The ‘gentle revolutionary’; a pioneer in women’s empowerment and grassroots development, founder of the more than 1 million-strong Self-Employed Women’s Association in India.
• Founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India
• Founder of India’s first women’s bank, the Cooperative Bank of SEWA
• Member of the Indian Parliament 1986-89
• Gandhian practitioner of non-violence and self-reliance
“There are risks in every action. Every success has the seed of some failure. But it doesn’t matter. It is how you go about it. That is the real challenge.”
Kartikeya V. Sarabhai is the Founder Director of the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), established in 1984 as a Centre of Excellence of the Ministry of Environment and Forest & Climate Change, Government of India. CEE was the Nodal Agency for the implementation of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in India (UNDESD – 2005-14). Mr. Sarabhai was the member of the UNESCO Reference Group for UNDESD as well as a member of the International Steering Group for the End of the Decade Conference 2014. CEE took leadership in highlighting the role of education for Sustainable Development and partnered with UNESCO, UNEP to organize key international
Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer based in Bengaluru. His books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (University of California Press, 1989), and an award-winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador, 2002), which was chosen by The Guardian as one of the ten best books on cricket ever written. India after Gandhi (Macmillan/Ecco Press, 2007; revised edition, 2017) was chosen as a book of the year by the Economist, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and as a book of the decade in the Times of London and The Hindu.
Ramachandra Guha’s most recent work is a two volume biography of Mahatma Gandhi. The first volume, Gandhi Before India (Knopf, 2014), was chosen as a notable book of the year by the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. The second volume, Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World (Knopf, 2018, was chosen as a notable book of the year by the New York Times and The Economist.
Sunita Narain has been with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) since 1982. She is currently the director general of the Centre and the treasurer of the Society for Environmental Communications and editor of the fortnightly magazine, Down To Earth.
She is a writer and environmentalist, who uses knowledge for change. In 2005 she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government. She has also received the World Water Prize for work on rainwater harvesting and for its policy influence in building paradigms for community based water management. In 2005, she also chaired the Tiger Task Force at the direction of the Prime Minister, to evolve an action plan for conservation in the country after the loss of tigers in Sariska. She advocated solutions to build a coexistence agenda with local communities so that benefits of conservation could be shared and the future secured. Narain was a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Climate Change as well as the National Ganga River Basin Authority.
Dr. Suhrud is a renowned scholar in the field of political science and cultural history. He has extensively worked on the life and thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and the social and cultural history of modern Gujarat. Prior to joining CEPT University, Dr. Suhrud was serving as the Director & Chief Editor of Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust, where he was also responsible for setting up of the Gandhi Archives. His past academic affiliations include the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, the DAIICT, Gandhi Nagar, and the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Dr. Suhrud is the Chairman of the Governing council of MICA.
Dr. Suhrud has been a member of various institutional bodies like Society of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Nominee of the Government of India, Governing Council, Gandhigram Rural Institute, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, International Centre for Human Development, Think Tank – Gandhi Heritage, Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
Gandhi and Cities
It is counter-intuitive to think of M K Gandhi and City. In fact the category ‘Urban’ does not occur in the Subject Index of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi and the small entry on ‘Cities/ Towns’ is dominated by ‘exploitation of villages’ by these. And yet Gandhi was a city-dweller, his dwelling within the city was neither liminal nor tenuous. London, the Capital of the Empire, he knew intimately and had an almost touching tenderness towards it. His monograph, “Guide to London” remains a delightful read. His political life in South Africa was formed in urban areas to begin with. He established his Ashram in India in an Industrial City of Ahmedabad. His interventions shaped the fates of at least two cities; Calcutta and Delhi, in the aftermath of Independence and partition. Chennai, Bombay and Pune constantly drew him to them. And yet he saw cities as something of a deformity, a place of allurement, where un-sleeping ‘white nights’ led not only people but even civilisations astray. Even by his elliptical remarks Gandhi has much to say about the city of the past, of the present and if we have the capacity to listen, of the Future(s).
Four Urban and Urbane pioneers, each with a fascinating tale, each of them a story in themselves and each an enchanting storyteller come together to talk of Gandhi and the City. COME. JOIN the Conversation.