“Kam” is a word in many languages including Khasi and Garo which means “work”. A society which respects work and working people is a society worth living in. KAM is not an acronym.
KAM seeks to be a political platform for democratic renewals. It has emerged from the diverse movements and campaigns of the people for a just and inclusive Meghalaya, and is fired by our experiences in people’s struggles in different arenas from workers rights to gender justice, to land rights and environmental justice to challenging authoritarianism and fundamentalism and defending individual rights and various other freedoms.
KAM acknowledges the contributions of those who struggled for India’s independence and the struggle for statehood. We acknowledge every citizen of the state – men, women and young people who have contributed towards building Meghalaya for the past 50 years. This includes the workers, teachers, farmers, professionals, health workers, scholars, journalists, artists, sport persons, traders, homemakers and others.
While doing so however, we must also admit that Meghalaya has increasingly become one of the poorest and worst governed states in the country in all aspects from health, education, employment, environment, people being pushed into poverty, and alienation from their forest, agricultural land and homes. We know that 76% of the rural population of Meghalaya suffer from landlessness. In addition, in these 50 years we have also witnessed corruption, abuse of power, all manner of illegalities, increased economic disparity, and exploitation of labour.
KAM urges the people of Meghalaya to not allow this to continue. Those before us have fought and sacrificed to establish self-governance which is transparent and accountable. Through our collective and participatory political involvement we can shape Meghalaya into a just and fair society.
Ideology and Principles
KAM believes that justice, equality and mutual respect will build a just and strong Meghalaya.
KAM believes in participatory democracy where each and every citizen of the State who toils has a role and stake in the governance and politics of Meghalaya. Governance and politics in the State should not be for the few who have power, wealth and privilege but for the many that toil and struggle especially the weak and the marginalised.
KAM believes that electoral politics is one of the ways through which people can intervene to shape the destiny of the State.
KAM calls upon all the citizens of the State to come forward and to recast Meghalaya into a new progressive society.
KAM Will Work Towards
Transparent Governance and Politics
- To bring in transparent governance that works towards giving opportunities to all citizens to participate at all levels of governance starting from the village to the Legislative Assembly.
- To put an end to the current state of governance that is characterised by the abuse of power, corruption, and crony capitalism.
- This will be achieved by building on our history and traditions and refining it in light of progressive principles. Tradition and culture should not be seen as an impediment in achieving an egalitarian and progressive society. Instead we should be in a critical relationship with our past to move ahead to the future.
- To bring governance in which everyone is equal, has rights, works together and has the freedom of expression and belief.
Defeating Corruption and Criminalisation of Politics
In recent years we have seen an increase in corruption, abuse of power and privilege, discrimination, exploitation, violence against women and children, and the protection of criminal elements by those in power. This threatens the State and our society and we should put a complete stop to it.
Protecting Land, Environment and Farmers
- To strengthen the Land laws in a way that protects against dispossession and land alienation of the weaker sections of the society.
- Land, forest, rivers, fields, and the commons should be protected for the benefit of the community so that they can sustain for generations to come.
- To debate and discuss land reforms and make laws like the Land Ceiling Act to protect the rights of the indigenous population of the State.
- To evolve and strengthen environmental regulations and practices in favour of conservation of our natural resources of land, forests and rivers for the benefit of all the citizens and not just for the elites.
- To strengthen agriculture and fight for the rights of farmers and protection of their interests.
- To make laws and policies to free the farmers from exploitation and debt and to impart ownership rights.
- KAM believes in the economy of sufficiency not the economy of Greed.
- Economic policies should be geared towards prosperity, hope and happiness of each and every citizen.
- Economic policies have to be framed for and measured by human welfare and not profit making.
- To stop policies that benefit only the elites and their interests which are detrimental to the majority of the citizens and to the environment.
- To bring in policies and laws for the weak, poor and marginalised.
- Strengthen an Economy that encourages the entrepreneurial spirit thar is not hampered by patronage network and corruption
- To strive for an Economy that ensures a level playing field and regulates concentration of economic power in the hands of the few
- To bring in economic policies that are rooted in sustainable development and employment generation
- Health and access to health should be a fundamental right of each and every citizen.
- Access to quality health care should not be restricted to only those with means but for all.
- Kam aims to bring affordable health care to all the citizens across all corners of the State.
- To expand health concerns to include public health issues such as substance abuse, mental health and care for the aged.
- To regulate the extortive profit making motive of the private health sector.
Enabling Quality & Accessible Education
- Education is the right of all citizens.
- KAM will bring in policies and laws to ensure that all educational institutions will be places that will have spaces to debate and dissent, to give opportunities for students to bring out their potential.
- To make policies and laws that restricts the exploitative and profit making nature of private educational institutions.
- Education has to be rooted in local histories and local knowledge tempered by rationality and science.
Decentralised, Well Funded, Accountable Local Civic Governance
- KAM will work towards building people centric towns and villages with accessible and sustainable civic amenities like clean drinking water, roads, electricity, leisure spaces, and an ecologically sustainable waste management system.
- Civic amenities should be responsive to people’s needs.
- To give youth the opportunity and access to institutional support that fulfils their hopes and aspirations.
- Prepare the youth to the challenges of technology and climate change.
- To have policies that encourage and support long term engagement with sports, music and the arts.
Corruption Free Jobs
- Work should be life affirming and ensure physical, mental and emotional well being of the person and family.
- KAM will ensure that job-seeking and appointments are not marred by systemic corruption and nepotism
- Contracts should be open and transparent and geared towards local skills and needs
Defending Workers Rights
- To fight for the rights and honour of the workers keeping in mind their dignity of labour and their contributions to the State.
- To achieve this through laws and policies that protect their rights and provide opportunities for growth.
Ushering Gender Equality and the Rights of Women and Sexual Minorities
KAM believes in gender equality in all aspects of life and will work towards mitigating gender based discrimination and gender violence.
Peace, Security and Safety of All Citizens
KAM believes that all citizens of Meghalaya should have peace and rule of law. KAM will strive for the rights and safety of all disadvantaged and minority groups across spectrums.
Opposing Religious Fundamentalism
- KAM believes in respecting all religions and beliefs.
- KAM stands against communal and fundamentalist forces and will fight against divisive forces of hate.
Federal and Plural India
- KAM believes in cultural diversity and will always challenge the imposition of a single identity.
- KAM believes that India is a union of states where power needs to be shared equitably between the states and the Union Government.
- KAM will be a party of collaborative federalism and inclusive regionalism where interest of the people of Meghalaya will be paramount and it will not bend to the dictates of the Union Government or majoritarian forces.
- KAM also believes that inclusive grassroots institutions, under the framework of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, are crucial and must be democratically structured, organised and strengthened in the state, ensuring transparency and accountability in its working structure
Encouraging Dissent and Debates
KAM believes in democratic values rooted in debates, dissent and freedom of expression, and a truly democratic society where everyone is heard.
THE WAY FORWARD
All that has been said can only be achieved through a group that is rooted in people’s struggle and does not see legislative power as an end in itself. This can be achieved by a formation that is a platform for people committed to ethical political actions.
KAM rejects that politics is an extension of business interest or dynastic power or form of patronage. Politics is considered ‘dirty’ but people who toil and who believe in justice and rights should come forward to clean the rot. If we do not fix it now we will be heading for disaster.
KAM believes that Electoral politics is not the playground of the rich, criminals and their cronies but an arena in which everyone can participate to create the future they want. Truly democratic politics is not just an intellectual activity and cannot be focussed on individual leaders. Transformative politics can exist only with full and active participation of the working masses.
We in KAM come from various backgrounds and experiences. We may be workers, farmers, daily wage workers, students, self employed youth, homemakers, teachers, artists, musicians, retired government servants, intellectuals and activists, but we share a passion for reclaiming democracy by speaking truth to power.
We in KAM believe that true change will come not through Leaders but through coming together of people who want to discover the values of democratic citizenship in their everyday life. If you are a citizen of Meghalaya who is angry and frustrated with the present socio-political conditions of the state then KAM is the community you should join.
We invite you to engage and be part of this effort. You can even begin by giving your comments, critique and valuable suggestions of this document and can also join us as volunteers/members.
KAM Meghalaya, Hari Sabha, Laban, Shillong 793004, Meghalaya