Medha Paatkar – A Strong Woman Who Choose Courage Over Fear

Medha Paatkar – A Strong Woman Who Choose Courage Over Fear

“It’s basic that we reach the global centers of strength to fight not just centralized planning, but privatization-based planning”.

Medha Patkar is a well-known Indian social activist, environmentalist, politician, and social worker working towards several optical and economic issues of the farmers, Dalits, Tribals, laborers, and women facing injustice in India. Born to socially active parents, Medha pursued her MA in social work from Tata Institute of Social Science after which she worked with voluntary organizations in Mumbai slums for 5 years and tribal districts of North-East districts of Gujarat for 3 years. She is the founder member of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) in three states namely, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat where she fought for the rights of people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project which aims at building dams across the Narmada River especially those whose homes will be submerged but have not however been rehabilitated. She is a founder member of the National Alliance People’s Movement (NAPM), an alliance of hundreds of progressive people’s organizations. NAPM filled several public litigations including those against Adarsh Society, Lavasa Megacity, Hiranandani (Powai, Mumbai), and many other builders.

Since 1992, the NBA has been running Jeevanshala’s several schools set up in the Narmada valley. Over 5,000 students have already passed out of school. They are also working consistently in health, ecosystem protection, right to food and PDS, rehabilitation, and employment sector. With the help of local communities, she developed several alternatives for education, energy generation, and water harvesting. She took up ‘fasting’ for 22 days, in which she was nearly dead but continued the same in 1993. In 1994, she was attacked by some people physically and verbally abuse her but woman of courage, Medha was immovable. She is a member of the world commission on dams, which works towards finding the environmental, social, political, and economic aspects and impacts of the development of large dams globally and their alternatives. For many years she was a national coordinator, followed by conveyor of NAPM, she stills continues to be n advisor to NAPM. She is a proud recipient of numerous awards including the Goldman Environmental Prize, Amnesty International Human Rights Defender’s Award, the BBC’s Green Ribbon Award, MA Thomas National Human Rights Award, Mahatma Phule Award, Bhimabai Ambedkar Award and Mother Teresa Award for Social Justice.

Throughout her life, she preached human rights and believed in two vital philosophies- the right to life and livelihood.

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