By Dineshchandra Semwal
Rajasthan. We began our journey on October 31, 2015 from Diggi, a village of Tonk district, Rajasthan.
Mr. Rakessh Singh, a senior member of Navdhanya with his companion Dr. M.P.Singh, Dinesh Chandra Semwal and Vinod Sharma led this‘Beeja Satyagrha Yatra’ aimed to promote traditional Mustard and to oppose G.M. Mustard and Chemical farming in the state. The Yatra, which was launched in Navdanya farm, Dehradun and in Delhi on July 31, 2015, has now covered an approximate distance of 5000km. in various district of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarapradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan continuously.
Our group leader Mr. Rakesh Singh echoed the aims and concept of the Mustard Satyagrh Yatra: to conserve traditional seeds and Save the Mustard, to promote organic farming systems in India against chemical farming, G.M and Bt. Seeds. Mr. Singh stressed on the conservation of water, soil, forest (Jal Swaraj, Bhoo Swaraj, Van Swaraj), all forms natural resources.
It was a zero silence
We started the meetings with farmers by first talking about the importance of seeds in our tradition and culture and describing Navdanya working in this direction more than 3 decades. We have noticed that seed saving is a common practice in these villages and most of the people have animal stock, but some of them are using hybrid seeds and Bt. cotton and Bt maize with hazardous chemicals and pesticides, they said. Bt seed grower farmers were not able to estimate their annual expenditure on chemical farming. Dr. M.P Singh explained to them about the agenda of agro-biotech companies through which they want to take over seed companies and make India dependent on expensive genetically modified seeds. The next target of the companies is to corporatize our mustard seed he said. It was a zero silence when we were talking about which dangers GM mustard poses to our farming system. These conversations covered health issues, yields, chemical agriculture and the rise of the profit making seed giants like Monsanto, who now control 95 percent of cotton in India through its agent companies.
Influenced by Navdanya’s message, famers came out in a large numbers to collect our local mustard seeds. They requested us for more seeds, as they also wanted to share this seed with their neighbours. At the end of every meeting during this Yatra, we signed for no GM, no chemical farming and Sarson Bachao, Sarson Baddhao Pledge with slogans, confirming we will not buy and grow genetically modified seeds and chemical fertilisers and pesticides. We also distributed Navdanya newsletter * Beej Swaraj, Anna Swaraj* in each village. We covered thousands of people in 8th villages of the Ajmer, Jaipur and Tonk districts of the state.
This post is also available in: Hindi