New Internationalist

Voices From Bihar

November 1984

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COMMUNITY ACTION [image, unknown] Speaking out

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The spirit of people’s movements is often voiced in pithy slogans and songs. Here are some used in Bihar, translated from the original Hindi.

‘We will not tolerate atrocities. We will fight against rape.’

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Photo: Glen Williams

‘We have all along been paying
Obedience to you, oh master
We no longer want to be your slaves
You have thousands of acres of fallow land
Our families are landless, oh master
Why is there such a law in the country?
oh master
You eat halva, puri and vegetables
We cannot even afford salt on our rotis
You ride trucks and motorcars, oh master
Our feet bleed from walking barefoot
Why is there such a law in the country?’

‘To whom does the land belong?
To those who labour on it!’

‘Government officials are not the masters,
but the servants of the people.’

‘Total revolution is our slogan,
the future history is ours.’
(Jaya Prakash Narayan)


‘Fellow workers, fellow farmers
Now the time has come
Let’s make a united People’s Committee
Exploitation will be removed
And corruption will take to its heels
People’s dreams will be fulfilled

Awaken yourself
Awaken others too
Learn to read and write
Teach others to read
So you can gain your rights
Do not oppress others
Do not be oppressed
Do not do injustice
Only then will your power be recognised.’

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This feature was published in the November 1984 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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