Dayamani Barla in ViBGYOR Film Festival, 2012
|Organization||Adivasi, Moolvaasi, Astitva Raksha Manch|
|Awards||Counter Media Award for Rural Journalism in 2000, National Foundation for India Fellowship in 2004|
Dayamani Barla is an indigenous tribal journalist and activist from the Indian state of Jharkhand. She came from very humble backgrounds and worked as a maid to pay her way through the University. She became notable for her activism in opposing Arcelor Mittal's steel plant that tribal activist say would displace forty (40) villages. She has won a number of prestigious awards for journalism.
Dayamani was born in the indigenous tribal (also known as Adivasi in India) dominant Jharkhand state of eastern India. Her family belonged to the Munda tribe. Dayamani’s father like other tribals in the region was cheated out of his property, because he could not read and lacked paperwork to show his rights to the land. Her father became a servant in one city, and her mother a maid in another. Barla remained in school in Jharkhand but worked as a day laborer on farms from the 5th to 7th grades. To continue her education through secondary school, she moved to Ranchi and worked as maid to pay her way through University. She sometimes slept in Railway stations in order to continue her education in Journalism.
Barla works in a popular Hindi newspaper Prabhat Khabar to bring attention to myriad problems facing the Munda people and other tribal communities in the Jharkhand region. She is the National President of Indian Social Action Forum INSAF. Earlier her journalistic work was supported by a small fellowship for some years by Association for India's Development(AID). Barla owns and runs a tea shop that effectively supports her journalistic desire and career. She chose the business consciously because tea shops are gathering places where social issues are discussed.
Jharkhand region is rich in natural resources and many government and private companies have appropriated land to build number of natural resources extracting factories. Although the tribal people are supposed to receive compensation, numbers of activists allege that they do not receive adequate compensation.
Arcelor Mittal wants to invest US $8.79 billion to set up one of the world's biggest steel plants in the area. The Greenfield steel project requires 12,000 acres (49 km2) of land and a new power plant. According to Barla, that would displace forty tribal villages. Barla and her organization Adivaasi, Moolvaasi, Astitva Raksha Manch (Forum for the protection of tribal and indigenous people's identity) - says apart from causing massive displacement, the project will destroy the forests in the area. It will also have an impact on the water sources and ecosystems, thereby threatening the environment and the very source of sustenance for indigenous peoples, it says.
We will not give an inch of our land
, says Ms Barla. Arcelor Mittal on its part says that it does not want to grab local peoples land as is willing to negotiate with all stake holders. But Barla counters that the subsistence trial communities will not survive the alienation from their native land and they cannot be compensated for such a loss.
Barla won the Counter Media Award for Rural Journalism in 2000 and the National Foundation for India Fellowship in 2004. Counter Media Award is funded by royalties from journalist P. Sainath's book Everyone Loves a Good Drought, and is meant for rural journalists whose (often outstanding) work gets ignored or even appropriated by the larger press at the State or national level in India.  In 2013, she was conferred the Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award instituted by Cultural Survival, an international NGO.
- Basu, Moushumi (2008). "Steely resolve:Dayamani Barla". BBC. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- "Off India's Beaten Path". UCLA. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- "Dayamani Barla: Indigenous Journalist and Activist from India". Media Activism. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- Anumeha Yadav (May 23, 2013). "Jharkhand tribal activist gets Ellen L. Lutz Award". The Hindu. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dayamani Barla.|