Campaigns; Public Awareness; Your Voice

Narmada Bachao Andolan – The tale of non-existing Compensation, Rehabilitation, and lives of 40,000 Families

By | Campaigns; Public Awareness; Your Voice, Conflict Chronicles, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Newsupdate, YOUR VOICE | No Comments

Via a Press Release dated 17th June 2017, the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has cleared the final raising of Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) in Gujarat by lowering of gates and impounding of water in the reservoir upto its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of EL 138.68 mts. The NCA which under the Chairmanship of Dr. Amarjit Singh, Secretary (WR, RD & GR) considered all aspects of environmental and Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) issues.

Fifty-six years after the foundation stone for the Sardar Sarovar dam on the River Narmada was laid the Gujarat government got permission from the Centre to shut its gates. While 30 gates of the dam have been closed, it will open the gates of misery for more than 100,000 people, whose houses and land are likely to get submerged.

Besides the statement issued by noted activist Medha Patkar (viewed above) Narmada Bachao Andolan also issued a statement on 17th June. 2017 stating that;
“The level of falsehood involved in the decision taken by NCA on the closure of Sardar Sarovar gates is unprecedented.” Even the media has been spreading such lies about resettlement of Narmada affected families, even the the government cannot claim this: “A total of 46,840 PAFs have been resettled in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.”

On the 19th June 2017, supporters of Narmada Bachao Andolan laid siege to the entrance of Ministry of Water Resources protesting against the undemocratic and unjust decision of Narmada Control Authority to close the gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam, in its June 16th meeting. The decision paved the way for imminent submergence of 192 villages and one township of Madhya Pradesh this monsoon season when the full reservoir level will be achieved. 

In past two months, despite many assurances from NCA, NVDA and govt. officials, including citing the Supreme Court order of February 2017, the decision had been taken without verifying actual ground conditions in Madhya Pradesh. The Andolan supporters strongly pointed out that the claims of the almost complete disbursement of the compensation, as per SC judgment, is not at all true since a number of applications are still pending infront of the Grievance Redressal Authority in Madhya Pradesh. 
In these matters, the claims of the project affected families for disbursement of the appropriate amount for the land lost hasn’t been settled yet. It also needs to be noted that those who have received cash compensation, are yet to receive their due R&R entitlements for the loss of their houses and other common facilities, simply because 88 R&R sites in Madhya Pradesh are not complete. In such a situation, it is impossible for nearly, 40,000 families to move to these sites, which lack even most of the basic facilities, including drinking water.

Graphic: Raj Kumar Singh

The Supreme Court order while bringing down curtains on the legal battle had brought relief to the 2,039 displaced families. However, those facing displacement to allow the dam to function at its full capacity say they have nowhere to go

Down To Earth, an on the ground organization which has spoken to many locals shared a grim picture of those trapped on the ground with no place to go. 

“In 2003, I was given Rs 40,000 and a plot on the floodplains of the Khooj rivulet ( a tributary of the Narmada) in compensation,” one Iqbal Reyaz from Dharampuri, who works as a daily-wage labourer, told DownToEarth. Five years ago, Reyaz decided to relocate to the rehabilitation colony, aptly named Dharampuri Basahat, literally Dharampuri resettled. He was the first one to build a house there. But it got submerged the very next year, during the floods of 2013. “No one compensated me for the loss of the new house, and I had to return to my old house,” Reyaz stated. “I was a fool to go there. Since the colony is in the floodplains, no one from my town dares to shift there,”.

But going by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award guidelines, the authorities should also provide a primary school for every 100 families, a drinking water well for every 50 families, a seed store for every 500 families, before initiating the eviction process. Barely a month left to meet the apex Court’s deadline, it is unlikely that the requirements would be met. 

The South Asian Network on Dams, Network, and People wrote a detailed article questioning the legality of the lower of the gates of the Dam. 

[Story to be updated. Last updated 20/06/17]

Suicide Awareness & Help – You Are Not Alone.

By | Campaigns; Public Awareness; Your Voice | No Comments
SUICIDE. Yes, that’s a heavy word!
12th-grade results? Yes, that decides your future!

But, is it worth more than someone’s life? With the increase in competition, our society has created this environment for the younger generation that marks decide your life! This continuous pressure right after your 9th grade is inevitable! Science is what intelligent people study, commerce is the average and arts is for you know who. But who even came up with this theory? Parents play a major role in a child’s life but the society plays a bigger role. The continuous phone calls right after the results are declared, the struggle to find a college, let’s not forget neighbors, classmates, relatives you don’t even remember, the rest is all history, are things that haunt every student. 
What we want to convey to you is that, instead of mocking kids and pulling them down, making them believe that one exam decides if you get to live a good life or not, engineering and medical is what they should aim for and limit their options when there’s so much more to do. Trust us, be it school or college, your placements or your career, there’s always another path! Your life is too precious to give up. 
If you or anyone you know is depressed and needs help, please reach out. 
Lastly, we at Arguendo would always be pleased to help you. We will guide you and never judge you, help you with what is to be done and make sure that we fight this together! Just send a mail ( text or a phone call (09848281402)! 
You are not alone. 


Sikkim: 221152, Police Control Room, Gangtok


iCall, Mumbai – +91 22 2556 3291, e-mail –
Vandrevala Foundation Helpline – 1 860 266 2345, e-mail –

The Samaritans Mumbai – 022 6464 3267, 022 6565 3267, 022 6565 3247
Address – B-3, Trisandhya
Behind Ambika Sarees
Dadasaheb Phalke Road
Dadar (E) 400014

Aasra – 91-22-27546669
E-mail –
Address – 104, Sunrise Arcade
Plot No. 100
Sector 16
Navi Mumbai 400709    


Thanal – 0495 237 1100
E-mail –
Address – Iqra Hospital
Calicut 673009

Prathyasa – +91-480 – 2820091
Address – Vidya Jothi
Cathedral Junction
Irinjalakuda 680 685

Pratheeksha – +91 484 2448830
E-mail –
Address – Near Ambedkar Park
Peruvaram Road
North Paravur 683 513


Saath – 079 2630 5544, 079 2630 0222
Address – B12 Nilamber Complex
H.L. Commerce College Road
Ahmedabad 380 006


Roshni – 040 790 4646
E-mail –
Address – 1-8-303/48/21 Kalavathy Nivas
Sindhi Colony
S.P. Road
Secunderabad 500003


Lifeline Foundation – +91 33 24637401, +91 33 24637432
Address – 17/1A Alipore Road
Sarat Bose Road 700 027

New Delhi:

Sumaitri – 011-23389090
Address – Sumaitri
Aradhana Hostel Complex
No. 1 Bhagwan Das Lane
Bhagwan Das Road
New Delhi


Maithri – 91- 484 – 2540530
E-mail –
Address – ICTA Shantigram
Changampuzha Nagar (P.O.)
Kochi 682 033


Connecting India – 9922001122, 18002094353
Website –
Address – Connecting Trust
Dastur Girls School
Moledina Road
Pune 411001

Nagpur Suicide Prevention Helpline – 8888817666


Sneha – 91-44-2464 0050, 91-44-2464 0060
E-mail –
Address – #11, Park View Road
R.A. Puram
Chennai 600028

Befrienders India – National Association
c/o Sneha, 11 Park View Road
600 028


Maitreyi – +91-413-339999
Address – 255 Thyagumudali Street



Lifeline Foundation
17/1A Alipore Road
Sarat Bose Road
700 027
Hotline: +91 33 2474 4704
Hotline: +91 33 2474 5886
Hotline: 2474 5255

A-4, Tanwar View, CHS,
Plot NO – 43, Sector 7
400 701
Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
Hotline: +91 22 2754 6669
Hours:  Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 09:00 – 21:00

255 Thyagumudali Street
Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
Hotline: +91-413-339999
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 14:00 – 20:00

1-8-303/48/21 Kalavathy Nivas,
Sindhi Colony
S.P. Road
500003 A.P.
Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
Hotline: +91 40 7904646
E-mail Helpline:
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat: 11:00 – 21:00

B12 Nilamber Complex
H.L. Commerce College Road
380 006
Hotline: +91 79 2630 5544
Hotline: +91 79 2630 0222

11 Park View Road
(Near Chennai Kaliappa Hospital)
R.A. Puram
600 028
Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
Hotline: +91 (0) 44 2464 0050
E-mail Helpline:
24 Hour service:

The Samaritans Sahara
Sir J-J. Road
Byculla Bridge
400 008
Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:  – E-mail:
Hotline: +91-22-2307 3451
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 15:00 – 21:00
    Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 21:00

1 Bhagwandas Lane
Aradhana Hostel Complex
110 001
Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
Hotline: 2338 9090
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 14:00 – 22:00 Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 22:00

MAITHRI – Cochin
Ashirbhavan Road
Ernakulam Kochi
682 018
Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
Hotline: +91 239 6272
E-mail Helpline:
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 20:00


The CEO & the Carpenter: What it means to be a Social Entrepreneur

By | Blogging, Campaigns; Public Awareness; Your Voice, YOUR VOICE | No Comments
It always intrigued me to know how every face has a name, and every name has a story. It drew me, like iron chips to a magnet, to know that these stories are bunched up into statistics to report a wrongdoing, or to report a phenomenon. So you often don’t hear how a daughter left home to get her first salary only for a bomb blast to claim her life on the way. You often don’t hear what it feels like for one to wake up in a new land after being driven out of her own homeland thanks to war – to be tagged with the label refugee. You seldom hear of the story of survival, of how a woman fought the burden of stigma and social isolation after surviving sexual assault, to own her life and lead it on her own terms like a true victor.
In December 2012, I turned 25. In the run up to my birthday, I was actively involved in a range of based programs: the Connection Point Dialogues by Peace x Peace, volunteering with the UN Online Volunteering Service, and working as a Commissioning Editor with E-IR among other things. Through these many different platforms, I had the opportunity to interact and learn from some of the world’s most amazing women. Everything I imbibed made a huge difference to me and my life. In the run up to my birthday, I went to sleep each night with thoughts that centred around this one question: what if I could bring all the voices of these amazing people I had interacted with, onto one platform, and take them out into the world so people could be inspired to act, as I was?
Two days after I turned 25, I went to the US Consulate at Chennai to receive the US Presidential Services Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, and presented to me by the then Consul General, Ms Jennifer McIntyre. Later, at the First UNV Partnership Forum, I would talk about my experience as a Volunteer, in successfully helping open up the first college in 30 years, in a village in Nigeria. In a few days, I would also receive the UN Online Volunteer of the Year Award for it in 2012.
Even after all this, call it what you might, the wheel of fortune or whatever, but a chance encounter with a trigger brought all my repressed memories back, and I finally came to terms with a truth I had dissociated with: that I had survived abuse as a child. That night, I remember thinking to myself that I wanted to use my voice in a way that it would be heard, in a way that people would know that my voice would count, too.
I was already doing that – screaming through my own blog and whining occasionally on the kind and bountiful space that another would offer me every now and then. I had friends who shared a similar passion – and needed a little space to get out there. So I decided that I’d tie in my second book with an organisation that would be the voice of girls and women everywhere. That night, the Red Elephant Foundation was born.
Kirthi speaking at the UN Volunteers Forum
As is wont to happen, when you start an initiative, especially in the dead of the night, your mind fills itself with ideas. And since you are the only staff member of the newly founded initiative, you give yourself orders to implement these ideas. Over the next few months, the President doubled up as the Plumber, the CEO donned the cape of a Carpenter, and the Executive Member became the electrician. The nuts and bolts of creating an organization were not easy – but being a lawyer by education helped me choose. For a year or so, the organization ran without anything beyond a platform online. I interviewed survivors and changemakers and told their stories. Then, trusted friends and former co-workers got on board to head different divisions, and my core team soon grew to encompass one of the most inspiring teams I have and will ever work with. Through our stories, we pivoted our key goals around gender equality and civilian peacebuilding. We told stories of women, men and transgendered people who fought and overcame odds and braved through difficult situations. We then built up online visually driven campaigns that took forward the core values of gender equality, that culminated in peacebuilding through dialogue.
By and by, we realized that we had a sustainable readership. But what if the buck stopped there? We wanted the conversation to go on, and so, we kick started dialogue programs and workshops, both online and offline, so as to be able to get in as wide a participatory community as we possibly could. Slowly, we realized that we could build into the space of training and hosting workshops with communities at all levels and ages, to encourage critical thinking. We began to workshop with a series of schools across the world, and built our own community platform for peace and gender-based curriculums called ChalkPeace. Soon, we are growing into a space where we kickstart our revenue model of raising funds through workshops. Until then, my team and I are working on a purely voluntary basis, and effecting change through the power of an equally great investment: Time and Effort.
Assistance to help sharpen my skills were always around, thanks to the benevolent selflessness of several global organizations. I made it to the Vital Voices’ VV Lead Fellowship, and to the World Pulse Voices of the Future program, and more recently, the Local Pathways Fellowship Program.
Today, when I look back, I see that every day involved a learning experience that no university could give me. I had no management skills, no leadership training, no understanding of what a business model should look like. I wasn’t afraid to fall, and I wasn’t slow to get up when I fell – because it was imperative that since I started the journey, that I would continue. The process was not easy: I had hate mail. I had people calling me names for being a feminist. I was labelled a freak and what not. Many laughed at me. Still more thought I was crazy. But what stands out for me, is that I move, every single day.

About the Author:

Kirthi Jayakumar is an activist, artist and writer from Chennai, India. She founded and runs the Red Elephant Foundation, a civilian peacebuilding initiative that works for gender equality through storytelling, advocacy and digital interventions. She is a member of the Youth Working Group for Gender Equality under the UNIANYD. Kirthi is the recipient of the US Presidential Services Medal (2012) for her services as a volunteer to Delta Women NGO, and the two-time recipient of the UN Online Volunteer of the Year Award (2012, 2013). Kirthi is also the recipient of the Global Peace Prize 2016, from WeSchool, and the Rising Star of India Award, 2016, from We The City India. Her second book, The Dove’s Lament, made it to the final shortlist for the Muse India Young Writers’ Literary Award. Kirthi was recently invited to the United State of Women Summit at the White House in Washington DC, as a nominated changemaker. She is also a Zen Doodler, and her works have been commissioned by corporate establishments, non-profits and art collectors world over.

Do Your Bit- Indian Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi launches Youth Campaign

By | Campaigns; Public Awareness; Your Voice, Life | No Comments
Every 6 minutes, a child goes missing in India. Every hour 2 children are sexually abused in our country. While education and technology area reaching great heights, 168 million children still toil as labourers. While children never create war, over 63 million children in conflict affected areas like Syria and others, are out-of- school.

Children – the future of humanity – are being exploited, despite mankind’s great advancements. Till when will this go on? This crisis calls for a concerted and compassionate effort, with utmost urgency.

To put an end to violence against children, the first Indian-born Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi is launching the 100 Million for 100 Million’campaign. It’s a youth campaign that will have young people from all across the word take onus of making the world child-friendly. Through the campaign, 100 million youth will stand up to be the voices of the voiceless 100 million children and youth.
The campaign is being launched from the Rashtrapati Bhavan on December 11, where the President along with Nobel Laureates and Leaders will flag it off. These Nobel Laureates and world leaders are coming together for the first time for the cause of children to join the Laureates and Leaders For Children Summit by Kailash Satyarthi.

As law students, we can utilize our strength and knowledge, to become the marshalls of this noble campaign. To join the launch of the campaign:

1. Join your voice for children

Be a part of an extraordinary moment, when the youth will come together to stand up and act for millions of left-out children of the world. Speak in one voice, one message for our children.

What you can do? Sign up on Thunderclap on the link via your social media handles on Facebook and/or Twitter. It will be launched at 1330h IST on 11th December 2016.

2. Let your friends know

Facebook is creating a special filter for the “100 Million for 100 Million” Campaign. Let your friends and family know that you will do your bit for children.
What you can do?Change your Facebook profile picture to pledge your support at 1530h IST on 11th December 2016. The frame would go LIVE at 1500h IST at

3. Fist Bump for Freedom

A fist bump signifies friendship, equality and partnership. To show that you are a part of a campaign promotes equal participation of children, do a fist bump with a child and record it.
What you can do? Do a “fist bump boomerang” with a child to pledge your support for the campaign. Alternately, you can record a 4-second-long video. We ask that you do not undertake this activity with a child in a situation of exploitation i.e. children working at dhabas, begging on street etc. Kindly respect their dignity.

I will do my bit for children. (Tag/Nominate a friend) #DoYourBit. Join @k_satyarthi for” Suggested Twitter/Facebook Post

This campaign will harness the energy, enthusiasm and idealism of 100 million young people.It is Kailash Satyarthi’s belief that every young person is a changemaker, a champion and a leader. 

In his opinion we, as lawyers and law students have a particularly important to play in this Campaign in not only standing up for vulnerable children, but also bringing about a positive change in their lives. Thus, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation and Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), the grassroots organisation run by Mr. Satyarthi, is reaching out to you to support the Campaign. Do your bit in help to build a better tomorrow for all.

Log on to to become a part of this historic Campaign. Use the #DoYourBit to show your support.