Adivasi writer Dayamani Barla presented with Indigenous Rights Award by Cultural Survival – New York


Narayan Lakshman, The Hindu, New York, May 25, 2013 | Read the entire article here >>

Dayamani Barla was presented with the first ever Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award by Cultural Survival, an indigenous peoples’ rights organisation

The Big Apple is renowned as the home of investment banks, glitzy fashion shows and other 21st-century tributes to prodigious wealth accumulation. But on Thursday it played host to a powerful symbol of Indian adivasis’ struggle against oppression, Jharkhand activist and journalist Dayamani Barla.

On a rainy and blustering evening in Manhattan, Ms. Barla, who has been described as the “Iron Lady of Jharkhand” for her fearless opposition to the infringement of adivasi rights was presented with the first ever Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award by Cultural Survival, an indigenous peoples’ rights organisation.

After an eloquent address at the reception in her honour at New York’s National Museum of the American Indian, Ms. Barla told The Hindu that she doubted whether this international recognition would make a difference to the situation in Jharkhand, but added that those who opposed the adivasis’ struggle to preserve “jal, jungle, jameen” may now have pause to consider why the U.S. had thus honoured their cause.

The self-made scribe, who rose from humble beginnings to become the voice of the Munda tribe and other deprived communities, has reason to worry about the situation back home. In all Ms. Barla is said to have nine cases foisted on her by the government and people associated with the award indicated that she had faced obstacles in leaving Jharkhand for this event in the U.S. […]

Terry Odendahl of Global Greengrants Fund, who nominated Ms. Barla for the award, reflected on the Jharkhand police’s attempts to silence her protests when she said, “Dayamani’s jailing was a reminder to civil rights activists across the nation of the unfriendly role the Jharkhand state is taking towards drivers of democratic change.” […]

On Thursday, a captivated audience of human rights lawyers, academics, and members of indigenous communities from across the world listened as Ms. Barla said that in the span of 12 years, the Jharkhand government had signed 104 MoUs with corporate, 98 per cent of which were mining interests with a strong demand for natural resources in the region.

“If the government gives land for mining to all companies, Jharkhand will lose its environment and the land will become infertile,” Ms. Barla explained, adding that in 10 years, the population of displaced people would increase four-fold, permanently destroying indigenous habitats and livelihoods.

Source: World listens to ‘Iron Lady of Jharkhand’ in the Big Apple | The Hindu
Address : http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/world-listens-to-iron-lady-of-jharkhand-in-the-big-apple/article4747354.ece
Date Visited: Fri May 31 2013 13:24:27 GMT+0200 (CEST)

Anumeha Yadav, The Hindu, Ranchi, May 23, 2013

On Thursday, Cultural Survival, an international NGO, recognized the work of the leader of several of such people’s movements in Jharkhand – tribal activist and journalist Dayamani Barla – awarding her the 2013 Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award for protecting the rights of tribals. For this award, Ms. Barla was chosen from among 60 international nominees.

Dayamani Barla, 48, a Munda adivasi has led people’s movements against displacement for over decade gained prominence when she travelled across villages in four districts in Jharkhand organizing villagers who were opposed to giving up their agricultural land for setting up of Arcelor Mittal’s steel plant over 11,000 acres of land. She led the Adivasi Moolwasi Astitva Raksha Manch in Gumla and Khunti citing Chotanagpur Tenancy Act which prohibits sale of tribal land to non-tribals. […]

Born in a farmer’s family in Arhara village in Khunti, Dayamani Barla worked as a domestic help in her childhood cleaning utensils in Ranchi to support her school education after her family were cheated of their land by a businessman from a nearby village. She worked as a typist to support her college education, founded the Jan Hak Patrika, and for some years reported on rural issues for Prabhat Khabar, a Hindi daily. She and her husband Nelson now run a tea-shop in Ranchi to support their public work. “Perhaps this international award will make the government realize how wrong it was to put Dayamani in jail,” said Nelson, her husband.

In an email to The Hindu Dayamani Barla shared that while speaking at New York City on Thursday she planned to share an account of the 2000 Koel-Karo anti-big dam movement in which eight people were killed, adivasi farmers’ resistance to giving up farmland for RPG Group coal mines in Kathikud block of Dumka in which one person was killed in police firing, the movement against Panem coal mines in Dumka whose leader Sister Valsa was killed in 2010, and other ongoing struggles over land in Jharkhand.

“Adivasis’ struggle will transform the current structure of natural resource ownership and economic inequality into a real democratic society with diversity, multiplicity and cultural existence of every community. Adivasi communities have a future also because their basic social and cultural philosophy, nature and consciousness is linked with the quest for scientific and new ideas,” she said.

Source: Jharkhand tribal activist gets Ellen L. Lutz Award – The Hindu
Address : http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jharkhand-tribal-activist-gets-ellen-l-lutz-award/article4743299.ece?ref=relatedNews
Date Visited: Wed Apr 16 2014 19:58:34 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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