At BIPA, we are constantly working for the motherland Mobaim / Bombay and the Indigenous of the land. Following are a brief of activities conducted by us over the years.
Homeopathy Medical camps: More than 25,000 people from all walks of life were served.
United Nations World Indigenous Peoples Day
9th August is World Indigenous Peoples Day. We at BIPA gathered various Indigenous of Bombay and from other states and celebrated the event. We even shared grievances and possible solutions to our issues.
Celebrated by BIPA for the past 4 years and counting.
Environmental Educational Drives
At BIPA we have the expertise in professional Photography, Film making, Writing, Environmental Conservation among other expertise. We have come up with this unique course that will not only make the participant undertaking this course a proficient environmentalist, but also making the participant a professional photographer, a documentary film maker, a scuba diver and a researcher. This fun filled course makes for a great career choice too.
Environmental Awareness Curriculum in Universities and Schools
This Unique programme authored and executed by Luke Gabriel Mendes, was pilot tested in Xaviers University Bhubaneswar under the mentorship of Dr. Peppin [Dean] with the support of Dr. Elizabeth Abba. This programme was a small part of the MBA in Sustainable Management programme tested on the 2nd year MBA students of Sustainability management in XUB. The Students loved the programme and was enlightened overall. We have partnered with ANET India, CHINAR from Kullu Manali, URMUL from Rajasthan among other NGO’s working on the ground.
We are also creating a programme for schools with scheduled trainings and workshops with teachers, scientific community and NGO’s.
Socio Political Empowerment
The Indigenous of every land have been marginalised and we in Mobaim / Bombay have first hand experience of being at the receiving end. We do not have any representation in the democratic process [Parliament], our natural rights, our land rights and rights to the Sea are being taken away slowly making way for the metropolis and profiting corporations [BMC, MMRDA etc]. Our fields and ancestral land was taken away by previous governments under the urban land ceiling act [ULCA].
Our fertile fields were taken to build roads, the railways, the airport and other city infrastructure like flyovers and large highways.
To keep the fight on, we at BIPA participated in 3 elections and learnt of the rampant obstacles in this democratic process with alleged EVM scams and what not. We participated nonetheless. We continue to empower potential leaders from the Indigenous community.
We have trained and prepped Bombay / Mobaim Indigenous people candidates for the local Municipal elections. We are also conducting leadership programmes.
Political Debates in Colleges
BIPA organised a political debate in St Xaviers college in the year 2013 with an objective to gauge the millennials view point and give them accessibility to political independent candidates.
In India, a common person questioning a politician or political candidate is unheard of due to the VIP culture and inaccessibility of these persons.
BIPA organised a debate under XISR – Xaviers Institute of Social Research, inviting Candidates and political scientist and author Dr. Louis Dsilva, Dr. Fr. Michael researcher an expert on Dalits in India, Dr. Fr. Anthony Dias [moderator], Mr. Mayank Gandhi a Citizen Candidate for AAP Mumbai with Mr. Luke Gabriel Mendes Faculty at XIC and organiser of the event.
The students had an enriching experience with this one of its kind interaction.
Save our land campaign, where BIPA was part of the other Indigenous NGO’s that came together to protest the corporation BMC from acquiring our lands that would endanger the mangroves in Malwani as well as displace the indigenous peoples. 50,000 people rallied in Azad maidan peacefully without any incident. The BMC was not allowed to work on the disputed area and the ruling party in that area the Congress Party lost the elections.
Other non-indigenous passionate Activists, Lawyers and retired Judges attended the campaign. Their participation made the campaign stronger.
Preservation of the Indigenous evolved habitat
Indigenous habitat are called Gaothans [kulbis/farmers habitat], Koliwadas [kolis or fisherfolk habitat, Aagripada [Aagris or salt pan workers habitat], Aadivasi pada [Aadivasi or forest dweller habitat], Kumbharwada [Kumbhars or potters habitat], Bhim padas [Dalit habitats, traditional Dalits are also considered mulvasis/indigenous].
Since Bombay / Mobaim has a high value real estate, our indigenous habitats have been usurped by the BMC and the builder community. We are constantly in some from or the other conflicting with the Government and its corporate bodies. Policy has cornered the indigenous and has not favoured us at all. This has reduced most of the indigenous habitat to slums.
Other habitats like Gaothans have been preserved and have the old charm of the indigenous since they were improved during the Portuguese rule. Prior to the Portuguese, the indigenous habitats were made of rice straw roofs and stone or brick walls. The poorer communities had houses of rice straw roofs and bamboo with walls of cow dung and mud. The architecture of Gaothans today still resemble ancient Portuguese quaint villages.
[A picturesque Gaothan / village in Gorai, an island connected to the mainland. picture taken in 2017. Image Source: Luke Mendes]