Urban Youth Internships on Agrarian Crisis at Amrita Bhoomi

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Students at a session on the agrarian crisis by Professor AR Vasavi

Over the last month, Amrita Bhoomi has received many urban youths from Youth4Swaraj– a national level youth program run by young volunteers of the Swaraj India party.

Conducting surveys in the village

A radical effort to engage urban youth in agrarian issues and politics, Youth4Swaraj has mobilized hundreds of students to go to the far corners of the country. They are assigned work with local organizations there to learn first-hand about the agrarian crisis from rural families.

This internship program is called Talash Bharat Ki (Hindi for the discovery of India). An earlier avatar was ‘drought duty’ when youth went to drought-hit parts of the country.

Amrita Bhoomi received two batches of students who came from across India- both north and south. It was a truly exciting opportunity. Each batch of youth stayed for a week.

Household survey

At a farmers protest march

They woke up each morning and did shramdan (Hindi for donating physical work) by working on the farm. The rest of the day consisted of some guest lectures and interactions with activists and academics. The evenings consisted of either watching educational films or field visits to villages close by- one was an Adivasi village, another was a Dalit village. In the villages, detailed surveys were carried out; these were prepared by the students themselves. The surveys went into details about general questions on rural life- land ownership, access to state programs and entitlements, credit situation, caste system, gender divisions among other. Results of the surveys were presented and connections were made to all that they had been learning throughout the week.

On one of the days, the students also participated in a Twitter storm to denounce the governments lies and false promises called #kisansejhoot.

Morning shramdan

One day was spent in a village with the Karnataka farmers organization KRRS which was planning a protest march. The youth joined the protest and also prepared a memorandum of demands from the District Collector.

For many of the youth, this was their first time learning about these issues. Others were well aware and wanted an opportunity to become connected with grassroots organizations. Many were eager to continue their association with the farmers’ movement and with Swaraj India. It was a truly enriching experience for both Amrita Bhoomi and Youth4Swaraj and we are happy to have been able to grow our political family.

Amrita Bhoomi plans to receive many more batches of such interns in the future.

For more information on Youth4Swaraj, see: https://www.y4s.org/vision-mission.html

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