Monday, December 7, 2009

Suggi Sambhrama- Springtime, December.

Springtime, December.

Just the other day, The Free Tree Commune yielded its first watermelon. It wasn’t too big, too green or too round. It wasn’t anything like your average supermarket watermelon. It had bloomed leisurely in the ground. Natural and Organic. Just like everything else at The Free Tree Commune. It was the sweetest watermelon we ever had.

Freedom, Leisure, Serenity, Beauty, Nature- these are some the ideas that the Commune believes in. If the first watermelon was anything to go by, we seem to be onto something. We’re also growing brinjals, chilies, tomatoes, pomegranates, papayas, mangoes, gooseberries, bananas, potatoes. Our first ragi crop is a ripe brown and ready for the harvest. The garden is teeming, the silver oaks and banyans look lush and promise shade and the water bund has decided it would rather be a lotus pond. The pond was a real surprise. It was never in the original plans. It just came to be. There’s also a tiny stream trying to go one up on the pond. It is as if it declared a return to the wild and now, Tarzan could feel right at home.

The Free Tree Commune, nestled serenely among the Kolar hills, just sixty kilometers away from Bangalore where the noise and the smog of the city give way to sounds of birds and rustling leaves with the occasional gust of breeze, is experiencing a full spring in the grip of December. The place seems to have gathered a vital energy and innate rapture and now it celebrates- brimming and bursting into colors. As usual, we’re just joining in. There will be a feast, song, dance, treks, celebrations.

We’re calling it ‘Suggi Sambhrama- A December Spring’. We’ve invited a few of our friends who are already part of The Free Tree Commune and we would like all of you to join in.

The name ‘Free Tree’ was inspired by the Persian name, Azad Darakth for the Neem Tree, an important ecological source of meaning and healing. We think of it as a metaphor for a new way to learn, to know and to share. We welcome you. And bring a tree when you drop by. Or just be there.

That’s exactly what the lotus pond did.

Date: 12th December 2009
Time: 3.30pm to 8.30pm

How to reach there

The Free Tree Commune,
Antarahalli, Vemgal,
Kolar District.

If you do not have your own vehicle catch a bus headed towards Kolar or KGF via Narasapur. Alight at Narasapur. Then take an auto to Medihaalla. At Medihaalla Junction, ask for Aashrama. A stone’s throw away on your right side and you’ve arrived at the Free Tree Commune.

Contact at Kolar: Shantamma: 0815 - 22328012 / 9448249371
Sumati: 081- 52232801/ 9902772715

Contact in Bangalore: Siddharth: 080 - 25493705/9886213516
Renuka: 9036188284

Contribution expected

A minimum of Rs. 100/- per person towards tea, snacks and dinner.

For overnight stay we have a neat and simple dormitory facility in the commune grounds which will be made available on first-cum-first serve basis for an additional Rs. 250/- per person which will also cover tea and breakfast in the morning. Kindly inform and book in advance as the beds are limited.

Some Instructions:

Please remember to carry warm clothes as though it is warm during the day, it turns cold at night.

There is borewell water available in the Commune which we use for our drinking purposes. In case you do not find it suitable for your needs, we would ask you to bring your water.

Organised by
The Free Tree Commune, CIEDS Collective, Samvada, Era Organic, Vimochana and Bangalore Film Society (BFS).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Free Tree Commune

To be a garden without walls
a vineyard without a guardian
a treasure house forever open to passers by

About Us

Since its beginnings in 1976, CIEDS Collective has been a group that has never hesitated to walk the critical edge of new thinking or in exploring new ways of working and living together. While much of our work is activist in nature, as with women, with rural, urban and tribal communities and through the numerous campaigns that we have initiated and been part of, it is rooted essentially in a more reflective praxis that is able to integrate the aesthetic and the analytical. For it has grown around a vision which has always sought the alternative paradigms in knowledge politics, in art and all other dimensions of life, exploring many visions that nurture and sustain lives, livelihoods and lifeworlds . In this context, CIEDS Collective has given birth to many dreams, ideas, institutions and organizations while working on a rang.

Angala, the women’s counseling centre, Kuteera, a shelter for abused women who have no place to live, World Courts of Women, which seeks alternative notions and forms of justice, investigating dowry deaths, caring for the women in the burns ward of Victoria hospital Bangalore, Streelekha, a Women’s Book Place providing books and documentation on women’s writings and alternatives, Appa ke Adalath where the women elders providing justice within communities, working with rural and urban communities and tribals, Bangalore Film Society exploring the poetics of moving images through film festivals on many themes such as Voices from the Waters traveling film festivals highlighting water issues in schools, colleges and in communities, Cinema of Resistance which highlights the people resistance to oppression across the world, livelihood rights, violence against women, and Deep Focus Film Quarterly which provides insightful literature on films, working on environmental issues, art and culture, housing and building crafts, evening lectures, meetings and round tables on various current and critical issues of our times.

The Free Tree Conference and Training Centre

The Free Tree Conference and Training Centre is serenely nestled among the hills of Vemgal, Kolar just sixty kms away from Bangalore. Facilities offered include a conference hall, workshop spaces and clean and simple residential accommodation for thirty people all of this finds a natural home in the rock sculpted landscape and vast open spaces that is our space in Kolar.

The peace and serenity that greets you at the Free Tree is a pleasant change from the hustle and bustle of the city. The surrounding hills are ideal for long casual treks and the view from the top offers you a vision from here to the horizon that just about sums up your experience at the Centre- calming, vitalizing, quaint and altogether- simply breathtaking, even spiritual.

The Meaning and the Metaphor

The Free Tree, inspired by the Persian name, Azad Darakth for the Neem Tree, an important ecological source of meaning and healing in India and the Asian continent, which was sought to be patented and rendered the private property of a few multinational corporations, is our metaphor for a new way to learn, to know.

The Free Tree therefore conjures up many images: of a nurturing space, a nourishing place, a place of shade, of shelter; the tree protects, it connects, to other cosmologies, to other world views; sitting under a tree is very non-hierarchical, even non-patriarchal; it speaks to community, to conviviality; it reminds us of an ethic of care and concern. Almost every culture as we all know has its Tree of Life, its Tree of Knowledge.

The Free Tree is our tree of knowledge.

We welcome you to the tree of knowledge for organizing your seminars, conferences and workshops or if you need to take some peaceful time off for research, writing or just simply because you need to.

For details contact:


CIEDS Collective, No.33/1-9, Thygaraja Layout, Jaibharath Nagar, M.S Nagar P.O, Bangalore 560 033