Tag Archive: Udayani Social Action Forum


By Fr Irudaya Jothi, S.J.

Pope Benedict XVI in his Encyclical Caritas in Veritate wrote, “Love – Caritas – is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace (No.1)”. In order to ensure justice and peace for human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, we need to work for human promotion based on an authentic spirituality and integrity of creation.

It is imperative for us to live an authentic spirituality and gradually grow in it on the basis of the Holy Scriptures and the Catholic Social Teachings. This will enable us to work for bettering human promotion and integrity of creation.

Vatican Council II had directed the church to serve the world by building the ‘kingdom of God’. This orientation is presented in the famous opening statement of Gaudium et Spes: “The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in anyway, are the joy and hope and grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well” (GS1).

The Society of Jesus, since the General Congregation 32, has taken this clarion call in a focused way and said, ‘the Society should commit itself to work for the promotion of justice’, and continued, ‘Since evangelization is proclamation of that faith which is made operative in love of others, the promotion of justice is indispensable to it’ (Decree 4)

In response to the Vatican Council II, we, the Jesuits, set out on a journey of faith as we committed ourselves to the promotion of Justice as an integral part of our mission (GC.34. Decree. 3, 50.1).

Calcutta province of the Society of Jesus has taken this mandate from the Church and the Society in her Justice intervention in Bengal.

Around 400 Self Help Groups (SHG) that we formed and coordinate since last 12 years have become a formidable force today and hope for a better future in rural Bengal.

One of our main engagements of ours today is the ‘Right To Food’ (RTF) movement. Entering into the Rights Based Approach in our operational area we learned that we need to commit in the ‘food rights’ of the people.

Since most of us us are unaware of these rights and we decided to translate the government order into Bengali and Urdu and with the help of other NGOs distributed hand bills and leaflets with the basic information on the numerous projects and programs for the poor and the marginalized people of the country.

We conducted a study in the villages and found alarming violation of these schemes and so started mass campaigning through the SHG women.

Udayani took a lead in organising all the NGOs involved in the committee for common plan of action on people’s food rights. Which lead into forming of “Right to Food and work campaign west Bengal”, Udayani is State Secretariat for this movement!

To empower on the rights of the poor in the rural Bengal, in the last two months we have coordinated “Tala Kholo Abhijan” (open the locks movement), while people’s courage and knowledge heightened on their food rights the Government machinery becoming responsible delivering the just goods to the people.

The life and words of Jesus and the teaching of his Church call us to serve those in need and to work actively for social and economic justice. Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI declares that the “Church’s task, with her social doctrine, in building a just social order is that of reawakening spiritual and moral forces. This kind of spirituality builds up the world according to the spirit of Jesus”.

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By Fr Mourlin Fernando, S.J.

The Right to Food/ Work campaign network NGOs working in Bankura District, with around 800 women and men from villages  gathered at a ground next to the District magistrate’s office and took out a rally to District Controller food supply (DCFS) with various demands and to submit a deputation with local demands on  July 18 as part of the state level campaign carried out in various districts. Jesuit-run Udayani Social Action Forum as State Secretariat of the network is leading this peoples’  movement.
Rev. Kalyan Kisku, CNI pastor and Director of Rural Development society and Jesuit Fr Mourlin Fernado, representing Udayani Social Action Forum at Bankura were the main organizers of the campaign.
The villagers demanded that the Supreme Court order on Food schemes be implemented without delay and Government’s plan to reduce the food grain to the poor scraped. They also demanded that all poor irrespective of APL and BPL be given food grains through public distribution system.
The police chased the peaceful women forcefully, when the latter tried to enter into the Food Controller’s office. A near riot situation was controlled by the activists’ intervention. A delegation was called in then to discuss the matter.
The delegates demanded that DCFS immediately convenes the Vigilance committee meetings at all level. The district has no committee as yet at the Block and panchayat level as per the State rule!
The District Controller declared that the vigilance committee would meet regularly, and vigilance committees would be formed at Block and shop level without delay. He also announced the increased ration supply to the people as per the state order from August onwards.  He enumerated the scale of each APL and BPL quota and price for each. He invited the NGO representatives to join him on his weekly visits to the blocks and shops in the villages.