You might wonder why I’m writing about a calendar when we are almost half way through the year. The thing is, I forgot to write about it when I received the calendar in January. And the reason I forgot is because I’ve always considered the Social Movements Calendar (SMC) to be more of a resource, and less of a calendar, in the sense that it is not time-bound for me. Besides, I never give away the SMC even after its “validity” is over. As to why I do so, well… read on 🙂
Originally conceptualised by the late Smitu Kothari, the 2014 SMC Calendar is its fifth edition and returns after a gap in 2013. The good people from Intercultural Resources India, who bring out the SMC, have this to say about it:
The Social Movements Calendar 2014 is a collective process and a non-profit endeavor meant as a tool to educate and create public awareness about the vast array of people’s struggles in India.
Like previous editions, this one too is an effort to document peoples’ struggles and protests. While the previous two editions were theme-based — “peoples’ struggles against international financial institutions (IFIs)” in 2011, and “saga of labour struggles from colonisation to globalisation” in 2012 — the 2014 calendar does not state any particular theme on the first page of the calendar.
But when one goes through the calendar it is to discover that the most recent protests in India have been included in the calendar.
Every protest/issue highlighted in the SMC 2014 is spread over two calendar months. So, while January and February are all about the Koodankulam Anti-Nuclear Movement, March and April are dedicated to the Dongria Kondhs and the Niyamgiri Hills, May and June to the Maruti Workers’ Struggle, July and August to the Heartrending Story of Soni Sori, September and October to Irom Sharmila’s Struggle against the AFSPA, and November and December to the Delhi Gangrape & Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013. Every protest/issue is introduced with some background information, and is then followed by a timeline of events.
The date squares in the calendar mention a protest / rally / landmark judgement that happened on a particular day. For example, on March 23, 2013, has this entry — “The Supreme Court fines Vedanta US$ 18.4 Million for flouting environmental norms in its Tuticorin plant”.
The calendar also highlights important commemorative days across the year. Some of the lesser known ones are World Day of Social Justice (February 20), World Consumer Rights Day (March 15), World Hunger Day (May 28), World Child Labour Day (June 12), International Day Against Nuclear Tests (August 29), International Literacy Day (September 8), International Day of Rural Women (October 15), and World Fisheries Day (November 21).
I am not a fan of commemorative days as I believe that it only promotes blatant consumerism and a token acknowledgement & discussion around the date and then remain forgotten for the rest of the year. But the commemorative dates marked on the SMC are just not token acknowledgements — it is all about these issues all through the calendar. The SMC is perhaps the only one of its kind to document people’s struggles in this rather innovative way. And by making it a knowledge resource, the SMC outlives its life as a calendar and is relevant even after the calendar year is over.
If I have one grouse with the SMC 2014, it is the production quality — the paper is thinner as compared to previous years, photographs could have done with some colour correction, the font is really small and condensed and I found it a real strain to read the details. In spite of all this, the SMC 2014 is still relevant and will join the SMC 2011 and SMC 2012 on my bookshelf when this year ends. 🙂
Read about the earlier editions of the SMC