Medha Patkar

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Medha Patkar
Medhapatkar.jpg
Medha Patkar in 2002
Born (1954-12-01) 1 December 1954 (age 62)
Mumbai
Other names Medha tai
Education MA in Social Work
Alma mater Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Organization National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)
Movement Narmada Bachao Andolan
Awards Right Livelihood Award

Medha Patkar (born 1 December 1954) is an Indian social activist working on various crucial political and economical issues raised by Adivasis, Dalits,Farmers, labourers and Women facing injustice. She is the founder member of 31 years old people's movement in the three states: Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) engaged in struggle for justice to the dam projects affected people, challenging development paradigm and in reconstruction including educational work. She is one of the founders of National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), an alliance of hundreds of progressive people's organisations.[1] She was a commissioner on the World Commission on Dams, which did a thorough research on the environmental, social, political and economic aspects and impacts of the development of large dams globally, as also the alternatives.[2] She was the national co-ordinator and then convenor of National Alliance of People's Movements for many years and now continues to be an advisor to NAPM. Under the banner of NAPM she has participated in and supported various mass struggles across the country against inequity, non-sustainability, displacement and injustice in the name of development. It challenges Casteism, Communalism and all kinds of discrimination. She has been a part of teams that work on initiating and formulating various national policies and enactments including those related to land acquisition, unorganized sector workers, hawkers, slum-dwellers and forest-dweller Adivasis. NAPM filed a number of public interest litigations including those against Adarsh society, Lavasa Megacity, Hiranandani and as well as other builders. Narmada Bachao Andolan and Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, founded by Medha Patkar with others are allies of NAPM.

Early life[edit]

Medha Patkar was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, to Indumati and Vasant Khanolkar, a freedom fighter and labour union leader, on 1 December 1954.[3] Patkar earned an MA in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. she worked with voluntary organisations in Mumbai's slums for 5 years and tribal districts of North-East districts of Gujarat for 3 years. She worked as a member of faculty at Tata Institute of Social Sciences but left her position to take up the field work. She was a PhD scholar at TISS, studying Economics development and its impact on traditional societies.After working upto M.Phil level she left her unfinished PhD when she became immersed in her work with the tribal and Peasant communities in the Narmada valley spread over three states.

Activism[edit]

Narmada Bachao Andolan[edit]

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is a social movement which began in 1985 consisting of adivasis, farmers, fish workers, labourers and others in the Narmada valley along with the intellectuals including environmentalists, human rights activists, Scientists, academicians, artists who stand for just and sustainable development. Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat is one of the biggest dams on Narmada where the non-violent people's struggle has questioned social and environmental costs, undemocratic planning and unjust distribution of benefits. The struggle is still on in the Sardar Sarovar affeced areas and also other large and medium dams on Narmada and its tributaries. It has led to thousands of project affected families receiving land based rehabilitation and continues to fight against submergence and displacement without rehabilitation of more than 40,000 families residing in these submergence area of Sardar Sarovar till date. Many of its claims and critique on economic, social and environmental aspects of Sardar Sarovar and Narmada valley development project stand vindicated today.

NBA has been running JEEVANSHALAS- schools of life, since 1992 with about 5,000 students having passed out and many graduated. Tens of them are under training in atheletics and some have won many awards. NBA also successfully established and managed two micro hydral projects which got submerged due to SS dam. It has been working in many sectors over last 30 years including health, employment guarantee, Right to Food and PDS, rehabilitation and environment protection.

Medha Patkar in March 2012

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan[edit]

It is a struggle for housing rights in Mumbai, started in 2005 and continues to fight for rights of slum-dwellers and those cheated by the builders in various rehabilitation and re-development projects. It all began when the government of Maharashtra demolished 75,000 houses of the poor in 2005, against its own promises before election. strong people's movement was founded by Medha Patkar and others when she gave the slogan in a large public meeting at Azaad Maidaan Mumbai. It was through mass action that the communities were re-buit on the same sites and continue to assert and attain their right to shelter, water, electricity, sanitation and livelihood. As members of working class GBGBA respects the slum-dwellers for contribution to the life of the city and involves them in equitable and inclusive planning for urban development.

National Alliance of People's Movements[edit]

The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) is an alliance of people's movements in India, with the stated aim of working on a range of issues related to socio-economic justice, political justice and equity.[4] Medha Patkar founded the National Alliance of People's Movements with the objective of "facilitating unity and providing strength to peoples' movements in India, fighting against oppression, further questioning the current development model so as to work towards a just alternative". She is the national convener of the NAPM.[5] http://napm-india.org/

World Commission on Dams[edit]

Tata Nano Plant Singur[edit]

Tata Motors started constructing a factory to manufacture their $2,500 car, the Tata Nano at Singur.[6] She protested against the setting up of the plant at Singur, West Bengal. Patkar's convoy was assaulted, allegedly by CPI(M) activists, at Kapaseberia in East Midnapore district while on her way to strife-torn Nandigram.[7] At the height of the agitation, Ratan Tata had made remarks questioning the source of funds of the agitators.[8] In October 2008 Tata announced that the factory would not be completed and that the production of the Nano will be set up in Sanand, Gujarat.

Resistance to forcible land gran in Nandigram, West Bengal(2007)[edit]

She participated in and initiated various supportive actions including a fast during Diwali in Kolkata, Mass-mobilisation, complaints at various national fora and building support of intellectuals and various citizens across the country. The battle was ultimately won in favour of the local people who had to lay their lives in large numbers during State Violence

Lavasa[edit]

Lavasa is a project by Hindustan Construction Corporation, in Maharashtra. It is a yet-to be completed city. Lavasa Project is criticised by P. Sainath for unjust use of water in a worst hit farmer suicide state.[9] Medha Patkar with villagers of Lavasa protested for the environmental damage in Nagpur.[10] She also filed a PIL-Public Interest Litigation in Supreme Court against the Lavasa project.

Golibar Demolition[edit]

A demolition took place on 2 and 3 April 2013 in the Golibar area, Mumbai, Maharashtra evicting 43 houses and displacing more than 200 people. the whole project is to displace thousands of families and 50-100 years old communities that are demanding in-situ and participatory housing rights. Medha Patkar with more than 500 slum dwellers set on indefinite fast to protest against any further demolition until the inquiry into the matter is completed.[11] Patkar has alleged corruption and "atrocities" by builders in the city's slum rehabilitation scheme, and called for the halting of six projects by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority, until a proper inquiry is conducted. The inquiry was conducted giving partial solutions hence communities continue with their struggle.[12]

Save Sugar-Cooperatives Mission[edit]

To save Sugar-Cooperative sector in Maharashtra from falling into the hands of politicians including tens of ministers in the Maharashtra cabinet till 2014, Medha Patkar organised protests. She explained that "the politicians are interested in the prime plots of land, old equipment and machinery," of sugar co-operatives and accused the state government of selling assets of industry at throw away rates. A case against Girna Sugar factory at Malegaon, Nasik, Maharashtra and memebrs of Chhagan Bhujbal Family pending before the Supreme court of India and the unused land of the factory is re-occupied and cultivated by the local farmers who were the donors of the cooperative that was privatized by the former minister purchasing it at throw away price. [13]

Hiranandani land scam[edit]

Medha Patkar along with other activists registered PIL in the High Court of Mumbai, alleging violations by property tycoon Niranjan Hiranandani in building luxury flats instead of affordable houses. Hiranandani had signed a lease for the 230 acres of land in 1986 at rate of Re 1 per hectare in a tripartite agreement with the state and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.[14] Responding to PIL Maharashtra High Court judges says that" we appreciate the elegance of the construction and the intent on creating an architecture marvel for the city of Mumbai, we see the specific intent of wholly ignoring the most vital, and perhaps the only, condition in tripartite agreement (to create affordable houses of 40 and 80 sq m)".[15] If calculated according to the current market price, the quantum of the scam will be around Rs. 450 billion.[16]The judgement of 2012 directed Hirandani to build 3,144 houses for the low income groups before any other construction at Hirandani gardens which is yet to happen. The case is at the stage of final hearing at HC of Mumbai.

Kovvada Nuclear project[edit]

Medha Patkar at the Right Livelihood Award foundation.

Patkar expressed a strong opposition to the land acquisition in Kovvada of Ranasthalam mandal in Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh saying that the nuclear plant would be a disaster for ecology as well as people of region.[17]

Political career[edit]

In January 2014, Medha Patkar joined the Aam Aadmi Party, a political party led by Arvind Kejriwal. She and her organisation, National Alliance of People's Movement, provided support to the Aam Aadmi Party during the Lok Sabha campaign.[18]

Patkar also contested 2014 Lok Sabha election from the North East Mumbai constituency as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate.[19] She lost, receiving 8.9%[20] of the vote cast in North East Mumbai constituency, trailing at third position behind Kirit Somaiya (BJP candidate, winner) and Sanjay Patil (NCP candidate).[21] She resigned from Aam Admi Party's primary membership on March, 28th of 2015.[22]

Awards and honours[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "National Alliance of People's Movement Website". 
  2. ^ "Final report of World commission on dams" (PDF). United Nations Environment Programme. 
  3. ^ "A mother speaks: I worry for her but I know Medha is right". The Times of India. 19 April 2006. 
  4. ^ "Website National Alliance for People's Movement". NAPM. 
  5. ^ "National Conveners Team National Alliance of People's Movements". National Alliance of People's Movements. 
  6. ^ The Hindu Business Line, 26 November 2006 Archived 5 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Medha Patkar's convoy attacked". NDTV. 
  8. ^ "Tata has some values: Medha Patkar". DNA. Retrieved 4 October 2008. 
  9. ^ "How the other half dries". The Hindu. 
  10. ^ "Lavasa battles to get environmental clearance". CNN IBN. 
  11. ^ "Medha Patkar enters Day 8 of indefinite fast". Hindustan Times. 
  12. ^ "Aruna Roy seeks Sonia's help to end Medha Patkar's fast". The Times of India. 
  13. ^ "Medha Patkar, Anna Hazare on sugar co-operative save mission". CNN IBN. 
  14. ^ "Efforts to bury the Rs 45,000 crore Hiranandani land scam in Powai, Mumbai?". Money Life. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Shibu Thomas (23 February 2012). "Hiranandani can't build in Powai sans HC okay". The Times of India. Mumbai, India. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Case against builder Hiranandani, senior bureaucrat, others for Rs. 30,000-crore land scam". The Hindu. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "Medha Patkar cries halt to Kovvada nuclear project". The Hindu. 
  18. ^ Patkar extends support to AAP Indian Express, 14 January 2014
  19. ^ "AAP to field Medha Patkar, Anjali Damania for Lok Sabha polls; releases first list of 20 candidates". Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  20. ^ Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP needs a future plan; fatigue sets in for party’s small-time drama The Economic Times
  21. ^ Maharashtra – Mumbai North East, Results Declared Election Commission of India, 2014
  22. ^ [1] Ndtv, 2015
  23. ^ "Laureates 1991-Medha Patkar & Baba Amte / Narmada Bachao Andolan". 
  24. ^ Malhotra, Aditi. "A Guide to Aam Aadmi Party's National Candidates". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  25. ^ "Medha Patkar selected for 1999 M.A. Thomas National Human Rights Award". 
  26. ^ "Quicktakes Indian Express". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  27. ^ "Medha Patkar – The People's Protestor". Tehelka Magazine. 
  28. ^ "Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice * Anurag shall know who i am............ held on Sunday". dna. Diligent Media Corporation Ltd. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.  line feed character in |title= at position 63 (help)

External links[edit]