She is a symbol of Mother India, fighting for the poor, fighting for the Dalits, fighting for justice, fighting for human rights, fighting for the voice of dissent.
In all these concurrent battles, she got caught up in the web of sweeping “anti-terror” laws that landed her in prison.
After spending three arduous years in a Maharashtra jail, Sudha Bharadwaj was released on bail early last month in a trial. The government accused her of participation in the infamous 2018 Bhima Koregaon case.
(Bhima-Koregaon is a small village in the Pune district of Maharashtra, linked with a crucial facet of Maratha history. On January 1 each year, members of India’s marginalized Dalit community gather at Bhima-Koregaon to mark a battle in 1818. The Dalits sided with the British colonial army to defeat Hindu upper-caste Peshwa rulers.)
While personally facing the ordeal of prison life in its most downgrading and inhumane environment, she helped and fought for fellow prisoners facing dire situations, especially during this ongoing Corona pandemic.
Sudha Bharadwaj, 60, is a committed activist.
For the last three decades, she got herself actively involved in struggling for the landless and extremely poor against their eviction and exploitation in the mineral-rich state of Chhattisgarh.
Sudha Bharadwaj was born in Boston, USA, to well-known academic parents.
She gave up her US citizenship to dedicate her life to work for tribals in Chhattisgarh and for the Dalit cause. With a law degree and as a professor at the National Law School in Delhi, she decided to use her credentials and dedicate her life to securing dignity and justice for the most disadvantaged section of the Indian population.
-by Promod Puri