[WSF-Discuss] Fwd: [lokayat.pune] Fr. Tom Kocherry passes away

Sukla Sen sukla.sen at gmail.com
Sat May 3 07:37:10 CDT 2014

Too sad and shocking.

My deepest condolences.


On 03/05/2014, Jai Sen <jai.sen at cacim.net> wrote:
> Saturday, 3 May 2014
> Worlds in movement, worlds of movement...
> Another great warrior walks on :
> Fr. Tom Kocherry passes away
> Thanks, Neeraj...
>             In memory and in honour,
>             JS
> fwd
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: neeraj jain <neerajj61 at gmail.com>
>> Subject: [lokayat.pune] Fr. Tom Kocherry passes away
>> Date: May 3, 2014 4:26:12 PM GMT+05:30
>> To: lokayat.pune at lists.riseup.net
>> Reply-To: neeraj jain <neerajj61 at gmail.com>
> Dear All,
> With great sorrow, we inform that Father Thomas Kocherry passed away today.
> He was an indefatigable soul, always active.
> Another great loss to the movement.
> He was such a fantastic person, with whom we had worked in close
> collaboration in the Anti-Nuclear Struggle, and had spent so much time
> together. He was like Prof Banwarilal, always active, risking his health.
> Very sad news.
> Let us pledge to continue to work towards their dreams of building a more
> humane, just, peaceful, society.
> in solidarity,
> Neeraj
> --
> Neeraj Jain, Lokayat
> Flat No. 20, Building No. A-3,
> Ishanya Nagari, Warje,
> Pune - 411 058
> Ph. Mobile 094222 20311
> Landline: 020-25231251
> From the New Internationalist, Issue 452 :
> Tom Kocherry: fisher for justice
> The 71-year-old legend of social movement politics in India shows no signs
> of slowing down, as Richard Swift discovers.
> Redemptorist priest, union leader, anti-nuclear activist and people's
> movement educator - Tom Kocherry (pictured below) is a senior sage of
> India's environmental and social justice movements. Despite scars from many
> battles, he remains an inveterate optimist - 'Every fight, every movement,
> every reform is an optimism,' he says.
> You just can't stop Thomas Kocherry. After four heart attacks, innumerable
> fasts and 16 stints in jail, he shows no sign of slowing down. His current
> target is the controversial Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu. The
> campaign has mobilized local villagers and activists from across the country
> who fear that, like Fukushima in Japan, the plant may be vulnerable to a
> tsunami. The movement has fought tooth and nail since construction started
> in 1989. 'You cannot talk about social justice without talking about the
> environment,' says Kocherry. 'There can be no shortcuts, no depleting of
> natural capital.' This in part explains his anti-nuclear stance. When not
> campaigning, he travels South India putting on seminars for young
> activists.
> Tom Kocherry Richard Swift
> The fifth of eleven children, Kocherry grew up in the Backwaters region of
> Kerala, where poor fisher folk used small boats to eke a living from the
> fresh waters that parallel the Indian Ocean. The two influences on his early
> adult life were the church (particularly the social gospel of the
> Redemptorist Fathers) and the radical Left movement that contested Keralan
> politics (led by the Communist Party of India) from the first days of
> independence. It was natural enough for Kocherry to make common cause with
> the poor inshore fisher folk and their struggles. He and three other
> Redemptorists made their living as part of the Shore Seine fishery, and
> helped organize health clinics and nurseries amongst the hard-working but
> desperately poor fishers systematically exploited by a series of wholesalers
> and merchants.
> In the late 1970s, Keralan fishers started to organize and assert their
> rights on a whole range of issues. They set up an organization called the
> Kerala Independent Fishworkers Federation. In 1981 Kocherry and fellow
> leader Joyachan Antony went on an 11-day fast in favour of a Monsoon Trawl
> Ban (the breeding season for many varieties of fish) in Kerala. Kocherry was
> arrested on trumped-up charges; in the course of defending himself he
> managed to fit in a law degree at Kerala University.
> By 1982 the fishworkers' struggle had gone national, with Kocherry elected
> president of the National Fishworkers Forum. In the mid-1990s he led a
> nationwide campaign to stop the Indian government from opening up the
> country's fishing industry to a growing fleet of 2,600 large foreign
> trawlers. With 10 million Indians dependent on a sustainable fishery for
> their survival, the stakes were high. A militant campaign included marches,
> fasts and blocking of major fish ports around the country. The Indian
> government was forced to withdraw the legislation - one of the first and
> most significant victories against corporate globalization. Kocherry, who
> went on to help form the World Forum of Fisher People, understands the
> tensions of fighting for the rights of the fishing community in an era of
> declining global fish stocks. 'You simply cut from the top. The biggest,
> most destructive, trawlers go first and you work your way down until you
> reach a sustainable fishery.'
> Kocherry has thought a lot about people's movements - how they succeed and
> fail. These days, he is highly critical both of the Communist Party of India
> (Marxist) and the established Christian church. 'They become
> institutionalized, create dogmas and rituals and statues of their gods, they
> become powermongering or give in to the power of money.' For Kocherry, the
> strength of a people's movement lies elsewhere. 'It must be from the bottom
> up. The challenge is to create an evolving revolutionary structure that
> never becomes institutionalized or ossified by power.' It is a vision that
> would strike a chord with today's Occupy Movements and their search for new
> organizational forms.
> Richard Swift is a former New Internationalist co-editor.
> - See more at:
> http://newint.org/columns/makingwaves/2012/05/01/tom-kocherry-interview/#sthash.mLIcVM6R.dpuf
> Tom Kocherry: fisher for justice
> Tom Kocherry: fisher for justice
> ______________________________
> Jai Sen
> jai.sen at cacim.net
> www.cacim.net / http://www.openword.in
> Now based in Ottawa, Canada (+1-613-282 2900), and New Delhi, India
> (+91-98189 11325)
> Jai Sen and Peter Waterman, eds, 2012 - World Social Forum : Critical
> Explorations. Volume 3 in the Challenging Empires series.  New Delhi :
> OpenWord. Available now as an ebook - internationally at
> http://www.into-ebooks.com/book/world_social_forum/ and in India at
> http://pothi.com/pothi/book/ebook-jai-sen-world-social-forum-critical-explorations
> Jai Sen, ed, 2012 - Imagining Alternatives, Book 3 in the Are Other Worlds
> Possible ? series.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Daanish Books
> Jai Sen, ed, forthcoming (2013) - The Movements of Movements : Struggles for
> Other Worlds. Volume 4 in the Challenging Empires series.  New Delhi :
> OpenWord
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