Over the last quarter of a century, Medha Patkar has come to symbolize the voice of people struggling for a just, sustainable and peaceful society. Coming from a family that was involved in India’s freedom movement, she embraced social action as her natural vocation. She gave up her position as a faculty member at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and immersed herself in the struggles of the indigenous communities in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. She started the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement) which has been at the forefront of the struggle to uphold the lives and lands of the people of the Narmada valley, which is threatened with submergence by the mega Sardar Sarovar dam project.
Since then, she has directly led several important people’s struggles across India including Lavasa,Golibar slum demolition,Adarsh land scams among many others. Apart from these, she has lent her support to many people’s movements against displacement, corruption, and communal violence. She takes keen interest in developing people friendly and planet friendly constructive projects to the current development model symbolizing her simultaneous involvement in Sangharsh (Struggle) and Nirman (constructive action). Medha has been one of the leading voices that has shaped the discourse in India regarding development induced displacement and exposed the structural violence of such actions.
She is the recipient of several awards, including Amnesty International’s Human Rights Defender Award and the BBC Green Ribbon Award for the best international political campaigner. Many AIDers have been closely involved with almost all struggles lead by Medha and NBA. In this 25th year of AID, Medha Patkar would be an ideal speaker to not only reflect on AID’s journey so far but also give direction and ideas on the future of an organization like AID.
More articles – http://www.rightlivelihood.org/narmada.html