T.Narayan
Social Reformer
Bezwada Wilson
Leads a nationwide crusade to abolish the dehumanising practice of manual scavenging
COMMENTS PRINT
Theoretical Physicist
Has proved that pioneering scientific thinking and world-class research is still happening in India.
Electrical engineer
Empowering rural India through telecom and computer technology
Entrepreneur
Giving traditional handlooms and handicrafts contemporary relevance
Doctors
Creating an internationally acclaimed and adopted model for drastically reducing child mortality in backward rural areas
Governor
A rare example of humility, ethical conduct and scholarship in public life
Civil Servant
Creating a successful model for checking female foeticide, running a district that is a model of efficient governance
Politician
Ensuring that the UPA gives rural development high priority, and that NREGs makes history
Spiritual Leader
Using his spiritual influence to engage rural folks in large-scale environmental, anti-pollution projects
Development Professional
Recruiting the best professional talent to work on a wide range of remarkably profitable rural livelihood promotion projects that have transformed the lives of nearly 70,000 families
Filmmaker
Making films that successfully challenge the tired Bollywood box-office formula, yet captivate audiences.
Biological Scientist
Making the National Centre for Biological Sciences, which he set up, a world-class institution
Campaigner Against Communalism
Fearless crusader against communalism in Gujarat. Has paid a heavy price for his outspoken activism.
Civil Servant
A quiet, low-key force in the bureaucracy
Lawyer
Forced Delhi's educational bureaucracy and private schools to recognise the rights of poor children
Educationist
Leads a huge effort to improve the quality of primary education in government schools
campaigner For Rural Sanitation
Transforming disease-ridden hamlets into sparkling model villages
Diplomat
Winning Pakistan's trust, and keeping communication channels open, even in difficult times
Economist
His survey of Indian Muslims has offered both a challenge and critique to policy, showing up its gross inadequacies and spurring it to more focused action
Editor, EPW
Runs a magazine that has set the agenda for intellectual debate, government policies for nearly 60 years
human rights lawyer
Fighting for the rights of the marginalised all over India, exposing state abuses
Development Economist
His incisive work on hunger, child malnutrition and other issues has brought the Other India into intellectual and policy focus
Historian
A leader among social scientists, cutting across disciplines. Uses history to counter communal propaganda, modern myths.
Actor
Among the New Generation of actors, his ability to set every role on a slow, crackling flame has set new standards of excellence
Journalist
Putting rural India and the farmers' crisis firmly on the national and media agenda
The Alternative power list
Thinking change in India is a thankless task. A few who are sticking it out for the greater common good.
Vinod Mehta
Bezwada Wilson was born in Karnataka's Kolar gold fields, but the only local product he and fellow Dalits from the Telugu-speaking Madiga community handled for decades was human excreta in community dry latrines. Recalling his first direct encounter with manual scavenging in 1989, Wilson says: "I wanted to die." Instead, he began waging a war against the dehumanising practice, which despite a ban in 1993, still continues, including in government institutions like the Indian Railways and army cantonments. There are officially 6.76 lakh manual scavengers in India, though unofficial estimates put the figure at 13 lakh. A PIL petition filed by Wilson's Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA) in 2003 resulted in the Supreme Court demanding affidavits from various states. Most states were in denial mode. But in Andhra Pradesh, SKA proved that dry latrines existed with video and photographic evidence; then it began demolishing them—over 2,000 of them. Wilson, 41, says he won't rest until he destroys India's last one.
COMMENTS PRINT
Theoretical Physicist
Has proved that pioneering scientific thinking and world-class research is still happening in India.
Electrical engineer
Empowering rural India through telecom and computer technology
Entrepreneur
Giving traditional handlooms and handicrafts contemporary relevance
Doctors
Creating an internationally acclaimed and adopted model for drastically reducing child mortality in backward rural areas
Governor
A rare example of humility, ethical conduct and scholarship in public life
Civil Servant
Creating a successful model for checking female foeticide, running a district that is a model of efficient governance
Politician
Ensuring that the UPA gives rural development high priority, and that NREGs makes history
Spiritual Leader
Using his spiritual influence to engage rural folks in large-scale environmental, anti-pollution projects
Development Professional
Recruiting the best professional talent to work on a wide range of remarkably profitable rural livelihood promotion projects that have transformed the lives of nearly 70,000 families
Filmmaker
Making films that successfully challenge the tired Bollywood box-office formula, yet captivate audiences.
Biological Scientist
Making the National Centre for Biological Sciences, which he set up, a world-class institution
Campaigner Against Communalism
Fearless crusader against communalism in Gujarat. Has paid a heavy price for his outspoken activism.
Civil Servant
A quiet, low-key force in the bureaucracy
Lawyer
Forced Delhi's educational bureaucracy and private schools to recognise the rights of poor children
Educationist
Leads a huge effort to improve the quality of primary education in government schools
campaigner For Rural Sanitation
Transforming disease-ridden hamlets into sparkling model villages
Diplomat
Winning Pakistan's trust, and keeping communication channels open, even in difficult times
Economist
His survey of Indian Muslims has offered both a challenge and critique to policy, showing up its gross inadequacies and spurring it to more focused action
Editor, EPW
Runs a magazine that has set the agenda for intellectual debate, government policies for nearly 60 years
human rights lawyer
Fighting for the rights of the marginalised all over India, exposing state abuses
Development Economist
His incisive work on hunger, child malnutrition and other issues has brought the Other India into intellectual and policy focus
Historian
A leader among social scientists, cutting across disciplines. Uses history to counter communal propaganda, modern myths.
Actor
Among the New Generation of actors, his ability to set every role on a slow, crackling flame has set new standards of excellence
Journalist
Putting rural India and the farmers' crisis firmly on the national and media agenda
The Alternative power list
Thinking change in India is a thankless task. A few who are sticking it out for the greater common good.
Vinod Mehta

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