As part of the Monsanto Tribunal build-up actions, the citizens of Allahabad burn effigies of poison making corporations like Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, PepsiCo, Coke Cola, Nestle, Syngenta, et al on the eve of Quit India Day

Citizens of Allahabad burn Monsanto-Bayer,Dow- Dupont, PepsiCo, Coke Cola, effigies

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CkTJOxmW0AAoNJvBy Indra Shekhar Singh

Allahabad, 9 August 2016 – Commemorating the memory of Quit India Movement 1942, Swaraj Vidyapeeth witnessed coming together of Allahabad’s civil society and Gandhian from all over the country on Tuesday evening. This was also the first day of their third annual Swaraj Mahautsav. This week long festival features workshops, movie screenings and seminars to put forwards the ideals of freedom, swaraj and swadeshi. Each of which has been vital in delivering India freedom from the British colonial empire.

The opening ceremony was organised at Swaraj Vidyapeeth in Allahabad with Navdanya starting at 4:30 pm in the presence of key guests like Dr Mira Shiva, public health policy and drug regulation activist, Kumar Prashant, veteran journalist and head of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, Prof Lal Bhadur Verma, senior professor Allahabad University, Prof R C Tripathi, Dr K S Anandi, editor Nai Azaadi Udgosh.

The event started with the public burning of effigies of poison making foreign corporations like Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, Nestle, PepsiCo, Coke Cola, Dow, Syngenta, et al that are concealing poisonous substances in their products. The junk food and industrial food system is directly responsible for food style diseases like cancer, obesity and diabetes. This was an attempt to spread awareness of these companies and call for their total boycott all over India.
After the effigy burning the gathering assembled to hear the speakers.

Dr Shiva, speaking on the issue of food safety, pesticides and the IPR control of medicines. “ Today the medical corporation are in almost total control of the India. They are attempting to break our safety laws for their profits disregarding public safety. Even as the civili society and doctors are engaging in legal battles in the India court on the pharmaceuticals, the public is still unaware of the dangers such as over prescriptions. The government and people should now be more proactive and present a united stand against the poison makers that are pumping India with disease and death and pushing medicines prices beyond the reach of the poor Indians.”

The second keynote speaker Kumar Prashant, emphasised on the socio-historical perspectives of Swaraj and freedom. Speaking to the gathering he said, “Allahabad is the city of freedom. And this is city where Indian freedom was born. Not only is it the home of Nehru, this city has given birth to countless other freedom fighters who have given India new ideas and inspirations whether it be the first First war of Independence or the second one.”
“Today, to fight the new evil of society we need to adapt Gandhi’s thoughts for modern India. For you see while the bigger MNCs are looting India, Indian MNCs are looting the villages and smaller nations,we have to fight the exploitive ideals that govern these companies,” he further said.

After the speeches, the prashad was given out. The prashad were especially created as a healthy alternative to the junk foods. One of the key aims of the meeting was to highlight that biodiversity and Indian traditional nutritional foods. it consisted of Mahua puri and Bahar achar, Amavat all of which are rich in Vitamin A. Recently, 110 nobel laureates had challenged the Greenpeace and called for the introduction of “golden rice” as the answer to Vitamin A related diseases. The meeting at Swaraj Vidyapeeth presented a challenged to these nobel laureates and their claim. They have even hosted a special meal on 15th August, which will be only consist of traditional dishes that are nutrient rich and tasty and invited the nobel laureates and their boss Bill Gates to learn from India about nutrition.

Indra Shekhar Singh, from Navdanya said, “ Bill Gates and his friends (110 nobel laureates) have claimed that India needs corporate commodities like golden rice to cure our hunger and disease. On 15 August, we have organised a meal to show them that we don’t need their ‘golden rice’, we already have enough biodiversity and nutrition in India to feed us twice over. What we need from them is to stay away from our food systems and our lives, so we can live independently in the swadeshi way. “

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