The victory of the Indian Independence Struggle and the exit of British colonial power did not put an end to the emancipation and liberation struggles of large sections of Indian society.
Weather it be villagers trying to save their common natural resources from privatization; Adivasis and other rural people struggling to save their lands from mega dams and extractive industries projects; marginal farmers and landless labourers fighting for land rights and fair wages; Dalits, Other Backward Classes, women and minorities like Muslims fighting against social and economic discrimination; the millions of urban poor many the victims of successive waves of rural displacement toiling in the expanding metropolitan cities and living in sub-human conditions struggling for their right to life and livelihood. Hundreds of millions of the marginalized people of India continued to struggle against an unequal and unjust society and a post independence development model based on oppression, exploitation, destruction, displacement and discrimination.
Genesis of NAPM
In the 1980s and early 1990s this struggle sharpened due the onslaught of imperialist globalisation, structural economic reforms and a resurgent religious fundamentalism. The spark for the creation of NAPM was lit in 1992 amidst the impact of the Ayodhya incidence and accelerating neo-liberal economic restructuring by the Indian government.
Many democratic, non-communal Indian social movements realised that they could no longer fight their battles alone confined to their own issues and their own geo-political situations. So they came together to bring the vision of ‘Alternative Development’ onto the national agenda. This process started in 1992 took a definite shape in 1996 after a long national tour of 15 states by senior activists.
Since then NAPM has been in the process of constant evolution and change, expansion and contraction, reflecting and at the same time shaping the conditions of its members and the wider society.
July 1991, the Indian government, under pressure from the International Monitory Fund, begin a process of Neo-Liberal economic restructuring, a process which has been continued by every Indian government until the present day.
December 1992, the Ayodhya incidence rocks India and leads to communal violence throughout India, even extending to Pakistan and Bangladesh.
March 3, 1993, over 10,000 people from grassroots organisations from all over the country meet in Delhi against the Dunkel Draft and New Economic Policy (NEP) and expressed their resolve to fight against the current development paradigm of Globalisation and Liberalisation.
India joins the World Trade Organisation on January 1st, on September 21st – 22nd of the same year a national conference on development, displacement and rehabilitation is organized in Bombay. Representatives of more than 80 organisations participated and asserted the need to say no to the destructive projects and policies and resolve to regain their rights over their lost resources.
A nationwide tour takes place culminating in a convention at Wardha, Maharashtra where over 300 people representing 100 organisations and 17 states gathered to develop a definitive shape for NAPM. Representatives at the convention give an organisational form to NAPM and initiate state-wise processes. NAPMs ‘Peoples Resolve’ was evolved during this convention.
In these years struggles against Enron Corporation, which is a corrupt US-based power generation Multi-National Corporation (MNC) and against Coca-Cola Corporation are launched.
In 1998 an anti-nuclear movement is launched and a four month Global Peace March from Pokhran, Rajasthan (nuclear testing site), to Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh takes place.
2003 sees the initiation of Desh Bachao Desh Banao (Save the Nation Build the Nation) Campaign, a three month long tour covering 15 states of India, culminating in the Movement’s principle document at Ayodhya.
- Ayodhya Declaration– People’s National Agenda.
2004 sees the formation of the People’s Political Front (PPF): Some of the constituents of NAPM strong believed that in order to bring about social change it was imperative to get directly involved in electoral politics along with people’s movements. Ultimately, it was decided that NAPM should retain its autonomous identity and there should be a separate, but related front to directly intervene in electoral politics. As a result PPF was launched in 2004.
In this year NAPM was deeply involved in the organisation of the World Social Forum held in Mumbai in January of 2004. Details on NAPMs position and approach to the WSF Mumbai can be found in its ‘Appeal for Solidarity’ document.
Among other activities at the WSF Mumbai, NAPM holds seminars on the following issues:
- Agrarian struggle: People over profit (concept note from seminar)
- Linking People not River (concept note from seminar)
- Displacement (concept note from seminar)
- Indigenous People’s Rights, Identity and Culture(concept note)
In this year a campaign against slum demolition in Mumbai is launched and an alliance of organisations working on slum issues is formed (Zopadi Bachao Sayukt Kriti Samiti).