Another world is possible

Optimism is a great friend but a bad guide. The Asian Social Forum meeting in Hyderabad, India, deliberately avoided this truism while proclaiming grandly: "Another world is possible". Another world is definitely possible. In fact it exists. The numerous communities that gathered there, with their own stories of survival and governance, are living proof. They, out of the audible limit of the protests against globalisation and sale of the planet to a few corporate houses, have evolved and developed an alternative world. Neither a government's world, nor a private world, but a people's world. That is how the optimism of another world has taken real shape.

 
Last Updated: Sunday 07 June 2015

-- optimism is a great friend but a bad guide. The Asian Social Forum (asf) meeting in Hyderabad, India, deliberately avoided this truism while proclaiming grandly: "Another world is possible". Another world is definitely possible. In fact it exists. The numerous communities that gathered there, with their own stories of survival and governance, are living proof. They, out of the audible limit of the protests against globalisation and sale of the planet to a few corporate houses, have evolved and developed an alternative world. Neither a government's world, nor a private world, but a people's world. That is how the optimism of another world has taken real shape.

In Kerala a village fights loss of employment to mechanisation by forming a community-based 'labour bank'. A village co-operative in Himachal Pradesh wants to compete with global pharmaceutical giants and has been successful in ensuring better prices to primary collectors of medicinal plants. Countries all over Asia have numerous such examples and potential alternative world models.

The secret, that most of the 15,000 asf participants realised, is acting out a response to - not reacting to - a reality not compatible to equal human existence. These communities, after putting in place their alternatives, are better equipped to fight globalisation and misgovernance.

The asf was an opportunity to listen to such experiences. It was like an informal plebiscite on governance, and the general mood of thousands of people couldn't be mistaken as false impressions. The message was clear: some people and issues have been left behind by globalising governance. Like water and indigenous people, traditional grains and farmers' rights, and who should govern whom for what.

Privatising water, genetically modified seeds, access to land and the basic rights of a cleaner environment were the most talked about issues at the meet. India, merging into a globalised set up, must look into these issues seriously and approach them with an open mind. These are the issues that trigger conflicts all over India. Being a land-based economy, the government can't afford to ignore them.

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