|BHOOMI: THE EARTH FESTIVAL 2010|
The first performance was Bhoomi Vandana: an Invocation to Mother Earth by Sandeep Srivastav and his band Ibadat (see picture); the group played a selection of songs dedicated to Mother Earth and inspired by Prakriti – Nature, Bhoomi – Earth, Beej – Seed, Kisan – Farmers and more broadly climate change and environmental awareness.
Dr Shiva, Founder of Navdanya, began the Messages from the Earth session by introducing the Bhoomi movement as one that will help us reclaim our deeper ecological consciousness, the basis of our civilization that has sustained itself over millennia. “Bhoomi aims at waking India from her ecological slumber. As we build jungles of concrete, mine our mountains and forests, pollute and dam our rivers, we turn our backs to the Earth” – says Dr Shiva – “We have forgotten that she supports us, that she gives us foo
d, she gives us water. The fundamental human Right to Food & Wa
ources, the more humanity
is deprived of food and water. The Bhoomi Movement will spread awareness that protecting the Earth is not a luxury. It is the very basis of providing our basic needs. Ecological protection is the most important anti-poverty program for India.”
Navdanya is also playing an active role in articulating Earth Rights, the Rights of the Planet, working with the Bolivian Government which has initiated a process to introduce the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth to complement the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in the UN.
His Excellency Mr Carlos Abad Ortiz, Ambassador of Ecuador to India (in the picture) member of the Bolivarian Alliance, gave a presentation on his country’s ITT project that envisions preserving a large share of oil reserve – situated under a biodiversity hot spot – underground while instituting a fund to act as compensation and investment into alternative renewable energy sources.
His Excellency Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos, the Ambassador of Cuba to India, (in the picture) explored the relation between healthcare and environment by presenting the case of Cuba, where healthcare is universal and accessible to all citizens, and most importantly based on the principle of prevention as opposed to cure, making it a sustainable, resource and energy saving system that places Cuba healthcare level equivalent to that of say, the United States, but without bearing the same financial and environmental costs.
The Film Festival started with the screening of Nitin Nandan’s Jhing Chik Jhing, a Marathi film that revolves around farmers’ suicides in Vidharba. That of farmers’ suicides is one of the core issues Navdanya has been involved with: in response to the threats of GMOs, IPR and monocultures that led to huge indebtedness, driving farmers to suicide, Navdanya has been distributing seeds and creating Community Seed Banks to help the farmers in the suicide belt move away from hybrid, chemical and GM inputs towards ecologically sound, safe and organic agriculture. Since 1991, 54 seed banks have been created across India.
Equally outstanding was the execution of Thumris by Vidya Rao (picture below), who delighted the audience with a selection from the Thumri tradition as well as from the folk and bhakti repertoire, highlighting the idea of “ghat” or “gagar”, earthern pot used across India to store water, grains or cook. The ghat symbolizes Mother Earth and the human body; it was also symbol of the five elements of life.
Finally, a performance by Folk Musicians from Bihar who sang melodious songs about the plight and life of farmers, their trials and tribulations concluded the Jiva Concerts.
Earth Spirit, an exhibition of paintings by Shakti Maira, was on display throughout the day in the Auditorium Foyer.
The selection was from two series: paintings from Pilgrim’s Path (2001) rich in the
Also on display through the day was Bija: the Art of the Seed, Navdanya’s own exhibit of the thousands of varieties of seed conserved in its 20 years of formal existence, including rices, pulses, masale, oilseeds and forgotten foods. Not only did the public express great curiosity and interest in discovering the huge pool of traditional, indigenous varieties found in Nature, they were also thrilled by a chance to interact with those who have been so strongly committed to preserving this invaluable legacy: Navdanya’s seedkeepers and farmers from India.
The Bhoomi Movement has also launched the Gardens of Hope campaign to create 1000 organic gardens in schools and communities over the next three years to reconnect to the Earth, to build food security and conserve biodiversity. Kapila Vatsyayan along with other guests planted a sapling each in IIC’s Gandhi Plaza, to symbolically inaugurate Navdanya/IIC’s own Garden of Hope.
The day’s celebrations ended with Roots and Shoots, Navdanya’s organic dinner that gave guests a taste of the delicious, healthy, chemical free foods Navdanya strives to conserve; the rich and varied menu included traditional Indian preparations of indigenous vegetables and a tempting selection of pickles from across the country.