When I spoke to the Magsaysay Award Winner and Gandhian Tribal Land Rights Activist, Sri. P.V. Rajagopal, on the 15th of Oct at Madurai about creating a network of Indigenous Entrepreneurs in India and designing exclusive capacity building programmes for them that will bring in conservation linked livelihoods building as its core and ensure that the cosmo-vision of the Indigenous community forms the basis of its livelihoods activity, he immediate agreed that such a network will be extremely useful, in the post-FRA land rights given to tribal community members across India. He invited me to make a presentation to a group of leaders of such community organizations in central India on the 25-26th of October.
I travelled to this beautiful rural training centre set-up by the followers and friends of late Gandhian worker, Sri. Subba Rao in Katni near Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. Subba Rao had famously faced some tough bands of men involved in decoity and converted them to Gandhian constructive work.
It was here that Rajaji had several of the tribal community land rights institution workers belonging to the Ekta Parishad network join us. We had two days of intense brainstorming along with our friends, Sri. Mutuvelayudham of CCD, Madurai.
Everyone of the leaders present were positively disposed towards the idea and felt that it was being made at the right time as many of them were facing the kind of challenges that I had outlined as a reason why such a network needs to be created in the Indian context. Their concerns ranged from the immediate (marketing, marketability, quality, big trader negotiation, corporate tie-up) to long term.
Samanvaya was requested at the end of the two day consultation to proceed with the overall network concept development with specific programme called the 'Tribal MBA'.
Ram, 28th Oct 2023