Kolkata, 18 February 2014: An eminent author and human rights activist Mahasweta Devi becomes Brand Ambassador of Malda’s Nirbhoy Gram initiative today. Announcing her decision this morning, from Rajdanga residence, the cheerful and all time fearless Mahasweta upheld the vision, goals and principles of Nirbhoy Gram in front of television journalists and declared that she would be an active Nirbhoy Gram member and supporter from today. “I support the Nirbhoy Gram initiative as it is waging a war against fear,” said Mahasweta, in a humble function in Kolkata.
This decision came after a long deliberation of the author with Nirbhoy Gram founder popularly known as Nirbhoy Didi in Malda, Smt. Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury. “I endorse the cause and aims of the Nirbhoy Gram and volunteering to support Nirbhoy Didi in this movement for the protection of women and human rights of the most marginalised sections. I am deeply moved by its content and feel proud that the area of activity chosen for the movement is Malda, not Kolkata,” said Mahasweta. In a hand-written note, Mahasweta hailed the efforts of Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury and stated, “Sreerupa, you and me both are scoundrels. So, we will win the war.” This, she said, “is the heart of the activists, who venture to do the most un-doable and cross all boundaries to win a war against fear, poverty, illiteracy, crime, corruption and deceitful leadership. I am joining Nirbhoy Gram Andolan from today.”
In a solemn and humble function organized in Kolkata, Mahasweta Devi received the Brand Ambassador plaque from Nirbhoy Gram Founder Nirbhoy didi Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury. Mahasweta Devi signed her endorsement and statement for public knowledge. In her statement, she expressed her solidarity and support to people of Malda and blessed the Nirbhoy Gram Initiative. The original documents signed by her, have been issued herewith for public interest and for the purpose of publishing.
Nirbhoy Gram is the first of its kind of philanthropic initiative in Malda district of West Bengal with an aim to empower 3000 villages and spread the ideals of peace, non-violence and fearless existence among the rural poor. The Nirbhoy Gram campaign has been spearheaded by prominent social activist Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury for safety, security and protection of women and young girls.
Malda has been declared one among 272 most backward districts by the Planning Commission of India. Nestled in the border of Bangladesh, the district has reported high levels of poverty, illiteracy, crime and communal violence.
Mahasweta Devi is India’s leading author whose works are known for people’s protection of rights. Earlier, music legend Pandit Jasraj and Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee became Brand Ambassadors of Nirbhoy Gram.
Nirbhoy Gram means a fearless village. It primarily focuses on safety and security of women and children. The initiative has been envisioned as a people’s movement for safety, security and justice at the grassroot. The campaign aims to remove fear from the minds of villagers, teach villagers to stand against crime and corruption, educate them to fight economic insolvency, motivate them to voice out their demands for safety and security and elect fearless and truthful leaders as their representatives in polity for social, economic and infrastructural transformation of the villages.
The insidious and brutal incident of rape of “Nirbhaya” on December 16, 2012 in New Delhi highlights the most atrocious forms of violence in our society. A young girl came to study in a metropolitan city. She was brutally raped and murdered. The incident marked a powerful reaction of the Indian youth against police, government and the civil administration. Nirbhaya became a national emergency. Following this cruel incident, Nirbhaya emerged as a symbol of fearless existence. Her spirit is undying, insurmountable and she emerged as a symbolic national character.
The symbolic character Nirbhaya has inspired activist Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury to engineer a called Nirbhoy Gram (Fearless Village). The core idea is to motivate and empower villagers towards eradication of poverty, fear, illiteracy and social maladies from their lives. The Nirbhoy Gram is seeking to achieve rural people’s absolute trust in police, government and the Panchayat system (Local Self Government). The founder of Nirbhoy Gram, Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, is fondly addressed as Nirbhoy Didi by the local villagers.