Aruna Roy is a social and political activist and one of the founders of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS). As a member of the Central government’s National Advisory Council she has played a key role in shaping the Right to Information and National Rural Employment Guarantee Acts. She has been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academia and Management. She and the MKSS Collective have also been awarded the Rule of Law Award in the World Justice Forum held in Barcelona, Spain in June 2011. TIME Magazine has listed her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2011.
Nikhil Dey was educated in India and the USA, and obtained his degree in law from the University of Delhi. He joined Aruna Roy and Shankar Singh in 1987 to found the MKSS). He has been involved in struggles of the poor for justice, including grass root struggles for land and the payment of minimum wages. He has also been a part of the organisation’s involvement in larger campaigns – most notably for the People’s Right to Information, and the Right to Work. He is also a member of the Central Employment Guarantee Council, which is mandated to oversee the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. Shanker Singh is one of the founder members of the MKSS. Acknowledged to be one of India's leading figures in peoples theatre, he has combined over two decades of activism with the power of people’s communication through street theatre, puppetry, song, and drama to strengthen the voice of the poor. Through his uncanny, incisive wit and his keen political insight, he instinctively communicates complex issues in an idiom familiar to the people.
About Azim Premji University
Azim Premji University is an institution of excellence in teaching and research in education and allied development fields. The University has a clear social purpose of working towards a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. The University is committed towards developing outstanding professionals for the education and development sectors in India, conducting contextually relevant research in these fields and strengthening the capacities of existing professionals through high quality continuing education programmes.
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About Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)
MKSS is a grass roots people’s organisation formed in 1990 with its headquarters in a small village in Central Rajasthan. Its name roughly translates into “Organisation for the Empowerment of Workers and Peasants”, and it is one of the growing number of organisations in India which see themselves as part of the non party political process. The MKSS works on the concerns of its primary constituents – peasants and workers, but also engages with wider issues of participatory democracy, and democratic struggle.