Emergency Land Rights Aid for the Desperately Poor in India
Your support for India Land Rights Project will enable us to protect the land, save thousands from destitution, and help change the course of a nation.
A property rights revolution in rural India has dramatically improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of previously destitute indigenous farmers and tribal villagers.
India has the world’s largest population of indigenous people, over 104 million. They have lived in forest villages for hundreds of years. But as India’s economy has boomed, their land and resources have become much more valuable, and attacks by corrupt politicians and corporations have put thousands of villages and farms at risk of seizure and destruction.
In the last six months, the situation has become critical.
Trupti Mehta, a leader of the land rights movement in India explains that before the establishment of land rights, these indigenous villagers had been desperately poor and terribly abused. Life was at the lowest imaginable state of existence.
Control of their lands had been taken by the British colonial administration for a nature preserve and, with Indian independence, authority was transferred to a national Forest Department. Centuries of traditional land use was swept aside by government officials.
“The people lived in squalor. They hovered around the bitter cold winter for lack of clothing, blankets, and shelter. They scrounged for roots to eat. Their huts were straw and demolished at the whim of Forestry officials “
“These people were constantly beaten by Forestry officials and the local police. Forestry officials would fine them, force them to do labor for the government, wreck their homes and fields, seize their livestock. They were treated as subhuman.”
Land-rights teams in India organized villagers, advising them not to cower, not to give in to thecorrupt authorities. Instead, they learned how to effectively defend their land and their farms, peacefully and non-violently.
They created a simple and sound method of surveying land with hand-held GPS devices, plotting coordinates on satellite maps through Google Earth.
So far, our teams have successfully documented land claims in over 250 villages, protecting thousands of poor Indians.
But thousands more urgently need our help now.
Villagers reviewing Google Satellite images with our team
What has all this meant to the villagers? It has transformed their lives.
Once land rights are established, there are no food shortages now and government subsidies are no longer necessary to prevent widespread starvation.
Because they are secure in their investment, they fence their land to protect against wildlife, build lofts to protect against water damage and rodents, and build wells and irrigation systems.
With land titles, villagers are protected from forced labor and the confiscation of their produce and livestock.
For hundreds of thousands of poor Indian farmers, learning how to establish and defend their land rights has made the difference between extreme poverty and economic security . . . starvation and food surpluses . . . life and death.
You can make the difference between life and death for many
Your support for our India Land Rights Project will enable us to defend human rights, help end poverty for thousands, and change the course of a nation.
Technical, legal and other costs average $2,000 a village to train villagers, register land titles, and legally protect them. And every penny we receive is carefully spent and accounted for, and all property registration is tracking in our open database.
Land-rights teams have successfully registered and defended thousands of land titles in hundreds of tribal villages. With your support, we will register thousands more in the coming months.
Our immediate goal is to register and defend land rights in 200 villages in the next year, which will require US $400,000.
The situation in India is urgent. Every day that passes, more and more indigenous Indians have their property seized and their lands destroyed.
Please send whatever you can to help. Every dollar makes a difference.
Also your contributions are 100% tax-deductible in the USA. Liberty International is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.
Help us save thousands of lives.
Please contribute what you can to protect land rights for the destitute native people in India.
You can help change the course of a nation.