Ekta Parishad is a people’s movement dedicated to non-violent principles of action. Our activists work towards building community-based governance (gram swaraj), local self-reliance (gram swawlamban) and responsible government (jawabdeh sarkar). Our aim is to see India’s poorest people gain control over livelihood resources, especially land, water and forest.
We are a federation of approximately 11,000 community based organizations and have thousands of individual members. We are currently operating in 10 states working for the land and livelihood rights of India’s most marginalized communities (tribals, dalits, nomadic communities, agricultural labourers, small and marginal farmers, etc.). Our work is expanding to over 20 Indian States.
In Hindi, ekta translates to “unity” and parishad translates to “forum” or “space”. We believe that the grassroots, the village, is the perfect space in which to plant and nurture the seeds of unity and non-violence that can create positive changes at the social, political and economic levels. We believe that through non-violent struggle (ahimasak sangharsh) the rural communities of India can secure Gandhi’s vision of self-rule gram swaraj. Srijan, or the creation of a self-reliant society, is possible when community ties are strengthened through mutual respect and social equity. It is our responsibility as activists, as citizens of this country and as human beings to make sure that the needs of the deprived communities are no longer brushed aside. Our willingness to trust the principles of truth and non-violent civil disobedience is the way to see that happen.
Ekta Parishad works towards meeting these responsibilities by adhering to the spirit of Satyagraha (truth-force) and Ahimsa (non-violence) demonstrated by Mahatma Gandhi and by providing a platform for the voices of the oppressed, the disenfranchised and the marginalized communities of India. Ekta Parishad follows the principles of Satyagraha and Ahimsa to organize collective non-violence campaigns that act as a counterforce to the social, institutional and physical violence faced by India’s poorest communities. The objective of our non-violent campaigns is to convert the sources of violence to the doctrines of peace and unity through exemplary action.
Ekta Parishad has taken up a land rights campaign called Janadesh, the People’s Verdict, to help the poor gain control over their livelihood resources, especially land, water and forest.