Boosting Performing Art Skills of Theatre Artistes working on Social Change

The PUKAR theatre group performing at a local village after the training on Interactive Theatre for Influencing in 2019.

Imam Uddin Soomro is an active member of the Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT), an alliance of small-scale and landless farmers including women farmers. Imam collects data on crops and conducts awareness sessions for farmers on sustainable agriculture, green revolution and globalization. As a member of a local theatre group named, PUKAR, since 2018, Imam also performs as an interactive theatre artiste in rural villages, organises learning events and writes articles on agriculture and farmers’ rights in local languages.

The PKMT was formed in 2008 as a result of a series of discussions among powerless farmers and social and political activists who felt that an organised platform to voice their demands was essential for small-scale farmers facing social and economic constraints.

“We perform plays that enable us to interact with different communities. The theatre plays address issues that are part of the PKMT struggle, including feudalism and the impact of corporate agriculture. As a theater performer, I was selected as a participant in a training tilted, Interactive Theater for Influencing, in July 2019. The training provided technical knowledge and capacity building opportunities on skills required to influence communities to bring about progress in the society. Our skills of script-writing, communications and character-building were further enhanced in the seven-day residential training.” said Imam.

All seven members of the PUKAR theater group participated in the training which gave them networking and experience- sharing opportunities with other like-minded participants. The session on ‘team building’ and ‘inhibition breaking’ helped participants self-assess themselves and understand their pivotal and influential position in society. Participants learnt about stage directions, allowing the audience to grasp every performers’ act and the message they are conveying through their role plays.

“We met with other theater groups from Peshawar, Sindh and Islamabad. All the groups had different interactive skills to perform as we all engage with different kinds of audiences. The members of other groups shared the issues they highlighted through their plays and how they passed on the resolutions,” shared Imam.

On the last day of the training, participants developed action plans to further implement the learning and skills learnt during the training.

“Initially, we would randomly select issues and base our plays on those issues. After the training, we altered our strategy. We now plan a meeting to identify the common issues that are prevalent in the communities through meetings with community members and develop a script for the play accordingly to work together to rectify the challenges people are facing. CWSA has extended support in reviewing the scripts which we plan to avail,” expressed Imam.

A group exercise that engaged the training participants in planning a theater play with other members of the group allowed collaborative learning and practical experience-sharing through coordination among the members. Imam narrated,

“When we acted with other theater performers, we learnt to show strong facial expressions as that also largely impacts the deliverance of the message and not just the dialogues. This joint exercise helped in modifying our acting and delivery gestures in order to have an even stronger impact in the communities we perform.”

Boosting Performing Art Skills of Theatre Artistes working on Social Change

Progression in PKMT Jazba Farmers Cooperative

PKMT Farmers Cooperative Jazba is going smoothly in different districts of the three provinces Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa. Though it was not easy to communicate or visit in the days of lock down due to corona virus but still the farmers manage to share their work by sending pictures of their farms. In Ghotki (Sindh) Jantar (Fodder) was sowed in the half acre of the farm of Rehana Kausar. It had very good results and the other farmers are surprised to see the green lush lot. She is preparing other half acre of the land for sowing Rota wetter.

Ghotki (Sindh) Farm with lush green fodder

In Shikarpur (Sindh) and Muzafargarh too the farmers are working steadily on the Jazba Rice farms. In Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa, the farmers have sowed maize.  They are satisfied with the outcome.

Free virus testing for workers demanded

May 02, 2020
PESHAWAR: The rights activists on Friday demanded of the government to start free mass coronavirus testing, especially for workers and farmers, besides ensuring their social protection.

The demand was made during a webinar organised by Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek and NGO Roots for Equity here to mark the Labour Day.

The panelists included labour and peasant leaders and rights activists from different cities, including Dr Azra Talat Sayeed, Tariq Mehmood, Raja Mujeeb, Junaid Awan, Zahoor Joya and Wali Haider.

They said the Covid-19 pandemic had not only exposed the ineffectiveness of the capitalist system to deal with a crisis but also its ‘criminal tendency’ to disregard hunger and impoverishment suffered by the people at the current critical juncture prioritising profits over people.

The panelists said with the people not a priority, the country’s public health expenditure had never exceeded three per cent of the national budget.

They added that in the face of the pandemic, deregulation, privatisation and trade liberalisation policies were the structural reasons for the workers facing joblessness, financial instability and lack of health and other forms of social protection.

The panelists said that in the pre-neoliberal era, workers were given job protection, healthcare, education, shelter and other facilities.

They said under privatisation, even the right to permanent job security had been eroded and that was the basic reason for joblessness, poverty and hunger in the country, which had aggravated under the pandemic.

The panelists said during the Covid-19 crisis, factories and businesses had been closed leaving workers with acute economic hardship.

They said according to the provincial planning and development department, if the lockdown continued than 460,000 workers, including daily wagers and street vendors, would be left without a livelihood.

The panelists said in the Hattar Industrial zone, many hundreds of workers had already been laid off.

They claimed that the relief package provided by the federal and provincial governments was inaccessible for a majority of workers due to lack of registration and other handicaps.

The panelists said women faced increased domestic violence under the pandemic as well as economic hardship and hunger.

They said self-sufficiency and self reliance including food-self sufficiency was a critical element for national stability and development and that was only possible when workers had full access and control over resources and production to pave the way for a peaceful prosperous sovereign nation without the shackles of imperialism.

The panelists demanded of the government to guarantee incomes and benefits, cash grants and relief for the working people and nationalise public health system, respect democratic and human rights.

They said sanctions against Iran, Palestine and several other countries should be lifted.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2020

https://www.dawn.com/news/1553901

کورونا کا سبق: سرمایہ داری کا خاتمہ لازم

یکم مئی: مزدوروں کا عالمی دن
پریس ریلز
یکم مئی 2020

دنیا بھر میں یکم مئی، 1886 میں شکاگو کے مزدوروں کی جدوجہد کی یاد میں مزدوروں کے عالمی دن کے طور پر منایا جاتا ہے۔ پاکستان کسان مزدور تحریک (پی کے ایم ٹی) اور روٹس فار ایکوٹی نے لاک ڈاؤن کی پابندیوں کے پیش نظر اس دن کی مناسبت سے جدوجہد کو آگے بڑھانے کے لیے ایک آن لائن مزاکرہ کا اہتمام کیا۔ جس میں ملک بھر سے مزدور کسان رہنماؤں اور کسان دوست ساتھیوں نے شرکت کی۔

کورونا وائرس کی موجودہ وبائی صورتحال نے ناصرف سرمایہ دارانہ نظام کی نااہلی اور سفاکیت کو بے نقاب کیا ہے جو بھوک، غربت اور وبائی صورتحال میں بھی خود کو برقرار رکھنے کے لیے عوامی فلاح پر منافع کو فوقیت دے رہا ہے بلکہ سامراجیت پر مبنی مزدور دشمن پالیسیوں کے بھیانک اثرات کو بھی مزید واضح کررہا ہے۔ آزاد تجارت پر مبنی پالیسیوں نے ریاستوں کو اس حال میں لاکھڑا کیا ہے کہ وہ اس وباء کو روکنے اور عوامی ضروریات پوری کرنے کے لیے درکار مالی، مادی اور انسانی وسائل کے لیے اپنا اختیار استعمال کرنے سے بھی قاصر ہیں۔ یاد رہے پاکستان جیسے ممالک میں صحت عامہ کے لیے مختص کیا گیا بجٹ کبھی بھی مجموعی بجٹ کا تین فیصد سے زیادہ نہیں رکھا گیا اور صحت کے شعبہ کو مجموعی طور پر نجی شعبہ کے حوالے کردیا گیا اور آج ہمارے صحت کے نظام کی انتہائی ناقص سہولیات اور بدانتظامی بے نقاب ہورہی ہے۔ دولت مند آمر طبقہ تو بچ کر نکل ہی جائے گا لیکن یہ صورتحال مزدور و محنت کش طبقہ کے لیے بدترین ہے۔ Continue reading

PKMT Jazba Farmers’ Cooperative proceeding towards Harvesting

Under the PKMT Jazba Farmers’ Cooperative, farmers from all over Pakistan have started agroecological farms. They have sown the traditional seeds and make organic compost. As time passes the farmers from Sindh and Punjab are now sampling the crops and started harvesting and thrashing.

The farmers from Shikarpur, Ghotki Tando M Khan (Sind) and Multan (Punjab) are busy working in the fields.

                       

???????????????????????? ???????????? ???????? ???????????????????????????????????????? ???????????? ???????????????????????? ???????????????????????? ???????????? ???????????????????????????? ????????????????????????

Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) joins the ???????????????????????? ???????????? ???????? ???????????????????????????????????????? ???????????? ???????????????????????? ???????????????????????? ???????????? ???????????????????????????? ???????????????????????? today April 15 led by International League of Peoples’ Struggle to unite and amplify calls for people’s right to public health amid this global pandemic. We demand guaranteed incomes and livelihood even under quarantine; mass testing and treatment for all; no bailouts for big corporations, but bailouts for working people; social protection for farmers, workers, and toiling masses; and respect for democratic and human rights. #PublicHealthNotProfit

                       

Landless Farmers Day marked: ‘Lockdown and quarantines should not increase people’s sufferings’

Our Correspondent
March 31, 2020

SUKKUR: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and Roots for Equity, a local NGO, joined hands with the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), and Pesticide Action Network Asia & the Pacific (PANAP) to mark the Landless Farmers Day.

PKMT celebrated the Landless Farmers Day with utmost concern as landless farmers were among the most vulnerable to be affected with the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more, the farmers are forced to work in an informal sector on daily wages in a vulnerable condition bearing the heat of health crisis, especially of COVID-19. The experts said COVID-19 has paralysed almost all economic activities and pushed the world to further food insecurity and poverty.

They said many countries had implemented lockdowns and set up quarantine centres for coronavirus suspects to minimise the impact of COVID-19, adding that the agriculture and food supply chain had been facing great disruption causing escalation in food prices.They suggested the lockdown and quarantines should not be carried out to increase people’s sufferings like food scarcity and provision of other basic essentials. They said it should be ensured that there was no further displacement of rural people from their lands on the pretext of COVID-19 or lockdown, demanded to provide sufficient resources to the people living in the rural areas.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/637279-landless-farmers-day-marked-lockdown-and-quarantines-should-not-increase-people-s-sufferings

Govt urged to protect rights of small farmers

March 30, 2020

They asked the government to provide immediate economic relief to the marginalised sectors including the landless rural people.

To mark the “Day of the Landless” on Sunday, two organisations Roots for Equity and Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT), asked the government to ensure that no further displacements of the rural people from their lands and livelihood were carried out in the pretext of Covid-19 lockdowns.

The organisatons state that they commemorate the Day of the Landless with utmost concern as the landless rural people are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organisations say landless rural people vulnerable to impacts of Covid-19 pandemic

In a media release, they state that with many countries implementing sweeping lockdowns and quarantines often with vague operational guidelines, to contain the spread of Covid-19, the agriculture and food supply chain faces great disruption with an escalating price-hike already sending food prices to very high levels.

They say that landless peasants along with small farmers are forced to work in a variety of oppressive conditions on lands under feudal ownership.

“Women growers particularly work under double tier of exploitation at the hands of landlord as well as patriarchy. Along with this, capitalist agriculture through its mega corporations has captured agricultural production and markets resulting in a huge increase in the percentages of the landless,” they say.

They claim that the landless workers are forced to work in the informal sector on daily wages in a variety of situations. “Together with the rest of ordinary toiling people, they bear the brunt of the raging public health crisis of Covid-19 that has paralysed almost all economic activities and pushed them to further food insecurity and poverty,” they maintain.

They say that livelihoods in jeopardy the small producers and poor consumers are suffering the major brunt of the lockdown. They add that in addition, with total ban on inter and intra-provincial travel, agriculture workers and other daily wagers have no means of finding work.

They fear that the Covid-19 may be used as cover up to further harass and dislocate farming communities as part of evictions under land grabbing for corporate interests.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2020

https://www.dawn.com/news/1544871/govt-urged-to-protect-rights-of-small-farmers

Assert and Defend the Rights of Small and Landless farmers amid the COVID-19 pandemic!

Press Release:

Day of the Landless 2020, March 29, 2020

Roots for Equity and Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) join hand with Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) to mark the Day of the Landless March 29, 2020.

Today, we commemorate the Day of the Landless with utmost concern as the landless rural people are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The landless peasants along with who are also the small farmers with precarious land ownership or control are forced to work in a variety of oppressive conditions on lands under feudal ownership. Women agricultural are particularly work under the double tier of exploitation at the hands of the landlord as well as patriarchy. Along with this, capitalist agriculture through its mega-corporations has captured agricultural production and markets resulting in a huge increase in the percentages of the landless. More and more, the landless are forced to work in the informal sector on daily wages in a variety of situations. Together with the rest of ordinary toiling people, they bear the brunt of the raging public health crisis of COVID-19 that has paralyzed almost all economic activities and pushed them to further food insecurity and poverty.

With many countries implementing sweeping lockdowns and quarantines often with vague operational guidelines, to contain the spread of COVID-19, the agriculture and food supply chain faces great disruption with an escalating price-hike already sending food prices to very high levels. Livelihoods in jeopardy the small producers and poor consumers are suffering the major brunt of the lockdown. In addition, with a total ban on inter and intra provincial travel, agriculture workers and other daily wage earners have no means of finding work. It is feared that the COVID-19 may be used as a cover-up to further harass, and dislocate farming communities as part of evictions under land grabbing for corporate interests.

Furthermore, public health systems, eroded by decades of neoliberal assault such as privatization, commercialization and budget cuts, are already weak in general and are susceptible to collapse when pandemics strike. In Pakistan, the health care budget has never exceeded 3% of the total budget allocations. Hence, the situation has magnified a hundredfold for rural communities especially the landless.

We support and reiterate the immediate demands of the landless and all toiling peoples amid the pandemic –

  1. Ensure that the lockdowns and quarantines are not carried out at the expense of the food security of the people and that the right to produce and earn a living for small farmers, fishers and other direct food producers is duly respected in a manner that does not endanger their health;
  2. Provide immediate and substantial economic relief (including food grains, cash, and other forms of aid that are essential and appropriate) and social protection that are readily accessible to the marginalized sectors, including the landless rural people, as well as other forms of government assistance such as production and marketing support for the small food producers;
  3. Ensure that no further displacements of the rural people from their lands and livelihood are carried out in the pretext of COVID-19 lockdowns;
  4. Allot sufficient public resources to the health sector and make reliable public healthcare services, including free testing for COVID-19 infection and treatment, available without delay or difficulty for everyone, including the rural communities;
  5. As a learning, the health budget should be based on building a robust public healthcare system that is capable of functioning with equity and efficiency in face of all health crises.

Amidst the spreading darkness and misery due to a pandemic caused by more than anything else an ecologically and socially destructive mode of capitalist production, the movement of landless rural people and their supporters, together with all oppressed and exploited toiling peoples, shall remain among the bearers of light and hope.

Press Release; Urdu

Released by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) & Roots for Equity

PKMT Jazba Farmers’ Cooperative Awareness Program

PKMT Jazba Farmers’ Cooperative organized an awareness session program based on the Agroecology farming and sustainable agriculture on village level at different districts of Sindh, Punjab and KP. In Sindh district Tando Mohammad Khan, Shikarpur and Ghotki, in Punjab district Multan and in KP district Haripur and Lower Dir the session were organized.

The session begins with the introduction of the team and the farmers. The team asks different questions from the farmers like who cultivate the land and which sort of cultivation is going on nowadays?

 

The participants replied that nowadays, we are using artificial means of production, which had chemicals in it, and we use chemical fertilizer in cultivation. Different topics of production and consumption were discussed with the help of pictures.

Unhealthy Production: The participants were told about the unhealthy food production that how modern machinery and chemicals are introduced to increase the production for example, breeding of cows by using artificial means, increasing of milk and meat of animals, increasing chemical spray, fertilizer, use of hybrid seeds and genetically modified seeds. The participants agree that they use the chemicals and machinery which results increase in diseases and unemployment.

Unhealthy Consumption: The participants were told about the unhealthy food like big companies use artificial methods in the preparation of food and are enforced on us for example, Potato chips, burgers, pizzas and unbalanced diet. The participants said that the junk food made by the companies has no energy, the threat of diseases increases and the food is also expensive. Capitalism increases class system. The rich influence on poor just because of this system. The working class is deprived of basic needs of life like food and health; we should not use these things.

Healthy Production: The participants were shown opposite mechanical and artificial method of production. The natural and traditional ways of farming, which includes milking, traditional way of cultivating pure and healthy food. According to our history, we use traditional seeds and eat pure food and live in a clean environment for centuries. The capitalists now capture the markets enforced farmers and labors into poverty.

Healthy Consumption: The participants said that the food from companies are unhealthy, the bread, Saag (local spinach), Lassi, butter, pure ghee are healthy foods. We should promote our own things, which we get through natural means.

Poverty and hunger! Why ? The adopting of chemical methods and an increase in production, the participants said that hunger, poverty and unemployment is increasing day by day. Continue reading