GB Members

Vasanth Kannabiran  For over 30 years, Vasanth Kannabiran has been closely involved with questions of armed militancy, civil liberties, and the meaning of peace for women in her native state of Andhra Pradesh. She is among the first women in the country to move into feminist activism through the Stree Shakti Sangathana. Twenty years ago, she set up a radical women’s collective in Andhra Pradesh called Asmita, which brings diverse groups of women into networks addressing issues spanning conflict, peace, survival, women’s rights, and secularism.


Jarjum Ete  was the first Chairperson of the Arunachal Pradesh State Commision on Women. She belongs to the Galo tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The tribe, though progressive, still practises polygamy among the rich and elites, and, is basically a patriarchal tribe. It also used to practise child marriages. Galo women do not have inheritance rights to landed parental properties, as the tribe follows patrilocality and generally exogamy in marriages. In 1985 she joined the Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Welfare Society as a full time active volunteer and later rose to be its spokesperson. The APWWS has taken up many issues like women’s participation in panchayats, tribal women's human rights under various customary laws, need for a State Women’s Commission, and women's representation in the State Planning Board. Jarjum herself has very strong views on legalisation of prostitution. She is presently heading the apex body of her tribe, the GWS, as its first woman President for a second term. And she is also the Vice Chairperson of the Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Forum (AITF), the pan-Arunachal body of all the Community Based Organisations.


Bezwada Wilson is leading a nationwide movement to abolish the dehumanizing practices of manual toilet cleaning and scavenging in India. Bezwada and his organization, Safai Karmachari Andolan, have served as a watchdog, pushing for legal action to demolish dry toilets across India and preparing manual scavengers to achieve new sources of income. His goal is to keep manual scavenging and sanitary work from being associated with Dalits, in the larger context of reforming the caste system, by pushing government agencies to replace manual scavenging with mechanization.

Ashif Sheikh an M.A. is political science, has been working extensively for eradication of inhuman practice of Manual Scavenging, Dalit rights and issues of Dalit-Muslim communities for the past 13 years. He is one of the founders of Garima Abhiyan (National Campaign for Dignity and Eradication of Manual Scavenging) and Jan Sahas Social Development Society. Ashif is also one of the first activists who brought to the fore issues of discrimination, untouchability and social exclusion faced by the Dalit-Muslims in Madhya Pradesh. Ashif has to his credit four books on the subject of Dalit Rights and issues of socially excluded communities.



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