The 9th Pastoral Parliament –Making Pastorals’ Voices Audible

Thursday, 19th July 2018

Pastoral men, women, youth and children gathering since morning at Rabari Dharmashala at Ambaji in Gujarat, India. Slowly they became like a family of 3000 people. The cheers, energy and enthusiasm can be seen on their faces.

All of them were in their costumes, men were in red, white, plain and designed turbans while women were in red, maroon, black colours. The colours depend on the region they represent. All of them were greeting each-other, many were meeting after the last parliament. It was a cross-regional, cross-intersect meetings, many found their old friends and companions. All were happy as this is their national festival.

On 15 June, 2018, the people gathered not only from 17 districts of Gujarat, but also from 5 states of the country to celebrate pastoralism, to exchange learnings, achievements, progress from last year, challenges, and to seek solutions. Above all was to gain solidarity and to gather collective voice. This 9th parliament was catalyst in making pastorals’ voice audible.

Being audible in political frontiers, in religious corners, and in social spaces.

The most significant achievements of this year was the formation of National Pastoral Alliance and Rajasthan State Pastoral Alliance, access and control of pastorals over 1432 acre of commons land and activating the cadre of youth pastorals.

The issues discussed was ranging from education to livelihoods, from access and control over commons land to ownership over private land, from political representation of pastorals from village to country parliament, from livestock keeping to farming, from migrating families to sadden arise families, from privatization to industrialization and globalization, from laws and policies relating to pastorals to its impact on women in particular. At the end, the parliament came up with a charter of demands.

The participants appreciated the progress of the initiatives made last year and gave guidance for the next year’s intervention. The representatives from other states felt the need of having the similar intervention in their state to energise and activate them. Rajasthan state representatives invited all others for the first ever parliament in their state. The event was widely covered by electronic, print and social media.

The community gave mandate to their nominated representatives to hand over the charter of demands to the local as well as state administration.

After the parliament’s official closure, the participants were looking accomplished to kick off the next year with full of enthusiasm, vivacity and a high spirit, to make a difference in their lives and to make the world yet better place to live with unity, dignity and integrity.

Originally written by NES India Facilitator, Anu Verma

Picture by MARAG