Dayamani Barla

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Dayamani Barla
Dayamani Barla in ViBGYOR2012.jpg
Dayamani Barla in ViBGYOR Film Festival, 2012
OrganizationAdivasi, Moolvaasi, Astitva Raksha Manch
AwardsCounter 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 became notable for her activism in opposing Arcelor Mittal's steel plant in Eastern Jharkhand that tribal activists say would displace forty villages.

Barla has won a number of prestigious awards for journalism.[1] She unsuccessfully ran from the Khunti Lok Sabha Constituency, Jharkhand in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

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 labourer 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 at railway stations to continue her education in Journalism.[4]


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).[5] 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.[1][4]


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.[4] 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.[1] Barla and her organisation 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 affect the water sources and ecosystems, thereby threatening the environment and the very source of sustenance for indigenous peoples, it says. 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.[1] But Barla counters that the subsistence tribal communities will not survive the alienation from their native land and they cannot be compensated for such a loss.[1]


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. [5] In 2013, she was conferred the Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award instituted by Cultural Survival, an international NGO.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e Basu, Moushumi (2008). "Steely resolve:Dayamani Barla". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  2. ^ "AAP introduces seven candidates in fray in Jharkhand".
  3. ^ Kislaya, Kelly (18 May 2014). "NOTA ahead of AAP in many seats". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Off India's Beaten Path". UCLA. 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Dayamani Barla: Indigenous Journalist and Activist from India". Media Activism. 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  6. ^ Anumeha Yadav (23 May 2013). "Jharkhand tribal activist gets Ellen L. Lutz Award". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 May 2013.

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