Aruna Roy

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Aruna Roy
Aruna Roy (2019).jpg
Born (1946-05-26) 26 May 1946 (age 73)
AwardsRamon Magsaysay award, 2000; Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award, 2010

Aruna Roy (born 26 May 1946) is an Indian political and social activist who founded the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) ("Workers and Peasants Strength Union") along with Shankar Singh, Nikhil Dey and many others. Known for her work for the vulnerable sections of society, she was also a member of the NAC, national advisory committee which was set up by the then UPA-1 government which was headed by Sonia Gandhi through most of its tenure. She is the National President of National Federation of Indian Women

Early life[edit]

Roy was born in Chennai.[1][2] She grew up in Delhi where her father was a government employee. She studied English literature at Indraprastha College, Delhi University.[3][4]

She served as a civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service between 1968 and 1974.

Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan[edit]

Roy resigned from the civil services and began to work on issues related to the poor and marginalised. She joined the Social Work and Research Center (SWRC) in Tilonia, Rajasthan.[5][6] In 1987, she along with Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh and others founded the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan.[7]

The MKSS began by fighting for fair and equal wages for workers which shaped and evolved into a struggle for the enactment of India's Right to Information Act. Aruna Roy is a leader of the Right to Information movement in India through the MKSS and the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), which was finally successful with the passage of the Right to Information Act in 2005.[8]


Aruna Roy has been at the forefront of a number of campaigns for the rights of the poor and the marginalised. These have included, most prominently, the Right to Information, the Right to Work (the NREGA),[9] and the Right to Food. More recently, she has been involved with the campaign for universal, non-contributory pension for unorganised sector workers as a member of the Pension Parishad[10][11] and the NCPRI for the passage and enactment of the Whistleblower Protection Law and Grievance Redress Act.[12][13]

Awards and other work[edit]

She served as a member of the National Advisory Council [NAC] until 2006 when she resigned.[14][15]

While with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Aruna Roy was awarded the Times Fellowships Award for the year 1991 for her work for rural workers rights to social justice and creative development. In 2000, she received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership.[16] In 2010 she received the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academia and Management.[17] In 2011, she was named as one of the hundred most influential people in the world by Time magazine.[18] In September 2017 India Times listed Roy as one of the 11 Human Rights Activists Whose Life Mission Is To Provide Others With A Dignified Life[19]


  1. ^ "Daughter Of The Dust | Urvashi Butalia | Oct 16,2006". Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  2. ^ "'I would like to know how I am a traitor'". Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Aruna Roy (Indian activist) -- Encyclopædia Britannica". Encyclopædia Britannica. 30 January 2013.
  4. ^ "DU has a lot on its ladies special platter". India Today. 3 June 2009.
  5. ^ Women who dared, by Ritu Menon. Published by National Book Trust, India, 2002. ISBN 81-237-3856-0. Page 169-170.
  6. ^ Aruna Roy National Resource Center for Women, Govt. of India.
  7. ^ MKSS As a Role Model Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Civil Society Online. Jan 2012
  8. ^ Blacked out: government secrecy in the information age, by Alasdair Scott Roberts. Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  9. ^ "Matersfamilias | Saba Naqvi | Aug 24,2015". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Pension Parishad calls off strike". The Hindu. 21 December 2013. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Forgotten Brethren | Harsh Mander | Apr 20,2015". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  12. ^ "Aruna Roy seeks early passage of grievance redress, whistleblower bills". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  13. ^ Roy, Aruna. "The Fate of RTI After One Year of Modi is a Bad Omen". The Wire. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  14. ^ "NAC reconstituted". The Hindu. 4 June 2005.
  15. ^ "Daughter Of The Dust | Urvashi Butalia | Oct 16,2006". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Ramon Magsaysay Award Citation". Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Thottam, Jyoti (21 April 2011). "The 2011 TIME 100 - TIME". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  19. ^ Anjali Bisaria. "11 Human Rights Activists Whose Life Mission Is To Provide Others With A Dignified Life/".

Further reading[edit]

  • Gupta, Indra (2004). India's 50 Most Illustrious Women. New Delhi: Icon Publications. ISBN 9788188086030.
  • Bail, S; Bansal, S (2004). Icons of social change. New Delhi: Puffin Books.

External links[edit]