Ranjit Naik

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Ranjit Poojari Naik
Born (1933-10-22)22 October 1933
Naginayanichervu Tanda village
Died 30 July 2004(2004-07-30) (aged 70)
Nationality Indian
Occupation Architect and social worker
Known for Social work
Spouse(s) Chandrakala Naik (m. 1962)

Shri Ranjit Poojari Naik (22 October 1933 – 30 July 2004) was a renowned architect and social worker who helped Mumbai slum dwellers, particularly the Banjara people.


Ranjit Naik was the son of Shri P. Champla Naik, born in the Naginayanichervu Tanda village, Mandal, Somandepalli, District, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, India.

He studied up to S.S.C. in Govt. High School, Penukonda, Dist. Anantapur (A.P), as a boarder of Shri Thakkar Bapa Lambadi / Sugali Free Hostel, founded by Late Shri Bhagat Champla Naik (up to 1952). He did his Intermediate in science at Andhra Christian College, Guntur (A.P) and Bachelor in Architecture (BArch) from J.J. College of Architecture, University of Mumbai in 1964.

In 1962 he married Chandrakala Naik, a teacher, social worker and first Banjara lady graduate in Maharashtra State. She helped him in all his socio-economic and cultural activities of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) and many other organisations for the upliftment of the Banjara community.

After an active career as an architect and social worker, with an unfulfilled dream of building Sant Shri Sevalal Maharaj Temple, at Sevagad, Andhra Pradesh, Shri Ranjit Naik, died on 30 July 2004, in Mumbai due to a brain haemorrhage.


He was a member of the Indian Institute of Architects (AIIA) and Practicing Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Association (PEATA – Mumbai) and registered in the Council of Architecture as a practicing architect (under Govt. of India Act – 1972 for the Registration of Architects). He practised as an architect in Mumbai from 1964 until his death.

He started his social work at age 19, in 1952, for the welfare of Banjaras (nomadic tribes / Gypsies of India), Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections of the country. He appeared before Kalelkar Commission in 1953, along with his father, Shri Bhagat Champla Naik and maternal uncle Comrade Shri S. Ghane Naik, to plead before the said committee for the inclusion of the Sugalis / Lambadis in the list of Scheduled Tribes, in the Constitution of India, in the then Madras Province. He succeeded in getting the Lambadis / Sugalis included in the list of Scheduled Tribes of the Constitution of India, in 1954.

He organised and fully participated in the Erukula – Enandi – Lambadi Tribal Conference, in 1953, at Guntur, under the leadership of Late Shri Vennalakanti Raghavaiah and Shri V. Gopalrao Naik, at which conference Shri B. N. Datar, Hon'ble Home Minister, Govt. of India, was Chief Guest. He came in contact in 1957 with Late Shri V.P. Naik, the then Agriculture and Revenue Minister of Maharashtra State (who later became Chief Minister of Maharashtra State) and many prominent leaders of All India Banjara Seva Sangh. Since then, Ranjit Naik was thoroughly involved in All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) activities and was elected as a member of its National Executive Committee.

He was elected as an Executive Committee and High Power committee member, at the national level for All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS), in the Fourth All India Banjara Seva Sangh Conference, held at Gulbarga (Karnataka State), in 1966. He successfully organised All India Banjara Sevak Shibir in Rakab Ganj Gurudwara, New Delhi, in 1966 (All Banjara workers training camp) along with his other colleagues, under the leadership of Late Shri V. P. Naik and Shri Ramsingh Bhanawat, Shri Vasramji Patil where Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was Chief Guest and Late Shri Ashok Mehta (the then Social Welfare Minister, Govt. of India), Late Shri Y. B. Chavan (the then Defence Minister), and Shri K. Brahmanand Reddy (the then C.M. of A.P) were guests of honour.

He was Convenor of the All India Banjara Study Team, which compiled a comprehensive study on socio-economic-educational and political position of Banjaras of all over India and the same was published by Ranjit Naik in 1969 and submitted to The Parliamentary Joint Select Committee, Chaired by Shri Anilkumar Chanda, on S.C. and S.T. Amendment Bill No. 119 of 1966. This report became an authentic document for references about Banjaras of the country. He was Member of the drafting committee of The All India Banjara Seva Sangh's Constitution, to draft a progressive and ideal Constitution for the Sangh. He was elected as Vice-President of the All India Banjara Seva Sangh, in 1985, at the 6th All India Banjara Seva Sangh Conference, at Aurangabad (Maharashtra State). Later on he was unanimously elected as President of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) on 10 May 1998, in its National Executive Committee meeting, which was chaired by Late Shri Sudhakarrao Naik, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra State and Ex. Governor of H.P. Since then he led, effectively and successfully, Banjaras of the country, brought a social revolution in the country's Banjaras, did many historical and landmark changes in the organisation of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS).

He was Founding President of Sant Shree Sevadas Maharaj Memorial Trust – Sevagad, from 2001 until his death. He was elected as Working President of "All India De-Notified-Nomadic Tribes Association", a confederation of 200 Ex-Criminal Tribes of India.

He had organised a mammoth rally of Banjaras and Tribals for the Golden Jubilee Celebration of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) on 31 January 2004, at Digras, Yavatmal District, where about Six to Seven lakh Banjara people gathered and Smt. Soniaji Gandhi, the then Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and President of AICC was Chief Guest. He had also organised a huge gathering of Banjaras and other devotees of Sant Shri Sevalal Maharaj, on 15 February 2004, at Sevagad, Mandal – Gooty, Anantapur District (A.P) for the 265th Janmotsav Celebration of Banjaras' great and most adored saint, Shri Sevalal Maharaj, where Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Gurudev of the "Art of Living" foundation Bangalore, performed Mahabhog ceremony to Sevalal Maharaj and gave Satsang to lakhs of devotees gathered.

Right from the inception as a professional Architect, Shri Ranjit Naik had devotedly worked for giving shelter to Nomadic and Dalit people, for Slum Improvement, Slum Upgradation, Slum Redevelopment and Rehabilitation programmes.

He founded People's Participation Programme (PPP) in 1980, an NGO working for weaker section housing, and Mumbai's slum amelioration programmes. Under this banner many weaker sections / slum people were rehabilitated in Mumbai, with slum redevelopment and rehabilitation schemes. He built a modern and a beautiful colony for Banjaras in Mumbai, called Naik Nagar, Kurla (E), in 1972. He pioneered a massive scheme in Mumbai's slum reconstruction and rehabilitation programme and shelter for the urban poor. In this programme he rehabilitated 3000 slum families by giving them free and pucca houses. He built first of its kind Tanner's Colony, in Dharavi, Mumbai, for rehabilitating 500 tanners' families. Rehabilitation of 550 building construction labour, first of its kind, by giving them free and regular houses on ownership basis in a colony called "Roma Banjara Tanda Co-op. Housing Society Ltd., at Mankhurd, Mumbai.

Publications on Mumbai slums[edit]

Shri Ranjit Naik published the following books on Mumbai's slum related matters:-

He wrote and published two editions, in English and Marathi languages on ‘HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SLUM REDEVELOPMENT SCHEMES WITH 2.5 F.S.I.’.

He presented a paper titled as “AN UNIQUE URBAN MANAGEMENT AND SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SETTLEMENT PROGRAMME OF PROVIDING 1.2 MILLION FREE HOUSES TO MUMBAI’S SLUM PEOPLE (INDIA)” – in the preparatory committee meeting, Habitat-II, U.N.O., New York, in 1996.

He presented a paper in the World City Summit of UN, Habitat – II, at Istanbul – Turkey, – titled as “Mumbai: (MUMBAI) TODAY’S SOLUTION FOR A HEALTHY CITY IS SLUM REDEVELOPMENT AND REHABILITATION” – in 1996.

He wrote many articles on housing and slum related problems, which have appeared in leading Indian newspapers and magazines.


Shri Ranjit Naik lectured in the following important seminars, forums and public meetings and particularly in Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (MHADA) Training Centre, at Pune.

  • “Architecture for the welfare of urban poor and for environmental upgradation of Mega/Big Cities of India: An experimentation in Mumbai – A challenge to the profession” – 30th Convention of All India Institute of Architects (A.I.I.A), Orissa – December – 1996.
  • Lecture for MHADA’s Professional Training Centre at Pune, on Slum Redevelopment (S.R.D) Schemes of Mumbai.
  • “Slum Rehabilitation Scheme is the best solution for all ills, environmental upgradation and overall development of Mumbai” – (Speech delivered by Mr. Ranjit Naik in the Seminar on Housing Organised Legal Aid Forum, at Y.B. Chavan Hall on 7 December 1996).
  • “Slum Redevelopment / Rehabilitation Schemes, A Retrospection” (speech delivered by Mr. Ranjit Naik, in the meeting of Federation of Accommodation Industry of India, (Mumbai – 21 August 1997).
  • “Development Controls and Private Sector”. This lecture was delivered in the refresher course of “Integrated Local Development”, at Ahmedabad, on 10 December 1997, organised by Instituted of Housing Development Studies, Rotterdam, Alumni of Institute of Urban Development Studies, Human Settlement Management Institute, New Delhi.

Work with Gypsies[edit]

He was instrumental in bringing into contact, for the first time, the Indian Banjaras (Gypsies of India) with their counterpart, Roma (Gypsy) of the World. He was specially invited to participate in the First International Roma (Gypsy) Festival in March 1976, at Chandigarh, when Shri Gyani Zail Singh was Chief Guest. He led a delegation of The All India Banjara Seva Sangh to Geneva in 1977, to participate in The World Roma (Gypsies) Conference. He was Presidium Member of The World Romano Ekipe (World Roma / Gypsy Union) between 1977 and 1980. Again he participated in 2nd International Roma (Gypsy) Festival in October 1983, at Chandigarh (India), where Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was Chief Guest and Shri Rajiv Gandhi was guest of honour.

Shri Ranjit Naik published a number of papers and articles on Roma (Gypsy) matters and on Banjaras, which have appeared in many India's leading newspapers as well as foreign newspapers and periodicals.


The following are the major publications brought out by Shri Ranjit Naik.

  • All India Banjara Sevak Shibir Report – 1966.
  • All India Banjara Study Team Report – 1969.
  • 'BANJARA' Fortnightly in Telugu language between 1972 and 1975.
  • ROMA – BANJARA, (Hindi and English) Bilingual Fortnightly between 1982 and 1986 from Mumbai.
  • He guided The Census Department, Govt. of India, in bringing out an authentic and beautiful brochure, titled 'BANJARA EMBROIDERY' – in 1981.
  • He helped scores of scholars and researchers, National as well as International levels, in their research works for doctorate, on Banjaras.
  • He was extensively quoted in the world famous and authentic book on Roma / Gypsies of the World, called "Gypsies of the World", published from Yugoslavia.


Shri Ranjit Naik was awarded the Inaugural Trophy of Accommodation Times, a fortnightly specialising in the building and accommodation industry for his Slum Redevelopments works.

As recognition of his works in slums, he was nominated to the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority's (BMRDA) Task Force for Mumbai Urban Transport Programme (BUTP-II), as a panel member. He initiated dialogue with USAID's Rural Housing and Urban Development Organisation (RHUDO) to take up a massive programme of SRD & R in Mumbai. As recognition of his works USAID sponsored him to participate in Asian Regional Conference on Housing, at Jakarta. He was nominated to the panel of "MUMBAI FIRST" an organisation based on the lines of "LONDON FIRST" as a representative of an NGO specialising in SRD & R Schemes.

He was awarded "Great Son of the Soil Millennium Award" by All India Conference of Intellectuals, in recognition of distinguished and commendable services to the nation on 30 December 2002.

He was invited to present a paper on Asian Regional Policy Consultation (Habitat II of the United Nations) on 'Access to Land and Security of Tenure for Sustainable Development', Jakarta (Indonesia), 1995. Invited at the Preparatory Committee of United Nation's Human Settlement Conference (Habitat-II), New York, 1996. Invited to World City Summit at Istanbul, June 1996. He was nominated as one of the 100 'Best Practices in the world' and awarded "UNCHS 1998 Awards for Excellence in improving Living Environment' by United Nation's Habitat-II. This firm has been recognised and awarded a plaque by the Urban Development Ministry of India on achieving this honour.

He was awarded "Banjara Sahitya Ratna" by Banjara Language Research Institute, Hyderabad / Nagpur, on 17 August 2003, at Nagpur, Maharashtra and also awarded "Banjara Ratna Puraskar" by Banjara Kranti Dal, on 5 January 2004 at Azad Maidan, Mumbai.

Founding member of All India Banjara Seva Sangh.

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