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Medha Patkar, the woman behind the Narmada Bachao Andolan movement is a pioneer in fighting for environmental conservation in India.
A voice for those who do not have much of a say, Medha Patkar is a social activist who spearheaded and participated in a number of social causes ranging from the Narmada Bachao Andolan to the Tata-Singur issue.
Whether it was the influence of her politically active parents or her innate nature, Medha Patkar was always inclined towards social work. She graduated with a Masters degree in Social Work from the reputed institute, TISS.
In 1989, Medha Patkar concocted the Narmada Bachao Andolan on behalf of the farmers and tribal people to prevent the Sardar Sarovar Dam from being erected on the Narmada river.
She has been firm on the issue and till date ensures that tribal agitations – be it for their own rights or for protecting the environment – get her full support.
In the Tata-Singur case, Medha Patkar played a pivotal role in curbing Tata’s intention of laying down a Nano plant, which would have rendered a number of farmers without land and hence without any means of income.
Medha Patkar’s work has been lauded and she has won several awards such as the Right Livelihood Award in 1991, M A Thomas National Human Rights Award from Vigil India Movement in 1999, Deena Nath Mangeshkar Award, Mahatma Phule Award, the Green Ribbon Award for Best International Political Campainger by BBC and the Human Rights Defender’s Award from Amnesty International.
Why we find her inspiring:
– For believing in and fighting for the causes of the underprivileged
– For her never-say-die spirit towards environmental issues
*Photo credit: Hindustan Times.
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