The National Convention of Green Socialists held at Junjappana Gudde, Sira, Tumakuru on 24 Sep 2017, as part of the ongoing tax denial Satyagraha against the imposition of G.S.T. on handmade products, among other things, resolved as below:
Introduce zero-tax on natural products, grown through natural farming, such as natural foods, natural cotton, etc, by treating them as handmade products.
Introduce punitive tax on polluting industrial products and/or carbon intensive industrial products.
‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ be included in the preamble of the constitution. We further demand that steps be taken on a war footing to protect the climate, nature, animals and the poor people.
Yogendra Yadav, A.N. Yelllappa Reddy, K.S. Vimala, S.R. Hiremath, Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy, Poornima, Chandan Gowda and others participated in the convention.
Later in the evening, the Padayatra (foot march) began with a few dozen Satyagrahis walking towards their destination, the Kasturba Gandhi Ashram at Arasikere which is around 120 km away from Junjappana Gudde. The Padayatra is expected to reach Arasikere on 2nd October, 2017, after which further measures of the Satyagraha will be decided in consultation with the people at large.
Summary of the proceedings of the convention
“We need to establish Swaraj of Gandhi’s imagination, that is the rule of the self and the rule over the self, in an age where its meaning is being distorted. Swaraj also includes the discharge of one’s duty towards ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’. We need to refrain from destroying the relationship between Nature and Man through taxes or laws”, stated Prof. Yogendra Yadav from Swaraj India Abhiyaan.
Theatre artist and activist Prasanna said, “The term ‘handmade product’ does not merely mean Khadi and handicrafts. The weaver’s cloth, the potter’s pot, the basketmaster’s basket, the cobbler’s footwear, etc are all included in the term handmade. We have forgotten that these handmade goods are handicrafts and vice versa. In fact, all products of the poor are handmade and therefore are handicrafts,” he further added.
“The cow-herd Junjappa’s temple is an unbounded and open yard. Its ceiling is the sky itself. Therefore, its boundaries can encompass India entirely, and even perhaps the world. As socialist, we were hesitant in the past to enter temples. The hesitation was not due to disbelief in the divinity in the temple, but because of the priestly class. However, the hesitancy has vanished now, and we bow our heads down in devotion to Junjappa, the deity of the poor cowherds, artisans and natural farmers. Junjappa’s presence inspires us to stand up with our heads held high and take our next steps with great courage and conviction” he stated.
He ended his remarks by saying, “’The Tax Denial’ Satyagraha will actually be led by Junjappa himself. We merely follow the instructions of Junjappa. Let us liberate our commons, forests, artisanship and natural farming etc. from the vice like grip of profiteering industrialists. Let us enable handmade products to become zero-tax. We demand that the government impose punitive taxes on industries that pollute the environment.”
Environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy spoke on the occasion saying, “The government is duty bound to protect the well being of its citizens and not surrender to the dictates of profiteering of industries or multinationals as it has been consistently doing. For example, whenever environmental degradation by industries poses public health problems such as in the Endosulphon issue, the government continues to violate Supreme Court judgments against its use. Producer responsibility certification should not only be made mandatory, its implementation ought to be strict too.”