thoughts – kristin prevallet

I am in India, in a small village, where an ashram has been built for women and girls to learn about their right to be educated.
As with all the houses in the village, the ashram is made out of clay. Slogans are painted onto the walls to help boost the revolutionary spirit of the place.
“Lack of knowledge is the cause of fear,” You can kill the body but never the spirit,” Work is worship.”

The ashram also serves as ground zero for a group of poor farmers attempting to seize land from the wealthy, large landowners who live in the cities. The farmers have successfully seized 20,000 acres.
The man in charge of this struggle was educated in Deli, and his philosophy of land ownership is derived not from Marx, but rather from the true democracy established by tribal systems-particularly the Iroquois constitution, which historically is the document on which America’s constitution is based.

The man’s wife is a native Indian-a tribal-who doesn’t speak Hindi. Everyday she picks rice from the field and grinds it into a fine powder to make chapatis, which she sprinkles with gram powder made from ginger, garlic, cumin, and oil. The gram powder is their main source of protein.
There is one white ox that is shared by all of the villagers, and this ox plows the land, irrigates the fields, and hauls building supplies from hut to hut.

From his small hut in the northern state of Bihar, with his small plot of land plowed by a single ox, this man is aware of the creeping forces of industrialization.
He sees the foreign owned factories that loom far on the horizon, and he hears the radio broadcasts of how India is being marketed to western investors. He detests Marxism as much as he detests Capitalism.
From his tiny ashram in the middle of the least developed state in India, he sees how the city and its influences are gradually infecting the village. Although the village grows all of its own food and builds its houses from the clay of the land, it cannot support its own economy. The men have to work as rickshaw drivers in the cities, bringing their money, and their outside influences, inside the village system.

He believes the village is an organized system, and the city is chaos.
He sees the chaos that is entering the village, and he has fought it with torches, machetes, rifles, and knives. He sees that the village system, the vast organism of many small farms all living and working communally to survive, is being swallowed by a bigger system that would remove the people’s rights to live and work off of their own plot of land.
He sees the network of lights and cables as it gradually overtakes the landscape of his village. His neighbors to the left are sure that there is no place on earth that is farther away than Pakistan.