of negotiating at every level of decision making.
The Jai Jagat 2020 walkers experienced many setbacks, and each time they found ways around the blocks to spread their message of peace and social justice. Jai Jagat 2020 halted in Armenia, mid-March, apparently defeated by Covid-19 restrictions. The walkers returned home to relief work in their various countries.
The walk is not finished, however, and is now due to resume next spring to finish in Geneva in September 2021. Meanwhile there will be a Meal of International Solidarity on 26 September this year in Geneva, and many other places across the globe, and celebrations of Gandhi’s 151st Anniversary on 2nd October. Not only this, but Jai Jagat organised a wide ranging programme of online conferences and webinars on Nonviolence, plus a programme of research on Nonviolent grassroots activism by calling on their international support groups.
In response to its challenges, Jai Jagat has now transformed from a one-year walk into a programme of 10 years of international activity for Justice and Peace. It is now known as Jai Jagat 2030.
Rajagopal P V, (b 1948) son of a Gandhian activist, came to understand the plight of India’s tribal and landless people. He set up youth leadership training across India and co-founded Ekta Parishad in 1991, focusing on people’s control over livelihood resources of land, forest and water, and using Gandhi’s nonviolent campaigning tool of walking to instigate change.
Janadesh 2007, a mass walk from Gwalior to Delhi, led to the Forest Rights Act, was followed by Jan Satyagraha 2012, which culminated in the New Land Reforms Policy (2013) and National Homestead Land Rights Act (2013). Rajagopal is currently working with an international network for Jai Jagat to promote global socio-economic and climate justice.
Rajagopal is the recipient of numerous peace awards. Ekta Parishad was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
Jill Carr-Harris, is a Canadian born activist, trainer and networker in civil society and social movements across the world, particularly in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. Her academic research revolved around Gandhi’s Nonviolence in Educational Leadership.
Currently based in India, her focus has been on women’s empowerment in relation to south-south cooperation, community mobilisation, environmental issues, eco-health, land and resource rights in Asia, Africa and Latin America and promoting nonviolence action, peace and equity.
Jill is the International Coordinator for Jai Jagat 2020 and when the walk was halted in Armenia, she transferred its activity to a programme of online discussion on Jai Jagat 2020’s themes.