Dr. Vandana Shiva, Eminent Environmental Activist & Eco-feminist Delivers the Oration
24th September, 2019: XLRI- Xavier School of Management recently organized the 6th “Dr Verghese Kurien Memorial Oration on Sustainable Development”. Organised under the aegis of Fr Arrupe Center for Ecology and Sustainability (FACES), XLRI, in memory of the Founder of AMUL Dr. Verghese Kurien, otherwise known as “the Milkman of India”, the oration aims to provide a platform to listen to and learn from thought leaders, social entrepreneurs, development sector professionals and policy makers who have made a significant contribution to the idea of an empowered, prosperous and sustainable society.
This year, Dr. Vandana Shiva, eminent Environmental Activist & Ecofeminist delivered the oration on the topic “Oneness vs The 1%: Ecological responses to the threat for planet and humanity”.
The event was also graced by Nirmala Kurien, daughter of Dr Verghese Kurien with Fr. P. Christie, S. J., Director of XLRI, Dr. Ashis K. Pani, Dean (Academics), XLRI, Dr. Madhukar Shukla, Chairperson, Fr. Arrupe Center for Ecology & Sustainability (FACES), XLRI and other dignitaries.
In her speech, Dr. Vandana Shiva observed, “The principles and ideas that shaped Dr Kurien’s contribution to the cooperative dairy sector are principles and ideas that have shaped my work on seeds, biodiversity and agro-ecology. These are principles of justice and sustainability.” She pointed out in her address that Dr Kurien’s movement was built on Cooperation and not Competition. “Cooperation is the law of nature and justice in society, cooperation creates abundance and peace. Competition is an artificial construct that creates scarcity and conflict. Dr Kurien focused on the small producers and created the largest dairy economy of the world. He did not impose the violence of centralised factory farms,” she added.
Elaborating about her ‘Navdanya’ movement, she said that the ‘Navdanya’ movement focuses on the small seed, and the small farmer, “Industrial agriculture based on fossil fuels and chemicals has destroyed soil, contributed to water emergency and climate emergency, which has led to hunger, malnutrition and chronic diseases. Navdanya’s work has shown that by conserving our biodiversity and practicing agro-ecology, we can remove hunger, end farmers’ suicides, and stop the spread of toxics and chemicals which are killing biodiversity and spreading cancer.”
In his address, Fr. P. Christie, S. J. Director of XLRI, welcomed Dr. Vandana Shiva and elaborated on her contributions and movements for food security. He said, “We are indeed privileged to have with us Dr Vandana Siva, a well-known environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, and an active participant in the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has actively promoted biodiversity and indigenous knowledge to increase agricultural productivity, nutrition and farmer’s income. She has devoted her life to give life to earth and the poor who have been affected.”
Prof. Madhukar Shukla, Chairperson of XLRI’s Fr Arrupe Center for Ecology & Sustainability (FACES) said in his address, “FACES at XLRI was established with the mission to promote practices and policies, which will help create an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and just society.”
“The Oration is to commemorate the memory of Dr Verghese Kurien, since, needless to say, that there is no better model for sustainable development – both in terms of his life and legacy – than Dr Kurien. It is an honour to have Dr. Vandana Shiva, a noted environmentalist and ecofeminist, with us today to deliver the 6th Dr Verghese Kurien Oration this year,” Prof. Madhukar Shukla further added.