Growing India Greens party

Australian Greens

at the recent COP26 climate negotiations, india notably opposed the phase-out of coal. Luckily, A national Green party is rising in India to help stem this tide.

By Suresh Nautiyal

India is the most populous democracy on Earth, situated close to powerful neighbours. It’s a rising power; a G20 nation. Population-wise, India is a large democratic country. And it has a big role in the geopolitical context.

The country, however, has not been playing its expected global role correctly. For example, India is among those countries which failed the COP26, notably opposing the phase-out of coal thanks to our own coal industry, some of which is nationalised. A national Green party is rising in India to help stem this tide.

I was a founding member of a state Green party in Uttarakhand, a mountainous state in north India. When I travelled to several countries as part of the Global Greens, I realised that we needed a Green party at the national level.

Besides, Green leaders like Bob Brown, Margaret Blakers (Australia), Frank Habineza and Papa Dieng (Africa) and several other leaders from many countries wondered why there was not a Green party in India. Then Michelle Sheather, the Australian Greens International Development Coordinator, and Bob Hale (now Global Greens Co-Convenor) came on the scene and they started helping us.

After returning from the Global Greens Liverpool Congress, the spade work began. Two of us travelled to several parts of the country to build support for a Green party and in July 2017 we called a meeting in Delhi and invited Green activists. Some 44 activists from 17 states, including the famous Irom Sharmila Chanu, took part in the meeting and resolved to build a Green party at the national level.

We called the foundation convention on 17-18 November 2021, in which around 300 people from several states took part, and formally founded the India Greens. In this convention, the party elected its first national executive committee for three years and adopted the party constitution and some policies. In December 2018, we applied for registration with the Election Commission of India, then received registration in July 2019. Today we have footprints in 27 states/union territories, elected state executives in three states, and ad-hoc committees/working groups in more than 10 states/union territories.

Our party takes care of gender equity, social justice and diversity as India is a diverse country with so many religions, languages and ethnicities. I always tell the party members that the IGP is a party for the future. Today, we are ready to take great leaps. Next year onwards, we will be contesting elections in the state parliaments and the national parliament.

What is equally important is the help of the Australian Greens who have stood behind us like a rock. The unflinching support in several manners have helped us grow faster.

We have been working alongside the AG International Development Committee for more than the past five years. We have organised or participated in four gender equity trainings, attended two study tours in Australia, spoke at the gender equity trainings, attended party conferences, and organised our conventions – all with the Australian Greens’ help.

For Indian friends living in Australia, take care of the country you live in. Also, take care of the country you left behind to earn your bread. This cannot happen without supporting a Green party back home.

As a citizen on Earth, I am doing my part. Creating a Green party is like paying back Mother Nature, because that is the guarantee for a sustainable future for the generations to come.

So let me repeat a proverb: we have borrowed the Earth from our future generations. We have to return it to them. There is no other way out!

Suresh Nautiyal is the founder and first president of the India Greens.

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