Medha Patkar

(SPEAKER)

Mumbai, Maharashtra

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Medha Patkar is an Indian social activist chiefly known for her work on several critical political and economic issues escalated by the people including tribals, Dalits, farmers, labourers, and women confronting unjustness in India. She is a former Tata Institute of Social Sciences student, a multi-campus public research university in Mumbai, India.In 1985, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) was founded by Medha Patkar to struggle for the justice of locally displaced people. The Narmada Valley Development Project (NVDP) proposed the construction of thousands of dams on the Narmada river and its tributaries, and it was approved by the Indian government in 1979. On 9 August 1985, the Narmada Valley Development Project (NVDP) was passed by the Madhya Pradesh government to begin construction. It was a large-scale plan to dam the Narmada river, and its tributaries in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Reportedly, the construction of this dam displaced and affected a large number of local people of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Medha Patkar in Mumbai during Narmada Bachao Aandolan.In 1985, several farmers, Adivasis, farmers, fish workers, labourers, and other local people, located in the Narmada valley, actively participated in the Narmada Bachao Andolan movement along with Medha Patkar. Numerous renowned Indian intellectuals including environmentalists, human rights activists, scientists, academicians, artists who stand for justice and sustainable development also endorsed this virtuous cause that was started under the leadership of Medha Patkar.

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Medha Patkar is an Indian social activist chiefly known for her work on several critical political and economic issues escalated by the people including tribals, Dalits, farmers, labourers, and women confronting unjustness in India. She is a former Tata Institute of Social Sciences student, a multi-campus public research university in Mumbai, India.In 1985, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) was founded by Medha Patkar to struggle for the justice of locally displaced people. The Narmada Valley Development Project (NVDP) proposed the construction of thousands of dams on the Narmada river and its tributaries, and it was approved by the Indian government in 1979. On 9 August 1985, the Narmada Valley Development Project (NVDP) was passed by the Madhya Pradesh government to begin construction. It was a large-scale plan to dam the Narmada river, and its tributaries in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Reportedly, the construction of this dam displaced and affected a large number of local people of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Medha Patkar in Mumbai during Narmada Bachao Aandolan.In 1985, several farmers, Adivasis, farmers, fish workers, labourers, and other local people, located in the Narmada valley, actively participated in the Narmada Bachao Andolan movement along with Medha Patkar. Numerous renowned Indian intellectuals including environmentalists, human rights activists, scientists, academicians, artists who stand for justice and sustainable development also endorsed this virtuous cause that was started under the leadership of Medha Patkar.During the Narmada Bachao Andolan movement in 1985, Medha Patkar questioned the government of India regarding the strategy of linking rivers in India as a remedy to solve the water shortage while constructing dams over the rivers. One of the biggest dams in Gujarat, India, on the Narmada river is Sardar Sarovar Dam, the construction of which started in April 1987. Reportedly, the renowned Indian intellectuals had questioned the local government of Gujarat over the social and environmental undemocratic planning, and the struggle made by the non-violent people for their properties and land. Later, the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam led to the submergence and displacement of more than 40,000 families residing in these submergence areas. Social activist Medha Patkar along with villagers and dam oustees of Sardar Sarovar dam from Nimad region of Madhya Pradesh.In 1985, Patkar visited the affected areas and the villages in the Narmada valley, Madhya Pradesh that were to be submerged after the completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in southeastern Gujarat, one of the largest planned projects.Under the leadership of Medha Patkar, since 1992, Narmada Bachao Andolan trust has started Jeevanshala The Life Schools with about 5,000 students passed out and many graduated. It is said that some of the students from these schools have won many awards and many of them are under training in athletics. Under the guidance of Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan has established two small hydro projects, on the river Narmada, which were submerged due to the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam in 1985. Reportedly, over the last 30 years, NBA has been working in various sectors including rehabilitation and environment protection, health, employment guarantee, Right to Food, and Public Distribution systems all over India.In an interview, Medha Patkars mother revealed that when Medha was at the TISS, once, she finished reading 250 books in one month.In 1992, Medha Patkar founded an organisation called The National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM, an alliance of common people in India). The issues related to socio-economic justice, political justice, and equity are the main focus areas of NAPM. The objective of this movement facilitate unity and strength in the movements of people in India, and fight and question against the oppression of the government so as to work towards justice alternatives. In 1998, Medha Patkar was the representative of the World Commission on Dams (a research institute on the social, political, environmental, and economic aspects and impacts of the development of large dams globally). Medha Patkar during Narmada Bachao Andolann in 1992.In 2005, the struggle for housing rights in Mumbai began when the government of Maharashtra demolished 75,000 houses of poor people in the Mumbai area. The slum-dwellers and those who were cheated by the builders in various re-development and rehabilitation projects started a mission in 2005 to oppose the unauthorised construction of high profile buildings. Around the same time, Medha Patkar founded the Strong peoples movement, and she raised her voice against the demolition of homes at Azaad Maidaan Mumbai in a large public meeting. As a consequence of this mass action and protest under the leadership of Medha, on the same sites, communities were re-built with shelter, water, electricity, sanitation, and livelihood.In an interview, in 2006, Medhas mother revealed the facts about her daughter, Medha, that how she got involved in Narmada Movement. Her mother said that Medha went to visit the displaced people of Narmada valley while pursuing her studies at TISS, and the pitiable conditions of the poor people influenced her so much that she took up their cause since then. She further added that Medha had been fighting for the rights of the displaced people through her organization Narmada Bachao Andolan. She explained, She was studying at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, and had taken a study tour of the Narmada valley in the early 1980s. The pitiable conditions of the people affected by the dam water in Gujarat that had submerged their villages moved her so much that she took up their cause. She has been fighting for the rights of the displaced people ever since, under her organization named Narmada Bachao Andolan, which has grown into a massive movement over the years. Its a national coalition of environmental and human rights activists, academics, and project-affected people, working to stop several dam projects in the Narmada valley and fighting for the rehabilitation of all displaced people. Medhas mother added the activities Medha did in her leisure time when she was young. She revealed, Medha was a very good dancer and used to draw very well. She used to take part in dramas too. She was a very active child in school and college. All that was long ago.

Performance Details

7

Off Stage Members

1

Performing Members

60-90 Min

Performance Duration

Can Travel

Nationwide

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