‘Respect India’ call made at non-violent Koodankulam protest similar to ‘Quit India’ call of freedom struggle against Britain

by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy.

Respect India’ is a call similar to ‘Quit India’ fervently made by the ordinary citizens of India here at Idinthakarai on May 8, 2012.

‘Quit India’ was a civil disobedience movement launched in response to Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ speech delivered on August 8, 1942 at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay. Gandhiji’s call for determined, but passive resistance appeared in his appeal to “Do or Die.”

India is facing a similar “Do or Die” situation today as our sovereignty, independence, freedom, natural resources, livelihood of the poor, their right to life, and the very future of the country are at imminent peril. The ruling class and their establishment care for the rich and powerful at the cost of the poor and powerless. There is no respect for ordinary Indian citizens’ life or dignity.

Just as the freedom fighters asked the colonial rulers to ‘Quit India,’ we, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy fighters, request the corrupt and communal ruling class in India to ‘Respect India,’ respect the Indian citizens’ lives, rights and entitlements.

Agitation against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project, filmed during the last indefinite hunger strike that was called off on 26th of April 2012

The Indian society is in a desperate need for something like Albert Schweitzer’s personal philosophy of “Reverence for Life” (“Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben“). He rightly argued that the Western civilization (which Gandhiji called “a good idea”) was decaying because it had abandoned affirmation of and respect for life as its ethical foundation.

When many Westerners are challenging their own establishments and value systems, Indian rulers are mindlessly imitating the same consumerist, hedonistic and globalization values and pushing our country to the brink of death and decay.

To give an example, most countries around the world such as Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan are phasing out and closing down their nuclear power plants. But the Indian rulers are planning to open mega nuclear power parks at the following coastal sites without giving all the information to the local people or getting their consent:

-Koodankulam, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu (Russian);

-Kalpakkam, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu (Indian);

-Kovvada, Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh (American);

-Haripur, Purba Medinipur District, West Bengal (Russian);

-Jaitapur, Ratnagiri District, Maharashtra (French); and

-Mithi Virdi, Bhavnagar District, Gujarat (American).

More nuclear power plants are planned in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and elsewhere. As a result of our ruling class’s nuclear madness, our land, water, air, sea, sea life, sea food and food security will all become spoiled and poisoned.

In India today, power and arrogance has become the pinnacle of political life; materialism and exploitation has become the foundation of economic life; and discrimination and hatred has become the hallmarks of social life. Success has come to mean to be rich and selfish. If you are small, soft and slow (and not super-sized, strong and swift), you are a loser. And you deserve your fate of poverty and misery, and marginalization and exploitation

The political class’s heartless plundering of the national resources, the capitalist class’s obsessive exploitation of the natural resources, the upper castes’ ruthless exploitation of the poor and downtrodden and the overall immorality have driven most Indians to desperation. Hence, ourfarmers are committing suicide all over the country; our adivasis are fleeing their forest land; our youth are joining the ranks of extremist groups; our men are taking to drugs and alcohol; our women are resigned to their fate; and our children are unhealthy and hopeless

There are two Indias today: the rich and powerful India whose life is deemed to be important and valuable; and the poor and powerless India whose life is condemned as unimportant and dispensable. The dirty ordinary Indians are forced to sacrifice their lives for the holy extraordinary Indians.

If we believe in Satya, Swaraj and Sarvodaya, we must challenge and change our national situation. Indian life must be made valuable and indispensable, no matter who they are and where they stand on the national socioeconomic-political pyramid. To ‘Respect India’ is to respect every Indian life. To respect Indian life means putting Indian life above and beyond everything else, such as elections, energy security, GDP, MNCs, FDI, Forbes list and so forth.

The Program of Action to ‘Respect India’ must include:

-Provide basic necessities to all Indians here and now;

-Provide safe drinking water to all Indians everywhere;

-Provide proper nutrition to all mothers and children all over India;

-Bring dignity to all Indians with toilets, public amenities, health
care and insurance;

-Implement land reform all over India and protect the farmers and farming;

-Safeguard the interests of adivasis, fisher folks, Dalits and other minorities;

-Avoid ‘development’ projects that destroy people’s resources and livelihood.

-Implement pro-people, pro-Nature and pro-Future decentralized sustainable projects.

When the central and state governments respect Indian life and do the above things, our own people will begin to respect Indian life, and the rest of the world will do the same also. So, ‘Respect India.’

The Struggle Committee
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

8 Comments

  1. Campaign by PMANE is a True inspiration and makes the record strengthen that non violent agitation has a place in this world towards working noble causes.

  2. I don’t support this agitation. I am living in Chennai and we have no issues with the Kalpakkam.

    When there are so many nuclear reactors all over the world it is foolish to disband the nuclear reactors here. We can ask for increased safety, but we cannot wish away the nuclear reactors.

    Apart from that we need nuclear power plants for doing research also.

    Our fossil fuels are very less and it is not a bad idea to get some energy from the nuclear reactors.

    I don’t think this anti nuclear agitation in Koodankulam has any public support here in Tamil Nadu.

    These people who spearhead seem to be having hidden agendas.

    This may not succeed.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Why is Japan closing down its nuclear reactors? What is the hidden agenda of PNAME?Does Bhushan have a hidden agenda too? If agitation does not have people support why are thousands of Armed men stationed there? What is the agenda(hidden)of those supporting the project? If Gandhian non -violent protests are dismissed so casually then what is the alternative?

  3. Tamilnadu already has installed Wind Turbine capable of producing 6007MW if it could run with its full capacity. Even during the south west monsoon they cannot run with full power because the government hasn’t installed grid with enough capacity. Because the wind turbine can supply only during south west monsoon the Tamilnadu government is reluctant to install. To install 1000MW nuclear plant it has taken 15 years and lot of money but within one year they can install a combination of wind and solar (hybrid) to the same 1000MW with little money. Instead of wasting money they must encourage the wind turbine owners to convert them into Hybrid by giving interest free loans. Not only they can save billions of dollars also they can give jobs to thousands of people because each and every component of wind turbine are manufactured in Tamilnadu itself.

  4. DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Why is Japan closing down its nuclear reactors? What is the hidden agenda of PNAME?Does Bhushan have a hidden agenda too? If agitation does not have people support why are thousands of Armed men stationed there? What is the agenda(hidden)of those supporting the project? If Gandhian non -violent protests are dismissed so casually then what is the alternative?

    ————————

    Sir,

    The fact of the matter is that the ordinary people in the state don’t support this agitation.

    When these people’s concern are addressed one after the other they say that we don’t want nuclear reactors. That is the mantra they seek to say when pushed to a corner.

    The reactors shut down by the Japan are officially shut down for maintenance, though it may be difficult for the govt to reactivate them winning the support of the people.

    Democracy is for the people by the people and of the people. But there are also silent majority whose wishes have also to be taken into consideration.

    We can talk, about these issues but the fact of the matter is that the common man in the streets is not interested with the anti nuclear agitations.

    Prashant Bhushan, Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Kejriwal etc I believe, don’t do the agitations in the Gandhian way.

    If Hazare’s demands are accepted then it will result in the death of the democracy.

    Their agitation was largely driven by the media. That is the reason that no sooner the media withdrew its coverage they themselves began to lose interest in the agitations.

    Gandhian methods were different. Gandhi was unique. His ‘My Experiments with Truth’, I have read when I was studying in school.

    He was a fighter, who would wait for some inner voice, some divine mantra, like Karo aur Maro (Do or Die).

    Hartal was his invention.

    He fought against his own infirmities. he would sit on hunger strike to clean himself of dross.

    He would go on Mouna Vratham (silence) every monday to control his senses.

    Where is Gandhi and where are these guys.

    In the name of hunger strike this Anna Hazare and his gang were blackmailing the govt. to do some thing and not to do something.

    Their demands for corruption free govt is understandable and also we can support it. But the way they went for achieving their objective is not Gandhian way.

    Their initial demand and their suggested solution were all going against the very grain of democracy.

    Sorry Sir. I don’t support the agitations of these people.

    OK Mahesh.I will emulate the Mahatma and go on a “Mouna Viratham”…………DBSJ

  5. There is no hidden agenda spending so much to import Reactor,uranium and to foreign workers to install and run. Even though it will be more expensive than even producing electricity using natural gas India still need to run nuclear plants because the spent fuel of the plants only used in the atomic bombs. India is a country having a supper power in the north with Atomic bombs and to defend the country they need it. It should be explained to the people rather than cheating nuclear is cheap. It may be cheap to Russia or America but not to India. Even Russia has stopped building new plants after Chernobyl disaster. When India feel the plants they are having is good enough to supply spent fuel to the Atomic bombs they must stop building new.

  6. MAHESH….. says…”These people who spearhead seemed to be having hidden agendas”. Are you saying China or Pakistan is behind them. Your government only hiding the real purpose of those plants. If these thinks are explained to the people they wouldn’t get so much opposition to it. I cannot write against to the koodankolam people because I don’t know the real location and its surrounding and the reason causes fear to the people.

  7. OK Mahesh.I will emulate the Mahatma and go on a “Mouna Viratham”…………DBSJ

    ———–

    Sir, I have no word to answer this one. You win like you always do and have made me go speechless.

  8. DBS,
    Just a clarification, Japan has not abandoned its nuclear power program. They have shut down the reactors as a precautionary measure to ensure that lessons learned from Fukashima are properly applied. As a country with no other energy sources like oil or coal, Japan in the long run, can not do away with nuclear power and hope to be a leading industrial nation.

    As for the Indian nuclear plant at Koodankulam, if the plant is designed properly and operated properly it should not pose any danger to the surrounding public in Tamil Nadu and a far less danger to Sri Lanka. However, in a country such as India with no known safety culture and operational discipline in running industrial plants, whether you can operate such a plant safely is an important question that needs to be addressed.

    As for promise of wind power, it is just that a promise that has never been fulfilled, even in countries like Germany which has a huge installed capacity of wind power. To give an example, Ontario currently has about 1100 MW of wind capacity installed at present. On a good day, you are lucky if you get 30% of that installed capacity delivering the power. The other factor is the cost. again in Ontario, the power that is produced by nuclear, hydro, coal or natural gas costs around 4-6 cts/kwh – that is the price at which the Ontario government buys the power from utilities like Ontario Power Generation or Bruce Power. In the meantime, the government pays something like 58 cts/kwh for the power produced from solar or wind.

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