Aruna Roy – An Indian Political and Social Activist

“You can never evaluate anything standing from outside; you have to evaluate yourself first.”

Aruna Roy (born on 26 May 1946) is an Indian political and social activist who co-founded the Mazdoor’ Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), a social grass root organization for the empowerment of works and peasant along with Shankar Singh, Nikhil Dev, and others. MKSS was a major civil rights movement in India and helped in passing the Indian ‘Right to Information Act’, a major step in reducing the country’s corruption and promoting government transparency.

For 6 years, she served as a civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service. In 1974, she left the political service to join the Social Work and Research Centre (SWRC), a rural development organization in Tilonia, Rajasthan, founded by her husband Bunker Roy who is also an Indian social activist and educator. Eventually, she founded the MKSS, an organization devoted to empowering workers and peasants and also increasing, the accountability of local governments. She has been associated with several campaigns including the Right to Information Act, the Right to Work (then REGA), and the Right to Food. She has been honored with Raman Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academia, and Management. She served as a member of the National Advisory Council of India until 2006 and is part of NAC (National Advisory Council) II. She was inducted into National Advisory Committee in 2004 which was set up by the then Congress government.

As a member of the Pension Parishad, she was involved with the campaign for a universal, non-contributory pension for unorganized sector workers and the NCPRI for the passage and enactment of the Whistleblower Protection Law and Grievance Redress Act. In 2011, she was named as one of the ‘100 Most influential people across the world’ by Times magazine.

Life lesion– leaders like her are always a part of the problem-solving process.

  • They keenly identify the problem,
  • analyze it,
  • try to find the root cause of the problem,
  • create all possible alternative solutions to solve the problem,
  • analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each solution,
  • select the best possible one,
  • implement the idea
  • And at regular intervals, they take adequate feedback by monitoring the implementation process.
  • If the solution is implemented aptly, they plan the next course of action, if not, they try to find better alternatives to resolve the issue till they achieve their goals but won’t quit until the problem is solved. Like her, we all must try to be a part of solution and not apart from solution.