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#India – Faking Happiness is forced to Present the ‘ VEDANTA ANTHEM” #HipHop #mustshare

Kamayani for FAKING HAPPINESS CAMPAIGN

 

 

An Indo-German collaboration with production by the talented DJ BC from Germany and the lyrics and vocals by A-List from India. A List is a raptivist and a member of Faking Happiness campaign. This track is a quick freestyle in response to Vedanta trying to salvage it’s reputation by sponsoring , NDTV‘S ”  Our Girls Our Pride ” , a  PR Exercise and a desperate attempt to salvage themselevs after they were kicked out  by the Gramsabhas and after attempting to exploit the Dongria Kondh  tribal community in Odhisa for the Niyamgiri Hills.

 

Pic- courtesy Down to Earth

It has been learnt that Mining Giant Vedanta, is shitting  in their pants after  their exposure by  Faking Happiness: Activists Strike Back at Vedanta Ad Campaign, which was such a huge set back. Recently , after they were Kicked out in a Match of 12-0, by the Dongria Kondh ,  tribal of Odisha, they have once again planned a Corporate social responsibility ( CSR)  campaign, called ‘Our Girls our pride and once again, we are back with a   BANG.

 

Our two petitions  to NDTV and Priyanka Chopra haS crossed the 2500 mark, do sign if you have not so far, if you have not  ?

NDTV WITHDRAW VEDANTA

and

PRIYANKA CHOPRA WITHDRAW AS AMABASSADOR

 

Faking Happiness also  sent birthday wishes wishes Happy Birthday Dr Prannoy Roy – Withdraw Vedanta #ourgirlsourpride

So, Now Vedanta, CSR initiative is in a soup , as many  Craetive Faces with Political Voices, join Faking Happiness Anti Vedanta Campaign , and the voices are increasing every day

Hence, what they did ?

 They kidnapped, our very own , Ashwini Mishra aka A-list while he was  recording at his studio, and  coerced him to  to sing the ‘ VEDANTA ANTHEM “, they wanted to tell world that…… they will not take their defeat down and here are the lyrics—-

We are Vedanta, everywhere that we go,
Faking Happiness, you know how we roll,
We are Vedanta, everywhere that we go,
Faking Happiness, you know how we roll,
That’s right, this is the Vedanta anthem,
All the corporate greedy people chant them,
That’s right, this the Vedanta anthem,
All the corporate greedy people anthem,
That’s right, let’s go ahead and do this,
We thought we’d put our corporate greed to some music,
And tell you exactly where we come from,
Come on man, this is not a protest, this not a dumb song,
You see we kidnapped A-List, he’s in the back,
So Vedanta rep could come here and rap,
And tell you the truth,
That is the youth,
That needs to understand this is so much more than booth,
SO,
Listen to this, let the world know,
Matter of fact, for the girls though,
Let’s really talk about ‘coz the world dies,
When we build a mine, but we do the girl child,
We do a program for them on NDTV,
And now look, all these emcees be free,
But they never really talk about what we do,
“Coz corporate sponsorship taken, BOOM!
Now what you gonna do, what you gonna say,
‘Coz we do this like every single day,
Exploiting poor people like it is fun,
Actually it is when that shit has done

This is Vedanta and this is our anthem,
All the corporate greedy people chant them,
This is Vedanta and this is our anthem,
All the corporate greedy people chant them

That’s right, ain’t this a crazy world,
We are evil but we got Desi Girl,
That’s right, we got Priyanka Chopra to endorse us,
Now we got all kinds of endorsements,
All sorts of people saying that it’s cool,
What they did in the past, but they sent kids to school,
But hear the truth, we didn’t send anyone though,
That’s right, and that’s how we get through the flow,
That’s right, yo, this is such a crappy fest,
We make an art form out of  faking happiness,
And that’s us, that’s the Vedanta anthem,
All the corporate greedy people chant them,
And yo, you know Niyamgiri’s ill,
And we will come back, we will take Niyamgiri Hill,
And all the tribal people who had opposed us,
Come on man, you had proposed us
To be gone, but we will be back,
And when we come, we will come, we will be wrath,
We will buy over the police and the army,
That’s right, I’m rich, tell me who’ll harm me,

Vedanta Signing Out.


SO WHATS THE BACKGROUND OF VEDANTA AND WHY YOU SHOULD BE BOTHERED ?

BACKGROUND

Niyamgiri hills, home to 8,000-odd Dongria Kondhs, tribal group, a few hundred Kutia Kondhs and other forest-dwellers who eke out a living cultivating pulses, paddy and collecting naturally-grown horticultural crops, is considered sacred by the indigenous tribes and others as it is the abode of Niyamraja – their presiding deity.

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had rejected (Stage-II /final approval) Forest Clearance on 24.8.2010 for the Bauxite mining on the basis of issues outlined by the Forest Advisory Committee which stated that ‘the Primitive Tribal Groups were not consulted in the process of seeking project clearance and also noticed the violation of the provisions of Forest Rights Act, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and also the impact on ecological and biodiversity values of the Niyamgiri hills upon which the Dongaria Kondh and Kutia Kondh depend’ and the detailed report of Naresh Sexana Committee specially appointed to look into the issue. This MoEF Order was challenged in a petition at the Supreme Court of India by Orissa Mining Corporation.

The Supreme Court of India had decided on 18 April 2013 that if Bauxite Mining Project of Vedanta affects the religious right of Schedule Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers like Dongaria Kondh, Kutia Kandha and others over the Niyamgiri hills in Odisha ‘right has to be preserved and protected’. The Court has left it to the Gram Sabhas to decide if such right is affected by the proposed mine.cts.

In India  first time an environmental referendum was conducted on a directive by the Supreme Court to find out whether mining in Niyamgiri will tantamount to an infringement of the religious, cultural, community and individual rights of local forest-dwellers. During July-August this year, 12 gram sabhas, selected by the Odisha government for the referendum on mining in Niyamgiri hills, had rejected the proposal. The tribal villages, located on the hill slopes, are part of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts.

image

1.   The first  village council  was held at Serakpadi village of Raygada district.  In the sabha 36 out of 38 voters in the first Palli Sabha in Niyamgiri have voted against mining in Niyamgiri.

2.T he second, three hour long ,  village council meeting at Kesarpadi in Rayagada district-, in which -Thirty-three of 36 eligible voters , including all 23 women, voted against bauxite mining……At the three-hour-long sabha, 33 of 36 adult voters from Kesarpadi  unanimously adopted a resolution as per the Forest Rights Act, conveying their opposition to mining in the Niyamgiri hills.

3  The third village council meeting was held in a non -tribal forest hamlet of Tadijhola, which is imporant note also  unanimously rejected proposed bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills t.Nineteen of the 22 voters in the village were present  including eighty-seven year old Sugri Gouda. Hard of hearing and barely able to stand on her own, she insisted on signing the resolution before leaving the meeting venue. Three bare words she uttered drew a cheer from those present: “Niyamgiri dibu nai” (won’t give up Niyamgiri). Gauda was the also most sought after by media, with a slew of video cameras following her fragile steps as a family member walked her home.

4.  The villagers of Kunakeda, a Dongaria Kondh village in Kalahandi district, today unanimously rejected the proposal for mining in Niyamgir..All 21 out of 22 voters, who attended the meeting, voiced their opposition to Vedanta .

5  The 5th village coucil meeting w s held at Palberi, where .Fifteen of the 16 adult voters from the forest village were in attendance. and voted out vedanta.

 

6 The sixth Pali sabha , Batudi rejected settlement of community forest claims in Niyamgiri ,  31 among 40 voters from the hamlet in attendance, also rejected a joint verification report to settle community and religious rights to the forests granted under the Forest Rights Act of 2006.

7  The seventh village council , Phuldumer – again voted unanimously to reject Vedanta’s mine.—49 of the 65 listed voters were present to voice their opinion, in the meeting.

8  Ijurupa  village council meeting was a CLASSIC ,  where there is just a famiily, and the  four  members of te family nailed down a 72 MT mining proposalvillage in Kalahandi district, Odisha

9   At Lamba ninth pallisabha ,Braving intermittent rain, the 38 voters in the remote village, ousted Vedanta

10.The largest village council fo 12 villages , Lakhpadar village under Kalyansinghpur of Rayagada district located on the slopes of Niyamgiri, the 97 Dongaria Kondhs present in the pallisabha unanimously rejected the proposal to mine the hills for bauxite.

11. Khambasi village in Rayagada district , was the  the eleventh palli sabha , which  also unanimously opposed Vedanta

12-   On August 19th In Jerapa, 16 out of 26 voters, including 10 women, gathered at the final Palli Sabha on Niyamgiri. Under heavy police presence, and in heavy rain, they repeated the statements given in previous meetings – that they opposed the mine and would not leave the mountain no matter what. The twelve voters said they were ready to face bullets to prevent the digging of their sacred mountain.

On August 19th, NDTV and VEDANTA LAUNCHED the ‘ our girls our pride’ campaign. Coincidence ?

 

While our friends at  FOIL VEDANTA protested on the streets of london , On August 1st at the AGM  of Vedanta , When asked about Lanjigarh refinery and the scandal that is the attempted Niyamgiri mine, Anil Aggarwal ,  responded with a dreamy speech about believing that Niyamgiri was meant for Vedanta. he talked about hearing about Kalahandi as a child – a ‘black spot’ on India, and its ‘poorest poorest place’, and how he’d always wanted to do something about it. He said:

“We took courage to go there, no road even or bridge, it was all isolated, we created infrastructure, 7000 got work, not a blade of grass was moved in Niyamgiri .”

DOWNLOAD FULL PROCEEDINGS HERE

 

JOIN US – FAKING HAPPINESS

 

 

 

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क्या प्रियंका चोपड़ा आदिवासियों बेटियों की गुनहगार है ? #NDTV #Priyankachopra #Vedanta

priyankahindi

प्रियंका चोपरा  विश्व का एक बड़ा तपका आप से माँग करता है की आप NDTV-वेदांता “our girls our pride”  ” हमारी लड़किया हमारा गौरव ” मे राजदूत के रूप से  काम  कर रही है , आप को इस पार्ट्नरशिप से अलग हो जाना चाहिए ! इस कार्यक्रम के साथ वेदांता का नाम जुड़ा है ! वेदांता  मानवाधिकार , पर्यावरण , आंदोलनकारियों की हत्या एवं भ्रष्टाचार जैसे संगीन आरोपो से लिप्त है !

वेदांता “खुशी” एक सोशियल मीडीया जन संपर्क कार्यक्रम है ! असल मे बच्चो को रोटी कपड़े और शिक्षा के नाम पर वेदांता अपने काले कर्मो पर परदा डाल रही है ! अपनी काली कमाई से बड़े बड़े आयोजन कर समाज मे अच्छी छवि के लोगो को इन आयोजनो मे बुला कर ,  बच्चो को रोटी कपड़े बाँटने के नाम पर वेदांता सिर्फ़ अपना काला चेहरा ढँक रही है ! आपको और NDTV  को इसी चाल के तहत वेदांता ने फसाया है !

अम्नेस्टी इंटेनाटिओनल की रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक ओरिसा मे डोंगरिया कॉंड समुदाय का मानना है की वेदांता प्रॉजेक्ट के कारण उनका समुदाय विलोपन की कगार पर आ जाएगा दूसरी ओर वमसाधारा नदी मे वेदांता अलमुनिूम रेफीनिरी के वेस्ट मॅनेज्मेंट प्लांट के फेल हो जाने से , सारा ज़हरीला लाल कीचड़ नदी मे बह आया है , सारी नही दूषित हो गई ! आस पास के कई समुदाय और प्रांत उस पानी को पीते थे , उसी पानी से जाने कितने पंछी , जानवर और पानी मे रहने वाले जीव अपना जीवन यापन करते थे ! कुछ नही रहा , कोई कदम नही !

वेदांता फेकिंग हॅपीनेस सोशियल मीडीया पर चलने वाला एक ऐसा कार्यक्रम है , जिसने वेदांता “खुशी” की पोल खोल दी है ! वेदांता का असल चेहरा समाज के सामने प्रस्तुत कर रहा यह कार्यक्रम , वेदांता के खिलाफ आदिवासीओं की आवाज़ बन कर उभरा है ! आज पूरे विश्व से हज़ारो लोग वेदांता फेकिंग हॅपीनेस से जुड़े हुए है !

सुप्रीम कोर्ट के आदेश पर जब नियँगिरि मे आदिवासी वेदांता के खिलाफ एक जुट हो रहे थे  उन्ही दिनो वेदांता ने NDTV  के साथ जुड़ “हमारी लड़किया हमारा गौरव” लॉंच किया ! सारे विश्व मे हो रही अपनी बदनामी से मूह छुपाने के लिए वेदांता ने यह चाल चली ! वेदांता फेकिंग हॅपीनेस ने  NDTV  एवम् प्रियंका चोपरा के नाम ऑनलाइन पीटीशॅन लिखी के वो अपना नाम ” हमारी लड़किया हमारा गौरव ” से वापिस ले लें ! इस पीटीशॅन को पूरे विश्व भर मे सराहा जा रहा है और वेदांता की काली करतूतो के खिलाफ हज़ारो लोग रोज़ जुड़ रहे है !

PRIYANKA CHOPRA WITHDRAW AS AMABASSADOR FROM OUR GIRLS OUR PRIDE CAMPAIGN

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Priyanka_Chopra_WITHDRAW_from_Our_Girls_Our_Pride_Campaign_NDTV_Vedanta_CSR/

NDTV WTHDARW VEDANTA AS A PARTNER IN OUR GIRLS OUR PRIDE CAMPAIGN

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/NDTV_Withdraw_Vedanta_as_a_Partner_in_Our_Girls_Our_Pride_Campaign/

 

नियँगिरीर के बुंदेल गाव से आंदोलन की शूरवात हुई , कई बार कई आंदोलन दबा दिए गये ! कई आंदोलनकारी मौत की नींद सो गये ! कई ऐसे आदिवासी समुदाय हैं , की अगर उनको यहाँ से हटाया गया तो , दुनिया के मानचित्र से उनका नाम इतिहास हो जाए गा ! भौतिकटावादी, युग मे जंगल की खूब कीमत लगाई है हम ने , इंसानो की कीमत भूल कर …

वेदांता भारत ही नही पर भारत के बाहर भी कई घूसखोरी के आरोपो से घिरा पाया गया , और जहाँ आरोप साबित हुए , पकड़ा भी गया ! भारत मे आदिवासियों की ज़मीन हथियाने मे वेदांता ने पी एच डी प्राप्त की , सीसा गोआ मे कई बार वेदांता पर भू माफिया के साथ मिल कर अवैध खनन के आरोप लगे ! कर्नाटक मे भी यही गाथा दोहराई गई !

वेदांता के हर प्रॉजेक्ट मे मानवाधिकार की बलि चड़ी ! जिन परिवारों को वेदांता ने लूटा , ज़मीने छीनी , जिन मजदूरो का  मानवाधिकार हनन हुआ , उनको या उनके बच्‍चों को कोन सी ” खुशी” देगी  वेदांता ?

आदिवासीओं के खून मे लिप्त वेदांता आप के नाम के पीछे अपनी काली करतूतों को छुपाने का घिनोना प्रयास कर रही है !

द्वारा,
राहुल देवेशवर

वेदांता फेकिंग हॅपीनेस, कैंपेन

https://www.facebook.com/groups/fakinghappiness/

 

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Happy Birthday Dr Prannoy Roy – Withdraw Vedanta #ourgirlsourpride #NDTV #CSR

birthday1

Join  FAKING HAPPINESS CAMPAIGN  in wishing  Dr Prannoy Roy of  NDTV  on his birthday,  on 15th Oct 2013 , and hope he withdraws VEDANTA form the our girls our child campaign , in the  name of TRUTH, as he claims  for his 24 x7 channel .

Faking happiness campaign came into being last year when Vedanta launched its first CSR social media campaign called khushi- creating  happiness, which was a complete sham and facade. 

 “Creating Happiness” – a series of short films about Vedanta that aired on 37 TV channels – was an advertising campaign conceived by India‘s ad guru Piyush Pandey of Ogilvy & Mather. It was launched  last year with a technically slick film that focused on the apparent happiness of Binno, a small girl in Rajasthan, when she discovers that she can get an education from the anganwadis (child day care centres) set up by the company.

The company announced an initiative for students at media and film institutes to produce short films about the company that would then be judged in competition by a heavy-weight jury consisting of Pandey, actor Gul Panag and noted director Shyam Benegal who had championed “art cinema.” (Benegal’s early films realistically depicted feudal conditions in rural India).


Following our campaign  Benegal and Panag withdrew from the jury saying they were unaware of Vedanta’s role in the competition.  We had our own competition .” Blog posts, short films, cartoons and spoofs poured in on Facebook and YouTube that charged Vedanta with falsehoods.

Once again when NDTV  launched ourgirlsourpride campaign we are back in action .

 Our two petitions to Priyanka Chopra and Prannoy Roy have crossed the 2000 mark, and its amazing to see the voices and support not only from india but from world over, there are signatuers from USA, Pakistan, Iran , belgium, italy , Japana, China, UAE, South Africa, Canada

 

and many other countries 

If you have not still sign the petition please do at

NDTV WITHDRAW VEDANTA AS PARTNER IN OUR GIRLS OUR PRIDE CAMPAIGN

and

PRIYANKA CHOPRA WITHDRAW AS AMBASSADOR FROM OUR GIRLS OUR PRIDE
 WATCH OUR GREETING IN TWO VIDEOS BELOW 

 




Many Creative faces with political voices have joined the campaign and a few known   names who have sigend petition are

 Indian classical dancer Mallika Sarabhai

Theatre and Film Actor, Joy Sen Gupta
Admiral Ram Das
Film Maker Anand Patwardhan
Film Maker Rakesh Sharma
Film Actor Sushant Singh
Noted Violinst Sunita Bhuyan
Sufi Singer — Dhruv Sangari
Hindustani  Clssicial Singer –Neela Bhagwat
Playback singer in Indian Films –  Shefali  Alavares
Cinema, and theatre actor-  Asif Basra
Theatre actor and  Shamiana founder- Cyrus Dastur
Actor and Comedy Artiste – Gurpal Siingh
Lok shahir and Sambhaji Bhagat
Poet and writer-  Meena Kandasamy
Rap artist and performer- Ashwini Mishra aka  @Alist
 Kannada actor and theatre artiste- P D Sathishchandra
Noted  Cine actress- Suhasini Mulay

For those on Facebook you  can check the album BELOW

Creative Faces with Political Voices against VEDANTA

U CAN SEND BIRTHDAY GREETINSG TO [email protected],  and ask him to withdraw  VEDANTA from ourgirlsourpride campaign

sample messages below

1 For the Pride of Tribal Girls , Withdraw Vedanta as Partner on your Birthday.Wishes & Compliments on this day Mr. Roy

card2
2.Roses are Pink and Sky is Blue , Vedanta is One Friend which does not Suits you .Withdraw Vedanta as Partner Mr. Roy Tons of Wishes & Blessings on your Birthday

card


3.Twinkle Twinkle little star , kick Vedanta desh ke bahar. for sake of Tribal girls withdraw Vedanta as Partner on your Birthday . Happy Birthday & Be Blessed Mr. Prannoy Roy

CARD1


4.Our Earth, Soil, Water, Air and Life became polluted by your friend Vedanta. Withdraw Vedanta as your pratner from Our Girls our Pride on your Birthday . happy BDay Mr. Roy

card3

 

in solidarity
 
Kamayani
 
for Faking happiness campaign
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/1000-plus-signatures-to-ndtv-and-priyankachopra-against-vedanta-socialmedia-csr-must-share/" target="_blank">1000 plus signatures to #NDTV and #PriyankaChopra against #Vedanta #socialmedia #CSR #must share
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-balco-operated-by-vedanta-mired-in-land-diversion-controversy-in-chhattisgarh/" target="_blank"> #India – BALCO operated by Vedanta mired in land diversion controversy in Chhattisgarh
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-niyamrajas-tribals-wont-bow-to-vedanta-indigenous-mustread/" target="_blank"> #India – Niyamraja’s Tribals won’t bow to #Vedanta #indigenous #mustread
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-do-we-really-need-the-bauxite-from-niyamgiri-vedanta/" target="_blank"> #India – Do we really need the bauxite from Niyamgiri ? #Vedanta

 

 

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Vedanta Talks Of “Pride” Post Shame, Faking Happiness #CSR #Vedanta #NDTV #Priyankachopra #mustread

By Prerna Bakshi

 

On the 19 of August, NDTV and their partner group Vedanta announced the launch of their ‘Our girls Our pride’ campaign with Priyanka Chopra as the campaign ambassador. This happened on a day when Vedanta suffered a huge blow to its mining operations in Odisha. The launch of this initiative comes at a time when the whole world is witnessing the great triumph of the Indigenous and Tribal communities of Odisha, who by rejecting Vedanta’s bauxite mining operations have set an unprecedented example for the rights and sovereignty of all Indigenous peoples around the world. This victory is not just of the Dongaria Kond and of other surrounding communities of Niyamgiri, but a victory of all Indigenous peoples around the world and their right to self-determination.

The operations of Vedanta, have been consistently called into question by many communities, environmentalists and human rights activists. By launching this campaign along with NDTV, Vedanta is attempting to do what could only be described as damage control in the guise of ‘corporate social responsibility’. Vedanta recently suffered a unanimous defeat by all the 12 gram sabhas (village council meetings) which took part in this ground breaking decision. Now the mining company appears to be using this campaign for PR purposes, for ‘brand recognition and awareness’. By using this opportunity as a means to improve its damaged reputation, Vedanta intends to create a positive image of its company to further its vested interests.

This campaign claims to bring issues of girls’ education, health, nutrition, foeticide and infanticide into light. It is ironic to say the least that the same Vedanta which is claiming to spread awareness about issues related to girl child would have otherwise displaced or pushed into poverty many of these girls and their families or exploited their labour in exchange for cheap wages in its mining operations.

Vedanta’s co-partner, NDTV, a major broadcasting television network, by partnering with such a company, globally held in question for its violation of environmental and human rights, is further strengthening the corporate-media nexus where each profits from the other.

Also noteworthy in this campaign is the choice of Priyanka Chopra as the campaign ambassador. Chopra was earlier seen featuring in the advertisement of the ‘Ponds White Beauty’ product. This product which promotes the idea of whiteness as beauty, fairness as norm. The message of the ad was quite clear, that being dark is not beautiful, it is to be done away with.

The Bollywood actress associated herself with a product that went further in trying to create a ‘niche’ among its many competitors that rule the not-so-fair Indian fairness market. The product claimed to achieve something, which hadn’t been done before. It did not just promise ‘glow’ (read whiteness), but, ‘pinking glow’.

This in a nation so obsessed with the idea of ‘fair’ skin where the sales of whitening products far outstrip those of Coca-Cola and tea, according to one market research firm’s report. This in a nation where the market of fairness products was worth over US$400 million in 2010, according to a report by AC Nielsen, a market which is growing at 18% per year.

Questions then need to be asked about what ‘pride’ this campaign claims to bring. How just is it ethically, morally and politically to have a campaign on an issue of crucial significance being run and promoted by social actors whose very actions damage the standing of the girls in our society.

(The writer is a Research Scholar at the University of Sydney and could be contacted at [email protected] or could be followed on Twitter @bprerna)

Please sign two petitions below, one to NDTV and one to priyanka chopra agaisnt VEDANTA’S desperate attempt as PR exercise to save themselves  after being kicked out by dongria kondh tribals, with resounding no to mining by 12 villages as asked by Supreme court

PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE

Ask Priyanka Chopra to withdraw as ambassador of Our Girls Our pride Now !!

 

Ask NDTV to stop sleeping with Enemy Vedanta Now !!

 

 

 

 

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Open letter to Priyanka Chopra on #NDTV – #Vedanta- Our Girls Our Pride Campaign #Vaw

priyanka

Dear Priyanka  Chopra,

At the outset, I would like to say that I am a fan, and applaud your choices of multi-faceted roles, often going against the tide of Indian cinema ,you have carved your own niche. To the fraternity and to your fans, you stand out as intelligent and capable of speaking your mind. Therefore, I do understand that you must be approached by many to be a brand ambassador for many a campaign, which is great, but as a fan who knows that there are millions out there who take you seriously, what I want to know is this: do you do your homework about an issue, the people and entities involved in a campaign, before you lend your face and voice and personal brand to?

On August 19th, as many of us were celebrating the landmark success of a real exercise in Indian democracy, where for the first time, a corporation, Vedanta Resources, was forced to seek and was summarily denied consent of indigenous and local communities whose sacred mountains Vedanta sought to mine, I was shocked to see you launching ‘NDTV-Vedanta’s ‘Our Girls Our Pride’ Campaign as a Brand Ambassador to create awareness about issues related to the girl child.

The issues faced by girl children in India, across communities, caste and class, are very close to my heart. I work with the Forum Against Sex Selection, besides many other campaigns on Gender , Health and Human Rights . My outrage lies in the fact that you accepted to partner with mining giant Vedanta, known for a long list of human rights abuse and environmental violations, not just in the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha, but in its mines across the country. At the receiving end of grave violations of their human rights to water, food, health, work and an adequate standard of living are the same marginalised communities that Vedanta claims to want to uplift, through its campaigns, with your spotless face to support it.

Let me give you a  snapshot of Vedanta in India and then let you decide for yourself

Vedanta – a British company owned by London-based Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal – was launched on the London stock exchange as Vedanta Resources Plc (VRP) in December 2003. Vedanta signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Orissa government on 7 June 2003 to set up a 1-million-tonne alumina refinery, along with a 100-MW coal-fired power plant, at an investment of Rs 4,000 crore (just over US$800 million). The company planned to dig a vast open-cast bauxite mine in the Niyamgiri Hills to feed an alumina refinery that it has already built in the area, at Lanjigarh in south-west Orissa.

In common with other displaced tribal peoples worldwide, the Dongria Kondh adivasis who live in the upper reaches of the Niyamgiri Hills would have lost their present good health, their self-sufficiency and their expert knowledge of the hills, forests and farming systems that they have nurtured. Those who live in the shadow of its refinery are already suffering from water contamination and severe respiratory and skin diseases, with their farm lands polluted and livelihoods destroyed. The process of community consultation for the expansion of the refinery can be seen here, to give you an idea of how justice has transpired over the last 10 years.

Niyamgiri Hills

Niyamgiri Hills, named after the Niyamraja, the main deity of the Dongria Kondh adivasis, are one of last untouched wildernesses of Orissa. Rising to a height of more than four thousand feet, the hills are the source of Vamshadhara river, which is already being polluted by toxic fly ash from the refinery, as well as major tributaries of Nagavali rivers. Niyamgiris form a distinct phytogeographical zone because of its height and its highly precipitous topography. Niyamgiri flora is of ‘great phyto-geographical importance’ as the hilltops harbor high altitude plants with Himalayan/North Indian and Nilgiri/South Indian elements. Preliminary studies show that it has approximately 50 species of important medicinal plants, about 20 species of wild ornamental plants, and more than 10 species of wild relatives of crop plants .

The forested slopes of the Niyamgiri hills and the many streams that flow through them provide the means of living for Dongria  Kondh and Kutia Kondh- Scheduled Tribes that are notified by the government as Extinguishing Tribal Groups and thus eligible for special protection. Schedule V of the Indian Constitution, which enjoins the government to respect and uphold the land rights of Scheduled Tribes, applies to the entire Niyamgiri hills region, along with the Forest Rights Act, Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and the Forest Conservation Act. While the Kutia Kondh inhabit the foothills, the Dongria  Kondh live in the upper reaches of the Niyamgiri hills which is their only habitat. Like the rest of the world’s indigenous people, the Kondhs too have a self-sustaining economy – they live in the forest, grow their own produce through shifting cultivation and go down to the towns only to buy salt and sell fruits. In the polytheistic animist worldview of the Kondh, the hilltops and their associated forests are regarded as supreme deities. The highest hill peak, which is under the proposed mining lease area, is the home of their most revered god, Niyam Raja, ‘the giver of law’.

Survival’s short movie captures the voice of the Dongria Kondh as they have faced Vedanta’s incursions

Vedanta’s mining for “prosperity”, destruction for dongria Kondh

The idea being promoted by Vedanta across the board, through its campaigns, is that mining will contribute to Orissa’s economy and make the Dongria and other communities prosperous. For the mainstream, non-cultivating, town- and city-based population, it promises an era of prosperity, where those with initiative and business acumen can make a quick fortune.

On the ground, the truth is starkly different.

The convention in company and government discourse is to assume that industrialisation increases people’s standard of living as measured by a handful of indices, such as cash income and education, which are disconnected from real life situations. For the Dongria  the most important change is moving from a situation in which they owned their own land and grew they own food to one in which they were dependent on the company for their livelihoods – a complete break from their traditional, largely self-sufficient economy. Moreover, the loss of the connection with the land, divisions in the community, and the penetration of money into relationships are being promoted as the indicators of growth!

The Dongria  have been growing their own food on the Niyamgiri hills for generations. Dongria  culture is sustainable in the true sense of the word, in that it is a way of living in which people have been interacting with nature for hundreds of years without damaging the ecosystem.

Priyanka, did you know that the most significant and strategic use of aluminium is in the manufacture of arms, missiles and other destructive weapons. A stark and brutal irony thus infuses the whole episode: people who have co-existed peacefully with nature for centuries are now being hounded out and their habitation squandered to feed an industry the chief purpose of which is to profit from war and large-scale destruction. It is not only the tribals who are threatened,  but entire ecosystems will be destroyed if Vedanta had its way.

This epic struggle for survival has finally been won by the Dongria Kondh and other local communities.

In a landmark judgment in April 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the gram sabhas  (assemblies consisting of all adult voters) of villages located near the proposed mine would need to decide if the mine plans, in any way, affected their religious and cultural rights, including their right to worship, and on all individual and community claims, including fresh ones, to the areas proposed to be mined.

The Court’s ruling echoes the Forest Rights Act, 2006, which state that the government must settle community claims over their traditional forest lands and habitats, and ensure they have the consent of the communities, before attempting to use their land for mining.

In a huge blow to Vedanta Resources Plc’s in Odisha, all the  12 gram sabhas have voted against its Rs 50,000-crore aluminium refinery project in the Niyamgiri hills of Odisha .

And yet, Niyamgiri is only the tip of the iceberg of violations committed by Vedanta, one of the world’s worst companies.

In Goa:

Vedanta’s Sesa Goa subsidiary has been accused of large scale fraud and illegal mining.In June 2009 following a pit wall collapse which drowned Advalpal village in toxic mine waste, a 9-year old local boy Akaash Naik filed a petition to stop the mine and mass protests later that year halted mining at one of Sesa Goa’s sites. In 2011 there were more major mine waste floods. In South Goa, a 90 day road blockade by 400 villagers succeeded in stopping another iron ore mine. In 2012, the MB Shah Commission unveiled a Rs. 34,000 crore iron ore scam in Goa, and Sesa Goa stands accused of massive irregularities across the State.

In Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin:

Vedanta subsidiary Sterlite Industries has flouted laws without remorse, operating and expanding without consent, violating environmental conditions, and illegally dumping and storing toxic effluents (including arsenic) and waste, as it operates a copper smelter less than 10 km from India’s only marine biosphere. In 1997, a toxic gas leak hospitalised 100 people sparking an indefinite hunger strike by a local politician and a ‘siege on Sterlite’ that led to 1643 arrests. Later that year, a kiln explosion killed two. An estimated 16 workers died between 2007 and 2011. Police recorded most workers deaths as suicides. Pollution Control Boards, judges and expert teams have on several occasions reversed damning judgements of the company, demonstrating large scale corruption and bribery. In March, 2013, a toxic gas leak from spread panic and discomfort for several kilometres around the plant. The price of its actions over decade? The Supreme Court let Sterlite off with nothing more than a 100 crore fine, just as local communities continue to live in extremely hazardous conditions.

In Tamil Nadu, Mettur:

Vedanta bought MALCO ‘s aluminium complex at Mettur 2 years before permission for their Kolli Hills bauxite mines expired but continued to mine illegally for 10 years. Five adivasi villages were disturbed and a sacred grove destroyed before activist’s petitions stopped mining in 2008. Without local bauxite and with protests preventing bauxite coming from Niyamgiri in Orissa the factory at Mettur was also forced to close. However, the abandoned and unreclaimed mines continue to pollute the mountains and a huge red mud dump by the Stanley reservoir pollutes drinking water and blows toxic dust into the village.

In Chhattisgarh, Korba:

Vedanta bought the state owned BALCO’s alumina refinery, smelter and bauxite mines for ten times less than its estimated value in 2001 despite a landmark 61 day strike by workers. Since then wages have been slashed and unionised workers are losing jobs. In 2009 a factory chimney collapsed, BALCO claimed 42 were killed, but in fact 60 – 100 people are still missing. Witnesses claim these workers from poor families in neighbouring states are buried underground in the rubble, which was bulldozed over immediately after the collapse.

I would like you to see  activist Satyabadi Naik’s shocking video of police crackdown on a peaceful protest by women of Rengopalli and other villages against Vedanta’s toxic Red Mud Pond in Lanjigarh.

The Videos below, will give you goose bumps

URGENT: Villagers Protest Against vedanta Red Mud Pond

Some more films:

The Real Face of Vedanta

Priyanka, In the 21st century, we need to redefine the meaning of “development.” It must be sustainable. Any development project must take into account the needs and aspirations of the local communities, and should benefit all sectors of society. Respect for human rights and the environment must be a priority. Development must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The criteria for “development” need to be more holistic – instead of focussing on GDP, we need to take Human Development Indicators (poverty, health, mortality, education) into account, when assessing a ‘development’ project.

It is once again ironic that the Dongria ’s resolve to safeguard the very essence of their identity is being depicted as “anti-development” and the tribal people themselves as “primitive” and “backward”. For them, to sell their mountains for large-scale mining is an act of pure greed – eating into the flesh of the earth.

But for Vedanta such a philosophy holds no meaning. The living earth is for them a resource to be exploited for profit. Greed is an essential part of their policies and the flesh of the earth the perfect menu for gorging their balance sheets.

This is not the first time Vedanta is trying to hoodwink people of India. Last year they had launched this Creating Happiness campaign, part of which was a short-film competition to extol the achievements of Vedanta. Along with others who felt strongly about this hypocrisy, we started a Faking Happiness campaign. Shyam Benegal and Gul Panag walked out of the jury once exposed to the real face of Vedanta.

Here is my contribution to it:

Many more people contributed and are still contributing to the campaign: http://www.kractivist.org/faking-happiness-competition-2/ , you can also find us on facebook- https://www.facebook.com/groups/fakinghappiness/

I would like to also tell you that a  large, child rights NGO refused  to join your campaign because  they did not wish to be associated with a campaign to launder the reputation of a company with a dismal human rights record.

Also, did you know that Aishwarya Rai  Bachchan was approached to be brand ambassador before you but she refused, as Vedanta is part of this campaign.

Now that you know Vedanta’s history, Would you step down as the ambassador of the Our Girl, Our Pride Campaign  or ensure that Vedanta is not a partner in the Campaign ?

Would you  join us in ensuring that human rights violations are not greenwashed?

The choice is yours;

The respect of your fans, however, hangs in the balance.

If you decide to join us do sign our petition to NDTV  below  https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/NDTV_Withdraw_Vedanta_as_a_Partner_in_Our_Girls_Our_Pride_Campaign

 

Sincerely,

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

PS- The readers if you agree with my letter Please sign in comments section

 

PRIYANKACHOPRA

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