Statement of Basic Concerns
Beyond the issues of inequality, injustice, poverty and ecological ruin which have always troubled us, the world is now entering a stage of colossal disasters (climate change, WMDs) which apart from causing massive distress (of the kind perhaps never seen before) can alter/destroy survival conditions on earth for all time to come.
World leadership has not been able to take timely action.
There is therefore need like never before for people's movements and grassroots actions to generate pressures (by peaceful action) so that timely action can be taken.
For this scattered movements of peace, equality, justice and environment protection need to take united action. Women's movements will be particularly relevant. The broad perspective is to be protective towards all forms of life in this and future generations, emphasising children's future. (This is discussed in my book 'Protective Role of Humankind').
We've to link up local and global, present and future generation concerns so that justice in the present times can be linked to environment protection to ensure a safer future for next generation.
When I started my life as a free-lance journalist in 1976, I thought a lot about what should be my top-most priority. The most obvious answer seemed to be poverty. I stated travelling to remote villages and reported about poverty, its causes, its roots in injustice, impact of existing government programmes, resistance movements and related issues.
My horizon widened when I travelled to village of Garhwal to report on Chipko movement. Here activist friends like Kunwar Prasun helped me to understand better how environment protection has to be an essential component of sustainable efforts to reduce poverty. I was alarmed at the extreme distortions in existing development programmes and developed a strong critique of the green revolution related technologies in farming and similar technologies in dairy development, fisheries, etc.
I was very troubled by social discrimination and violence based on caste and religion. This led me to concerns of the peace movement. Arms race in South Asia and finally the invasion of Iraq by the USA and its allies strengthened my anti-war beliefs and my strong feelings about the need for a wider peace movement.
Similarly in various phases, my views about gender, justice, concerns for all forms of life and evolving a different paradigm of development were strengthened. A basic question which I tried to keep at the centre of my writing was - what are the causes of distress? - and tried to include all these concerns in my writing. This can be seen in my book 'Another Path Exists'.
Although in early years my writings which attracted more attention were my reports from villages, in recent years I became more and more involved with the most threatening global issues like climate change and weapons of mass destruction. This is reflected in my latest book 'Earth History and the Next 100 Years'.
Briefly, then, my basic concerns are:
- The quest for equality, justice, environment protection and peace. Linkages between these movements for justice, peace and environment protection.
- Linking local grassroots movements with global issues. For example linking village environment movement with concerns of climate change.
- Evolving a paradigm of development that can move away from GNP and consumerism to priorities like meeting the basic needs of all and improving human relationships (relationships of human beings with each other, relationship of human beings with nature and other forms of life, relationship with future generations).
- Writing about the many constructive and inspiring efforts - no matter how small - that take the world towards peace, justice, environment protection, reduction of poverty and meeting the basic needs of all.