Participants in this Conference are engaged in the practice of nonviolence that is envisioned in Mahatma Gandhi's Hind Swaraj, and therefore nonviolence to us is a path for realizing Swaraj, self-rule and the highest form of cultural democracy. It is vital for this gathering to make the distinction between unqualified nonviolence and nonviolence that is qualified by Swaraj. The Action Plan is guided by this distinction typical of the vision in Hind Swaraj; and therefore everything depends on the state of Swaraj awareness. This has been important to keep in mind while undertaking this action plan because our experience informs us that actions uninformed by the vision of Swaraj or Truth invariably get incorporated in the service of modern civilization so called.
The participants in this Centenary Conference represent:
- Those who are engaged in creating Swaraj awareness through teaching, research, writing or through intellectual, scholarly and academic work;
- Those how are engaged in dialogue on nonviolence in regions and situations of violence and conflict;
- Those who are engaged in programs of nonviolence; peace with justice;
- Those who represent nonviolent movements through the means of Satyagraha and struggle; or, through the means of constructive actions.
- Those who are engaged with more than one of the above or all of the above.
This gathering of more than a hundred practitioners of nonviolence as philosophy of life represent about fifty such initiatives in the areas of four major categories of violence; namely, direct and explicit violence; structural violence; violence to nature and nature's fury; civilizational conflicts and confrontations. This is a gathering fairly representative and inclusive of humanity’s engagement against thought, institution and practice of violence and injustice world over.
We met here in Surajkund, NCR Delhi from 19 to 22 November 2009 to commemorate the centenary of Hind Swaraj, reviewing our experiences of nonviolence of past decades on the basis of our understanding of Hind Swaraj, creating an action plan to walk on the path of Swaraj.
How do we create and strengthen network, actions and movements among us? How do we connect with each other and with others committed to Gandhian nonviolence? How do we help organize forces of nonviolence?
We are all here for one reason. On the surface, we are many individuals and groups from all around the world. We are scattered. Exactly one hundred years after the gift of Hind Swaraj, the many scattered gather here, for the first time. We are people who work for peace, freedom and justice. We are involved in struggles, and committed to Swaraj. Together we have, for the first time, raised a global Gandhian voice and created a network of people and organizations committed to the ideals of nonviolent social order. We join together in this network as the Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj.
In order to achieve a response to these concerns we developed a common action plan that we will implement as a network.
Commitments for Joint Action
Participants from 13 countries including the host country, India, representing an extensive range of organizations, have committed to act together in initiatives that strive for Swaraj at various levels. Our joint action will gradually shape the identity of the movement and allow us to produce a long-term plan. We request, value and encourage the participation of women, minorities, tribals and marginalized groups in all our actions.
Building the movement
Swaraj Peeth will continue to facilitate the coordination of this movement.
- We encourage experiments in truth, justice and nonviolence that transform our personal lives and our work, helping us to mobilize for direct action, especially with the youth.
- Young people all over the world take responsibilities in conflict resolution, but working in hugely violent and tiring conditions they are very often driven to take up violence. We believe that by engaging young people in the Gandhian practice of nonviolence, youth frustration and disappointment could be channelized into more constructive energy.
- Therefore during the centenary year we commit to begin the training of one hundred young people from different communities and countries on Gandhian practice of nonviolence and the ideals of Swaraj. We will support young people who are already active in different conflict zones and working in the fields of education, environment and development.
- We plan to maintain a strong bond with these trained youngsters who will be working at the grassroots and take leadership. We will continue to follow their footsteps in various trying social and political struggles, and where needed the Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj will offer support.
- Share and merge available materials on Hind Swaraj in a common repository and make it freely available throughout the world, thereby building a resource centre for Hind Swaraj.
- Translate Hind Swaraj into different languages. Translations in Urdu, Tibetan and Japanese have already been produced in the past years by members of this movement.
- Produce a handbook on Swaraj, and an explanatory document of the same for young people of different countries and cultures.
- Stimulate academic research within the Swaraj framework.
Social and political action
- Announce to other members of the movement nonviolent actions that each of us is organizing and take the leadership in gathering forces to increase joint participation in each action. This will provide mutual solidarity and nonviolent protection to activists who are threatened and face repression.
- Exchange information regarding the real beneficiaries of war and other forms of violence that affect us, making it available to the public, connecting direct and structural violence, and analyzing conflicts in the perspective of Swaraj.
- Encourage economic platforms of exchange not based on greed and materialism, reducing over-consumption, encouraging localized peoples' production, engaging through nonviolent resistance and boycotts with corporate business to induce a change of the dominant economic model.
- Support inter-religious experiences and practices that lead to respect, and mutual understanding.
- Support movements all over the world through workshops and exchange of ideas, to develop their own vision of Swaraj based on local history, culture, religion and politics.
- Work against environmental violence - including mining, deforestation, river destruction, and pollution - produced by modern development, for a sustainable environment, reducing waste and recycling.
- Support people’s struggle starting with the tribals and marginalized, for rights on their ancestral land and protection of indigenous culture.
Swaraj is a process of finding peace with justice. This action plan is a small collective step that we have committed to take as a journey to explore possibilities of working together as a global network of nonviolent agents of change. As we take our first step with this action plan we are humbled that we have achieved not only coming together as a fellowship of Hind Swaraj, but found deep bonding among ourselves.