Theatre director and activist Prasanna is going to sit on an indefinite hunger satyagraha from October 2 at Bengaluru to propagate what he calls ‘sacred economy’ or the economy of restraint. Sacred economy has been described as one which is labour-intensive, and it includes the hand-made products segment.
Up to October 5, it will be a relay satyagraha where many people would be joining for a day or two, but after that Prasanna would be on an indefinite hunger strike.
“Two years ago, when we sat on a satyagraha, it was to demand withdrawal of GST on hand-made products. The then finance minister Arun Jaitley promised that the government would remove taxes on handmade products, but nothing came of it. They only reduced it. Now, the situation has worsened. The rot has spread, and the economic crisis has resulted in serious joblessness. It has now affected other sectors too. The small manufacturer, the small trader, garnet sector and the service sector have all been badly hit,” explained Prasanna.
“We want the government to remove tax on products from the sacred economy. All the benefits that the government can give, must be given to this labour-intensive sector, and not to the ‘monster economy’,” added Prasanna.
Prasanna describes ‘sacred economy’ as one which is labour-intensive and is nature friendly. “We have created a scale instead of a dividing line, where one end of the scale is complete hand-made goods using local resources and the other end is complete automation,” added Prasanna.
Several of the processes that are applied now are damaging to the economy and nature. “We are linking the job losses with climate crisis. Unless we change the economic system, we cannot mitigate either crises. It is the only path left for human survival. We have reached a do or die situation today,” points out Prasanna.
“We have to change the way we respond to the current crises. The current economic system is killing, and it has created a political system that is too angry. We need a system that strikes a balance between nature and entrepreneurship. We should first make people mindful. Our demand is to give jobs and promote jobs that keep nature green. This is a long-drawn battle and I am not interested in false bravado,” stressed Prasanna.
Leading up to the satyagraha, several programmes were organised in Bengaluru to involve the youth. On Tuesday, October 1, there was a public workshop organised to speak about the economy of restraint. On October 3, there would be a public meet on sacred labour with Vandana Shiva and people from Karnataka Industrial and Other Establishments Employees Federation.