Ekta Parishad Dictionary

Word / Expression Translation / Definition

Acre

A measure of land equaling 43'560 square feet or 4'840 square yards. 1 acre = 0.404 hectares

Adivasi

Indigineous people or original inhabitants who maintained the traditional lifestyles until the 21th century. Most live in the forest and practice traditional subsistence agriculture or gathering. Up to 10% of the population of India are Adivasis

Affidavit

A formal sworn statement of fact

Ahimsa

Means "non-violence"; or "to do no harm or avoidance of violence". This was one Gandhi's central teachings and it is the main principle for Ekta Parishad's social action.

Ashram

A religious hermitage and would typically be located far from human habitation in forest or mountaineous regions amidst refreshing natural surroundings conducive to spiritual instruction and meditation.

Backward classes

Citizens of India otherwise defined as members of caste, groups, and often low-ranking and disadvantaged groups (sometimes referred to as Other Backward Classes). Discrimination against the Backward Classes is prohibited by Article 15 of the Indian Constitution. The Backward Classes reportedly constitute an estimated 52 % of India's population.

Bhil

a certain tribe

Bhoodan land

Land given by landlords to poor people during period of Bhoodan movement (1951-1968). The Land gifts were inspired by the work of Gandhian disciple, Acharya Vinoba Bhave.

Bhoodan movement

Also known as Land Gift Movement, the Bhoodan Movement was a voluntary Land Reforms Movement in India started by Acharya Vinoba Bhave in 1951 at Pochampally village 

Bhumi puja

A ceremony performed to inaugurate a landplot or new site for the construction of a house or building. Bhumi is the Hindu goddess "Mother Earth".

Bigha

unit of mesurement of an area of land. The bigha varies in size from one region to another; in India it is generally less than an acre.

Block (development block)

An administrative division earmarked for development covering several Gram Panchayats (villages) and a sub-district

Caste

The artificial divisions of society in India, signifying "breed, race, kind". It is a system of social startification and social restrictions, pertain to each caste. Thousands of endogamous hereditary groups often termed as "jatis" or castes.

Community grain

bank

A community grain bank involving all households at a village-level where food grains are jointly collected so that the poorest can xxx at a small interest rate. This action has the advantage of fighting indebtedness and building a consensus at the village and local level.

Crore 1 crore equals ten million roupies (INR 10'000'000)
Dacoit  A bandit
Dalit(s)

Dalit is a self-designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as untouchables (Harijans), outcastes, Scheduled Castes, and others living at a reduced social state.

Dharna

Meaning "sit-in", it is a method of seeking justice at the door of an offender and fasting until justice is obtained.

District

An administrative division normally encompassing several municipalities, "taluks", development blocks, gram panchayats and villages. There are 626 districts in India.

Ekta Arthik Manch

Economic wing of Ekta Parishad, which produces land and forest based products such as khadi, honey, organic cotton, bamboo, rice, oil, baiga cloth and natural drugs. Thanks to these programs, more than 10’000 villagers receive a stable and regular income.

Ekta Kala Manch 

Cultural wing of Ekta Parishad, its goal is to raise rural people’s awareness and highlight issues related to forest, land and water, by using cultural demonstrations. Drama, songs, films, comedy shows and poems are tools used to communicate Ekta Parishad’s messages in a more intimate manner.

Ekta Mahila Manch

Women's wing of Ekta Parishad, it was formed in an effort to increase the number of women participating in the decision making process from the village activist to the leadership level of Ekta Parishad. Women divide themselves into mobilization teams, advocacy teams and economic programming teams.

Ekta Parishad 

Means "United Forum". Founded in 1991 through the work of Rajagopal PV. 

Forest Department 

Every state has its own forest policy. It is engaged in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of forestry, and environmental programmes in the state. It is the sole custodian of rich forest resource of the state. The principal activities undertaken by the department consist of conservation of flora, fauna, sustainable management of forest and wildlife, rehabilitation of degraded forests, natural regeneration of forests, management of forest products in the framework of current policy and legislative environment.

Forest land

India’s Forest Conservation Act of 1980 states that any land recorded as forest in any land record is legally forest land whether or not there is any vegetation on the land. 

Forest Rights Act 

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is a key piece of forest legislation passed in India on December 18th 2006 and implemented in January 2008. It has also been called the Forest Rights Act, the Tribal Rights Act, the Tribal Bill and the Tribal Land Act. The law concerns the rights of forest dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial forest laws. 

Forest Rights Committee

Committee that is appointed by the Gram Sabha which consists of 15 villagers to deal with the invitation of claims under the Forest Rights Act. The committee should be composed of at least 5 women and be representative of the number of tribals in the community. 

Gheroing 

Tool used by Ekta Parishad to surround politicians in order to make pressure on them. The word originally comes from Bengali and is a typical South Asian way of protest.  

Gramdan Building village-based community organisations
Gram Kosh "Community grain bank".
Gram panchayat 

Group of villages forming a legally constituted administrative body 

Gram Sabha

A meeting of all adults who live in the ares covered by a panchayat. Anyone who is 18 years old or more and who has the right to vote is member of the Gram Sabha. Every panchayat is divided into "wards" or smaller areas. Each ward elects a representative who is known as the ward member. All the members of the Gram Sabha also elect a president who is the panchayat president. The ward members and the panchayat president form the gram panchayat. The gram panchayat is elected for 5 years.

Gram swaraj

Village self-rule was a pivotal concept in Gandhi's thinking. The fundamental concept of Gram swaraj is that every village should be its own republic. Each village should be basically self-reliant, making provision for all necessities of life - food, clothing, clean water, sanitation, housing, education and so on - including government and self-defence and all socially useful amenities required by a community.

Grass-roots movement

The term implies that the creation of the movement and the groups supporting it are natural and spontaneous. They are often at the local levels as many volunteers in the community give their

time to support the issue or event.
Grievance  It is a formal statement of complaint. It may rise from injustice and be a cause for rebellion or revolution. The tribals give grievances on not getting land entitlements from the authority. The grievance normally contains documents on residence, caste and land in posession.
Harijans

Term introduced by Mahatma Gandhi for untouchables. The literal meaning is children of God.

Hectare

Area measurement used to measure land in many countries of the world. 1 hectare = 2.47 acres. It takes 10'000 m2 to make 1 hectare.

Janadesh

People's verdict'. This was the name of the 28 day march of 25,000 landless peasants from Gwalior to Delhi led by Ekta Parishad in 2007.

Jan sunwayi  Public hearing 
Jai Jagat Victory to the world'. The key slogan of Ekta Parishad.
Jansatyagraha March-2012 

The planned march of 100,000 people from Gwalior to Delhi in 2012.

Lakh 1 lakh equals one hundred thousand rupees (INR 100'000). 
Landlord  Person who owns land. The landlord or zamindar system from colonial times was one of the main roadblocks to Land Reform
Locus Standi  One's legal standing to appear before a court. 
Manch  Forum or wing of an organization.
Morcha 

Demonstration or march organized to protest for a cause Mukhiya the elder of a village, a non-elected leader 

Mutual Help Groups (MHG)

A group of women sharing similar views and with similar economic socio-cultural background who meet regularly to exchange information and to interact with each other, usually composed of 10 to 20 local women. Usually, the members make small regular savings, when accumulated it's used for credit and also to start small economic activities. 

Nayak 

A chief, leader, general. In this case, it means an Ekta Parishad leader. 

Nistar rights 

Usufruct rights related to the collection of forest products, such as leaves. This is a main source of revenue for many tribal peoples. 

National Land Reforms Council (NLRC)

Indian government body which works on unfinished tasks of agrarian land reform in India. The NLRC was constituted under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister to look into issues such as land reforms and to make specific recommandations on the policies related to land (ceiling on land holding, distribution of land to eligible persons including the landless and homestead landless and for ensuring their posession), speedier disposal of land related court cases and judicial forms relating to the latter. 

Orange area 

The Orange Area is land disputed and claimed by both the Revenue and the Forest Departments. 

Padayatra 

Footmarch or journey by foot undertaken to interact more closely with different parts of society and to galvanize supporters. 

Panchayat 

A council (usually of 5 persons) assembled as a court of arbiters or jury; or as a committee of the people of a village, of the members of a state, to decide on questions interesting the body generally.

Patel 

The head-man of a village, having general control of village affairs; medium of communication with the officers of Government. 

Patta 

A deed or document that is evidence of a person's legal right to a property 

Responsible governance Revenue Department

To be completed…

Revenue land 

Agricultural land that may not be used for industrial or residential purposes

Rupee 

The standard coin of the Indian monetary system. In August 2010, 1 dollar US = 47 roupies

Sammelan  A meeting 
Sarpanch 

a democratically elected head of a village level statutory institution of local self-government called the gram panchayat (village government) in India. 

Satyagraha

Clinging to truth'. The main philosophy and practice developed by Mahatma Gandhi and his followers to secure sociopolitical reform by non-violent, resistance and non-cooperation.

Satyagrahi  The individual following the satyagraha philosophy 
Scheduled areas 

Article 244 of Indian Constitution allows the government to compile a list of areas of the country occupied by Scheduled Tribes.

Scheduled castes 

Article 341 of the Indian Constitution allows the government to compile a list of castes, races, or tribes or parts of groups within castes, races, or tribes that are economically and socially disadvantaged and are therefore entitled to specified benefits under the constitution. (see also Scheduled Tribes)

Scheduled tribes 

Article 342 of the Indian constitution includes a list of tribes or tribal communities that are economically disadvantaged and are entitled to specified benefits.

Social Change 

Change of social structures or practices which affect people directly or indirectly. 

Social Movement 

They are a type of group action in which a large number of people take action simultaneously in order to achieve a common goal. They are large informal groupings of individuals and/or organizations focused on specific political or social issues, in other words, on carrying out, resisting or undoing a social change. 

Systemic Violence 

Violence that results from social, economic or political structures which are inequitable. This is a key concept in bringing about social change.

State 

India is a federal union of states comprising of 28 states and 7 union territories. The state is formed mainly on the basis of ethnic and linguistic lands. The states and territories are further divided into districts and so on.

Swaraj 

Self-governance of "home-rule" or self-rule can be applied to many levels including the individual but the word usually refers to Gandhi's concept for Indian independance from foreign domination.

Task force 

Committee created by Indian government and composed of Government and civil society that focuses on special issues like land 

Tehsildar 

revenue administrative officer in India. A very high post in the indian administration, below the collector. 

Tribal 

In addition to its use as an adjective-tribal land or tribal customs, the word is also used as a noun to describe a tribesperson, tribesman, or tribeswoman.

Trusteeship 

A key concept of Gandhi's teaching drawn from the aboriginal view as an alternative to 'ownership'. People are considered to be trustees of their possessions and have an obligation to pass them on to future generations.

Village 

A clustered human settlement or community larger than a hamlet with a population varying between 50 and over 10'000 and often located in rural areas. 72 % of India's population lives in villages. There are 638,000 villages in India.

Yatra 

March carried out to highlight or change a situation of injustice. This began with Gandhi's famous 'Salt March' in 1930 and has continued with such marches as Janadesh 2007. 

Zamindar  Literally meaning "landlord".