Sudha SREENIVASA REDDY
by Sudha REDDY
India, South Asia
My name is Sudha. I live in Bangalore, South India.
Motivated by an attitude of service to humanity my higher studies began with an attempt in medical school for 2 years, but then turned to social service. I eventually stepped out of university with Masters in Sociology. At the university History and Public Administration were my other subjects. In addition, I studied Development Communication in the Philippines and Community Based Rehabilitation of the disabled in India.
I had got into Social action during my college days by experimenting revolutionary ideas first on myself. The experiences of this period led me to understand the problems of human dignity and human rights. I also moved to an appreciation of the interconnectedness of all beings, and the diversity and pluralism in all societies. In this journey, as a trainer and organizer I have been involved with a variety of alternatives to development in two of the southern states of India, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. I worked on issues such as traditional wisdom/knowledge systems, local cultures, sustainable agriculture, food security, health, environment and gender issues (all within the context of globalization.) Realizing the importance of women’s role in deepening democracy, I also focused on local governance and participatory democracy to empower women. Inspired by Gandhian and socialist ideas I founded an NGO ’Grama Swaraj Samithi’(GSS) which literally means ’Village Self Rule Council’. GSS works with poor communities through participatory and holistic approach for self-dignity and self reliance.
Through GSS we have initiated awareness raising, education and empowerment activities among the displaced urban communities with an emphasis on women and youth, challenging the issues of urban poverty, migration, displacement, health, governance and land rights.
Another area of concern is the scourge of HIV/AIDS in India. India is estimated to have the highest number of HIV positive people next to Africa. The multi dimensional implication of HIV/AIDS on women in particular has triggered me to involve with the prevention of HIV/AIDS among the poorer communities and struggle for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.
In the area of environmental sanitation, GSS has successfully promoted community based sanitation complexes with decentralized waste water treatment and biogas in the displaced communities that has been managed by the local women.
I am currently involved in the activities of SAHAJEEVAN, an organization that is concerned with cultural pluralism, sustainable agriculture, gender, governance, indigenous habitats and earth spirituality. Sahajeevan has been striving for holistic development of primitive tribe, ’Chenchus’ living in deep forests of Nalamala Hills in south India. It has also actively promoted biodiversity and wildlife conservation.
I am actively participating in the Peoples’ initiative of bringing peace and friendship between India and Pakistan. Pakistan and India Peoples’ Forum for peace and Friendship has been initiated in India and Pakistan and periodic conventions are being held in both countries where people from walks of life express hope and solidarity in bringing peace.
I am also connected with the national movement on land reforms and water rights which is of particular importance to farmers and women . In the present political context, India is seized by divisive forces for political gains in the guise of religious nationalism. There is an urgent need for deepening the secular values and meaningful inter religious dialogue for peace. We also know that the present dominant paradigm of development is doomed to failure and will marginalize and exclude people even more.
My other related strong networks are being South Asian Dialogue on Ecological Democracy and South Asia peace Alliance.
My association with the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World has enriched me with a global understanding of issues. I realize that we must simultaneously work for change at local, national and international levels. Through the Alliance I have been participating in the intercultural dialogue between India and China.
It has been a very challenging and a creative journey to be a part of the Charter of Human Responsibilities.
You can reach me at: sudha179 PhX gmail.com