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ASJ Mourns the Passing of Vinod Raina

Written by UP - Asian Center.

Vinod Raina, 63. Photo from The Hindu, 31 Dec 2010.Vinod Raina, member of the editorial advisory board of Asian Studies, Indian educator, scientist, and activist, passed away on 12 September 2013 in Bhopal, India.

Born on June 20, 1950, Vinod was once a Naxalite guerrilla fighter and afterwards earned a PhD in elementary particle physics. He resigned from his teaching post at Delhi University’s Physics Department in 1985 to work in a grassroots organization in the areas of education, literacy, ecology, and rural development. Co-founder of the NGO, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (Indian Organization for Learning and Science), he also helped establish the All-India People’s Science Network, an organization that empowers local people to implement their developmental ideas and needs.

In recent years, Vinod was associated with the Indian Rights Movement as a proponent of the Right to Education Act (2009) in India, a constitutional amendment that aims “to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years…” He was also prominent in successfully persuading the Indian Parliament to legislate for Right to Information, Right to Work for the rural poor, and in the ongoing battle for Right to Food. These legislative actions have provided a platform for vibrant resistance to market based neoliberal solutions that are sweeping across the globe. 

Vinod tirelessly worked with the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and the anti-Narmada Dam movement, and published a book, “'The Dispossessed:Victims of Development in Asia” with the Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA), of which he was  long-time executive board member. His other associations with civil society groups and movements in India, Asia and globally include Jubilee South and the World Social Forum process.

He was a Homi Bhabha Fellow (1992-94), a senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (1994-97), an Asia Leadership Fellow (Japan, 2002) and an Honorary Fellow of the Indian Science Writers Association. He had also been promoting, as a way of explaining global inequalities, the concept of "ecological debt" that is continually being accumulated by the North to the South through the plunder of the latter's resources.

Photo from The Hindu, 31 Dec 2010. 

Sources:

Interviews with Vinod's associates.

Vinod Raina, “Brief Biodata.” 2011.

“Cancer claims educationist-activist Vinod Raina,” The Hindu, 13 Sept. 2013. URL: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cancer-claims-educationistactivist-vinod-raina/article5122168.ece.

"RTE Act may turn into a paper tiger: educationist," The Hindu, 30 Dec. 2010.  URL: http://www.hindu.com/2010/12/31/stories/2010123161310700.htm