When people begin to take control over what are termed as public issues, things begin to change in the right direction. History is replete with such examples. I don't have to reassert the importance of creating public awareness, and what it can do to bring about a meaningful change.
More importantly, the need for people to understand what public policies mean to them. Are these public policies, like the Public Schools in India (there is nothing public about the Public Schools), actually promoting the commercial interests of the companies? I am eagerly waiting for the day when the public begins to scrutinise the so called public policies, and the public takes over the Public Schools.
I was pretty taken by surprise when I heard that a group of people in Chennai were planning to organise a Bt Walk, and thereby creating more awareness among people about the need to take cotrol over their food chain. I must confess that I do not know much about SWAT (the Society for Welfare of All Things), which is behind this peoples' initiative to take the issue of Bt brinjal to the people, but it certainly gives me hope.
Hope in the sense that the day is not far away when people will wake up from deep slumber and question the need and relevance of these unwanted technologies. The Marari panchayat in Kerala did that a few days back with its unique Brinjal Festival (you probably read about it in my previous blog posting). SWAT is following it up with its Bt Walk in Chennai.
And as someone had said: "It takes a village, and then another village, and then another...and a revolution is born."
Here is what SWAT is planning:
THE Bt WALK
A SWAT INITIATIVE TO SPREAD AWARENESS ABOUT GM FOODS
SWAT (Society for Welfare of All Things) is a registered Non-Governmental Organization, working towards the upliftment of our society and our environment without any boundaries or bias.
Monsanto, a U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation, is trying to introduce BT Brinjal (Genetically Modified Brinjal) into the Indian market. The dangers of untested genetically modified (GM) food are mind boggling. Italy, Greece, Austria, Poland and numerous other nations have banned GM food. Innumerable deaths and complications have been recorded all over the world because of GM food.
Developing nations which do not have concrete laws against GM are easy targets for these MNCs. GM foods are patented, meaning, farmers don’t own their seeds anymore. This will give the MNCs an ominous control over our food industry.
In view of this, SWAT will be conducting an awareness rally, THE Bt WALK, on the 5th of January, where all our volunteers will be in an Open Terrace meet, at
VENUE : Jains Eden Park
No:4, Judge Jambulingam Road.,
Chennai – 600 004
TIME : 2:00 PM
DATE : 05/01/2010 (Tuesday)
After an initial session regarding GM food; the current BT Brinjal crisis, our volunteers, with their faces painted thematically, will take to the streets and interact with the general public, spreading awareness about GM food and the hazards that surround it. Brinjals with messages written on them will be given to the public. We hope to educate people about their rights to choose what they wish to eat and the current scenario of GM food in India and in other countries. We hope you can support us in the endeavor by providing us media support and coverage.