CORE NARRATIVE

The effect of globalization experienced by the village communities of Hunterganj Block, Chatra District, Jharkhand, India.

Narrator: Joel Urumpil, SCN

I have been living and working with these people for the past 16 yrs. as a grass–roots community organizer. The people were marginal farmers and daily wage earners. They led a simple, communitarian life. They were very poor but there was unity and discipline. They were not dependent on the market. Very few people migrated to big cities. Agriculture was considered a noble work. Rape and wife desertion were unheard of. Marriage was the responsibility of the community. Disputes were settled in the village. Extended family relationships were the norm. Now the entire scene has been changed slowly but drastically.  The community is now faced with the following conditions and realities:

  • Agriculture is at loss. Labor-based agriculture is giving way to a highly mechanized form. This is leading to less purchasing power and less market value for home grown products. People are becoming poorer and marginalized. Government policy is not in favor of traditional farmers.
  • Indigenous culture is being replaced by foreign culture. Monoculture has taken place in dress, construction of houses and buildings. Foreign is better and popular. The mother tongue is being replaced by English language. Life style and food culture are fast giving way to foreign food & drinks. People are heavily dependent on market. Traditional occupations are disappearing causing great unemployment problems.
  • The community had better relationship among various caste groups. Now this pattern is being broken.
  • Community life and extended family relationships are no longer popular. Relationships are not cultivated; license to do anything, be anyone is the mentality.
  • Media promotes this type of thinking. Video parlors are destroying the youth.
  • The finer elements of Indian culture such as hospitality, sharing, family spirit is slowly giving way ‘to me and mine’.
  • There is an increase in divorce and rape cases. Dowry and female infanticide are on the increase.
  • Corruption and bribery have become accepted norms. Political parties maintain their elitist status. They serve multinational companies and foreign governments rather than their people. The Government used to serve the poor and the elderly much better. Now it is serving big companies and is irresponsible toward the service sectors. Quick profit at any cost is today’s norm.
  • For this, forests are destroyed, rivers are polluted and exploitation is accepted as a normal process.
  • There is huge gap between the haves and have-nots. People have to go miles to get fire wood and water.

Some of the positive features are:

  • Expansion in science, technology and research.
  • Increased agricultural production for big farmers.
  • Easy access to huge loans for development.
  • Increased political awareness-global and local.
  • Fast and cheaper communication.

MY OWN REFLECTIONS: IMAGINING MISSION FOR THE FUTURE

“An eye for an eye, and we all end up blind.” Mahatma Gandhi

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King

Whether we are forced to use genetically modified seeds or accept privatization of services, cutting down funds on health care and primary education, we need to keep on raising our voices of dissent. As an institutional Church we must stand for truth no matter the opposite current.

I have seen and am experiencing the display of truth and the power of organized resistance of simple folks such as the halting of a forceful eviction of people from a Development Project without proper compensation.  Water privatization has not yet become a law.

The Church must go back to the early Christian days when no imperial powers could drown the truthful voices because there was a MAN Jesus leading; and the people gave their lives to this MAN and not to mammon. The church must find its glory not in consumerism and worldly powers but in Creation, in People’s Power and in the MAN who was glorified on a cross.   

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