ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dr Vinayan

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The renowned peasant leader and founding member of National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW), Dr Vinayan passed away on August 18, 2006 in Patna after a brief illness. A medical doctor by education, in the early 1970s he went to Bihar to work among agricultural workers and poor peasants, defending their political, social and cultural rights. He initiated the Bodh Gaya movement and was also closely associated with Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan during the movement in Bihar. He was the founding member of the Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samiti (MKSS) and a pioneer in the radical movement of the landless and poor peasants of Bihar. He formed the Jan Mukti Andolan in Jehanabad in the 1980s after MKSS was dissolved. Later he became the founding secretary of Bharat Jan Andolan along with B D Sharma. He was instrumental in initiating the movement for adivasi self-rule for which he sat on a hunger strike for 14 days at Rajghat in 1995. Subsequently, the Panchayat Extension to the Schedule Areas (PESA) Act was passed in Parliament in 1996. He was a founding member of the NFFPFW. He went on a ‘padyatra’ in 1992 from Patna to Ayodhya and then against the anti-people agreements of the World Trade Organisation. He also led a padyatra of members of the Kamani Employees’ Union from Muzzafarpur to Patna from April 19-24 this year, protesting the violation of their rights as workers.

Two things were very striking in his life. First, he remained in Jehanabad among the people where he led the resistance to feudal elements in a peaceful and democratic manner. Second, he never took advantage of his connections in high places. He remained down to earth and politically uncompromising. He deeply influenced our understanding of the socio-political conditions of dalits and adivasis. He played an instrumental role in advocating progressive amendments to the Scheduled Tribes and Forest Dwellers Bill, 2005. He documented the process of climate change in Hindi and made many invaluable interventions in the debate on climate change. During his last days, he was active in the extremely backward districts of Kaimur and Garwah in strengthening people’s movements there. He also ran a residential school for girls at an ashram in Jehanabad.

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