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Medha Patkar
Medha Patkarr, (born December 1, 1954 , Bombay [now Mumbai], Maharashtra state,
India), Indian social activist known chiefly for her work with people displaced by the Narmada
Valley Development Project (NVDP), a large-scale plan to dam the Narmada River and its
tributaries in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. An advocate of
human rights, Patkar founded her campaigns on two basic tenets in the Indian constitution: the
rights to life and to livelihood.
Born to socially active parents, Patkar grew up in an environment imbued with a sense of social
justice and freedom. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in science from Ruia College in
Mumbai and earned a master’s degree in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in
the early 1980s.
The background to Patkar’s activism took place during the 1960s and early ’70s, when the Indian
government was promoting dam building as a route to modernization. The harnessing of river
water was to provide water for drinking and irrigation and for generating electricity in
impoverished areas. It would also, however, displace hundreds of thousands of people. In 1979
the NVDP—which proposed the construction of thousands of dams on the Narmada and its
tributaries—was granted approval. In 1985 Patkar visited villages in the Narmada valley that
were to be submerged after the completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in southeastern Gujarat,
one of the largest of the planned projects. There she became aware of indifference exhibited by
local government officials toward the people affected by the project. In 1986 she and her
supporters organized marches and protests against the local government entity that was seeking
financial grants from the World Bank for the Sardar Sarovar project. In that same year Patkar
established the organization Narmada Dharangrastra Samiti, which in 1989 became the Narmada
Bachao Andolan (NBA; Save the Narmada). The NBA’s major aim was to provide project
information and legal representation to the concerned residents of the Narmada valley.
Through the NBA, Patkar sought help for those rendered homeless and without livelihoods
because of the construction of the Sardar Sarovar and other large dams along the Narmada. In
1990 Patkar led NBA members and some 3,000 people displaced by dam projects on a march
from northern Madhya Pradesh toward the Sardar Sarovar dam site, but they were stopped at the
Gujarat border by police and pro-dam activists. However, after further protest and opposition,
including hunger strikes, Patkar and the NBA achieved a breakthrough in 1993 when the World
Bank withdrew from the project.
In 1996 Patkar founded the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), an
agglomeration of progressive social bodies opposed to globalization policies. She was a
representative to the World Commission on Dams, the first independent global advisory body on
dam-related issues of water, power, and alternatives; the commission was set up in 1998 and in
2000 issued its influential final report, which contained recommendations on improving
development outcomes. Patkar also worked with local communities to develop alternatives for
energy generation, water harvesting, and education, and she created a system of residential and
day schools in villages of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. She was recognized
internationally for her work.

Rachel Carson's Biography
Rachel Louise Carson
Born: May 27, 1907
in Springdale, Pennsylvania
Died: April 14, 1964
in Silver Spring, Maryland

Rachel Carson, writer, scientist, and ecologist, grew up simply in the rural river town of
Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her mother bequeathed to her a life-long love of nature and the living
world that Rachel expressed first as a writer and later as a student of marine biology. Carson
graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) in 1929, studied at the
Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and received her MA in zoology from Johns
Hopkins University in 1932.
She was hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries to write radio scripts during the Depression and
supplemented her income writing feature articles on natural history for the Baltimore Sun. She
began a fifteen-year career in the federal service as a scientist and editor in 1936 and rose to
become Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
She wrote pamphlets on conservation and natural resources and edited scientific articles, but in
her free time turned her government research into lyric prose, first as an article "Undersea"
(1937, for the Atlantic Monthly), and then in a book, Under the Sea-wind (1941). In 1952 she
published her prize-winning study of the ocean, The Sea Around Us, which was followed by The
Edge of the Sea in 1955. These books constituted a biography of the ocean and made Carson
famous as a naturalist and science writer for the public. Carson resigned from government
service in 1952 to devote herself to her writing.
She wrote several other articles designed to teach people about the wonder and beauty of the
living world, including "Help Your Child to Wonder," (1956) and "Our Ever-Changing Shore"
(1957), and planned another book on the ecology of life. Embedded within all of Carson's
writing was the view that human beings were but one part of nature distinguished primarily by
their power to alter it, in some cases irreversibly.
Disturbed by the profligate use of synthetic chemical pesticides after World War II, Carson
reluctantly changed her focus in order to warn the public about the long term effects of misusing
pesticides. In Silent Spring (1962) she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the
government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.
Carson was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist, but
courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world subject to
the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem. Testifying before Congress in 1963, Carson called
for new policies to protect human health and the environment. Rachel Carson died in 1964 after
a long battle against breast cancer. Her witness for the beauty and integrity of life continues to
inspire new generations to protect the living world and all its creatures.