3 Feb 2014

Manoj Jena : A Crusader of Peace, Harmony & Human Rights

Manoj Jena is a crusader for Peace, Harmony and Human Rights from Odisha. An institution builder,he is one of the founding members of many civil society organisations which work for upliftment of the marginalised sections of the society. His work has been widely recognized with Awards like Nyay Jyoti Samman, Maja Koene Award, National Youth Award, Sarvodaya Samman,Mahila Surakshya Samman and National Human Rights award,Loknayak Samman, Rastriya Sadbhavana Puraskar etc
Personal life
Manoj Jena was born in a socially backward caste Hindu family in Jajpur district in Odisha, to Late Sri Babaji Charan Jena and Shrimati Tulashi Devi, on May 29,1972. He did his post graduate course in Public Administration from Utkal University,Bhubaneswar,Odisha and Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism & Mass Communication from Indira Gandhi National Open University. Manoj married Pratima Rout on 16 February 2004 and has a 5 year old son, Swayam Sekhar (Rajan) He loves reading and writing articles in newspaper, is a vegetarian and chooses an ascetic lifestyle. He decided to work for the society against his family wishes to carry his family business.
Initial years
with Ana Hazare
From the beginning, Manoj was averse to the caste system that is still rampant in the Hindu society. From very childhood he was inclined towards social work and community service. He was associated with Junior Red Cross Society when he was reading in class sixth. With friends, he used to clean village ponds and construct village mud roads, planting fruit bearing trees etc.
When he entered high school, he became a volunteer of Bharat Scouts & Guides and was attending regularly the service camps in various places of the State.
In the early college days he was inspired by the works and teaching of Swami Vivekanada, the great youth icon of India. So he formed “Vivekananda Seva Sangh” in his village with few dedicated friends in which he held the position of the Secretary. The organization had taken up plantation drive in nearby villages, opened library in the villages, organizing talent competitions among the school students, sent relief for Lathur earthquake victims in 1991 etc.
During the college days he was associated with National Service Schemes (NSS), he used to attend different service camps in the remote villages and festivals.
Gandhian Ways
He was highly inspired by the life and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi through Pravina Desai, a close associate of Vinoba Bhave, left Odisha and stayed in Nivedita Nilayam Youth Centre at Wardha, Maharastra. There he learned deeply regarding the Indian freedom struggle, Gandhian Economics, Indian politics etc. Many living Gandhians were closely associated with him. Regularly attended Sevagram Ashram & Paunar Ashram programs. His learning at Wardha was indeed a great help to boost his commitment towards public service.
Eminent Gandhian Leaders of India
He left Wardha to join Gorakshya Satyagraha at Deonar, Mumbai. The satyagraha was called by Vinoba Bhave against cow slaughter. For a year he participated the satyagraha and arrested several times.
Mr Jena is presently holding an national executive member of Gandhi Global Family and Akhil Bharat Rachanatmak Samaj, both organisation formed by late Nirmala Deshpande, a close aide of Acharya Vinoba Bhave.
As a Social Motivator
with Late Nirmala Deshpande
The continuing poverty of Odisha was always a nightmare for him. He recalls Gandhiji when he visited Odisha first time in 1921 was deeply shaken seeing the abject poverty of its people. He declared Odisha’s poverty was epitome of India’s Poverty.
He decided to return to his State and work for the marginalised sections. So he joined Lutheran World Service(LWS) an international organization working for the development of rural & tribal upliftment. He had successfully dealt with many issues and engaged himself in relief and rehabilitation work during the super cyclone in Odisha the year 1999 and earthquake in Gujarat in 2001.
He formed an organization Vinoba Seva Pratisthan(VSP) in 2002 with likeminded committed people who believes in Gandhian way of development in which he held the position of  General Secretary. For the last few years, the organisation has been working in remote tribal areas in the areas of health, education, livelihood, governance, peace building, land rights etc. Under his dynamic leadership, the organization has also taken various advocacy programmes related to farmers suicide, resettlement and rehabilitation policies for displaced people, communal harmony etc.
On Human Rights Issues

Since 2006, Mr. Jena has been actively working on human rights issues. From 2006 to 2008 he worked in the European Union assistance project “National Project on Preventing Torture in India”.  He brought into light and advocated many atrocities cases and intervened more than 5000 cases in different human rights and legal aid forum or institutions and organized series of people’s tribunals.
In the year 2009, he formed Human Rights Front(HRF) with fellow defenders of the State in which he positioned as chairperson since then the forum is being taking various violation issues, fighting for justice to the victims. The organization takes various programs for different stake holders in association with National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commission, National Women Commission, State Women Commissions and other human rights bodies of national and international level.
Contribution to Civil Society
Odisha has placed in the bottom of human development index in India. The main reason he see lack of civil and political will of its leaders and people. The civil society leaders of the State united and formed Odisha Nagarika Samaj(ONAS) on 18th December 2009, a civil society coalition which he was given responsibility as Member Secretary. Under his leadership, the forum advocated many state and national issues like series of farmers suicide, scams, time bound delivery services, climate change action plan, lokayukta, larger youth participation in voting, polavaram project, forcefully displacement, Infrastructural development etc.
In the context of Kandhamal communal violence in the year 2007, the civil society leaders and peace activists of both State and nation came together to address the issue, they formed “Odisha Shanti o Sadbhavana Abhiyan(OSSA)” in which Mr Jena played a key role, held the position of Coordinator where the eminent persons like Prof Radhamohan, former information commissioner of Odisha and Dr Bhagbanprakash, presently advisor to Election Commission of India held as Convenor and Co-Convenor.
The continuous violence by Maoist and counter attack of the State hurts many peace loving people and Gandhian organisations of the State. To tackle this issue, they formed “Odisha Sarvodaya Samaj” in the year 2006 under the leadership of Dr Ratan Das, a renowned Bhoodan worker, Mr Jena was given responsibility of Coordinator. The forum had taken many peace initiatives and peaceful solution of many threatening issues.
Mr Jena played a key role in the State for demanding Jan Lokpal & Lokayukta under the aegis of India Against Corruption, He was among few person who played vital role in national level of IAC and organised first Anna Hazare’s visit to the State.

For People's Cause
Mr Jena organised, led or participate various public movement and protest against any violations or anti- democratic actions of both State and non-state actors, these are follows..

·   Against inhuman police lathi-charge to the peaceful farmer protester at Hirakud, Sambalpur for demand of irrigation to their agricultural land instead of industrial houses, led a civil society protest in Bhubaneswar and submitted a memorandum to Governor.
·     Led a protest in front of Rajbhawan against illegally taken 80 acres of Bhoodan land by mafias in Sampur village, donated to poor landless people and submitted a memorandum to Governor.
·  Organised a civil society protest in Bhubaneswar against the barbaric action of police and administration in POSCO steel project in Jagatsinghpur,Orissa.
·  Organised a mass demonstration in Kalinga Nagar ADM office, Jajpur with the leaders of all people’s movement organization of Orissa against barbaric action of police and administration in Kalinga Nagar of TATA’s steel project.
·    Participated in a tribal women protest against the killing of Benudhar Majhi, an adivasi human rights defender who was killed by the wood mafia in Paikmal, Baragarh District in Odisha.
·        Farmers protest at Governor house to declare drought and due compensation in regards to crops loss due to heavy flood in the year 2010.
·  Protest led against the removal of AFSPA in Manipur and solidarity to Irom Sharmila for completion of her eleven years of fast.
·        Organized series of programs of Anna Hazare led India Against Corruption in the State.
·     Farmer protest organised in Collectorate, Jajpur for compensate the drought relief and participate similar protest at Balangir,Ganjam,Mayurbhanj,Dhenkanal and Jagatsinghpur districts from 2009 to 2012 under the banner of Odisha Chasi Surakshya Abhiyan.
·    Organized a mass rally of ten thousand unemployed youth under the banner of Odisha Bekarmukta Abhiyan at Bhubaneswar on 27th September 2012.
·  Rally & Protest led against various woman torture , sexually harassment & death of Babina Behera,Mini Pradhan & Itishree Pradhan in different districts of Odisha.
·  Satyagraha led at Govornor house against unconditional release of jailed farmer leaders of Nava Nirman Krushak Sangathan on 28th December 2013.
·  Protest led at Bhubaneswar against murder of RTI activist Krupasindhu Sahoo in 2014
·  Dharana for demanding CBI enquiry of slain lady teacher Itishree Pradhan on 1st Nov 2014
·       Demanding compensation for ponzi scam affected person
·       Led protest against massive farmers suicide in the State in 2016.
·    Protest at Gov house for fulfils of vacancies in various human rights institutions of the state
·  Led the movement of Mahanadi Bachhao Andolan against the illegal construction of barrage by Chattisgarh govt.

Tangible Achievment
§Statewide campaign MAA(Mahila Adhikar Abhiyan) in which 3000 women diectely and 30000 women indirectely  were empowered.
§More than 5000 human rights violation cases intervened in different human rights institutions.
§  Amount Rs 55 lakhs compensation awarded by NHRC & SHRC to victim/family after his intervention.
§  Hundreds of cases of attack on Human Rights Defenders intervened in UNOHRD & NHRC
§  Trained more than 700 Human Rights Defenders in Odisha.
§  Facilitated 130 acre Bhoodan land distribution to the poor landless
§  150 Disaster Mitigation Team (DMT) have been formed in coastal districts of Odisha.
§  Trained  more than 500nos of Young Peace Worker (Tarun Shanti Sena)
§  Facilited for drafting of Climate Change Action Plan & Time Bound Delivery of Public Services and submitted to Govt.of Odisha

Specific Achievement on  his intervention
§  First CBI enquiry ordered on custodial death case of Odisha by Odisha High Court ( victim, Kuldeep Mohapatra)
§  NHRC order to Secretary Railway for action taken of elderly and disable friendly railway stations
§  Rs 5 lakhs interim compensation awarded by NHRC to next kin of Lady teacher Itishree Pradhan murder case
§  Rs 5 lakh compensation awarded by NHRC to five minor girl molestrated by Dy Director of Mass Education
§  Rs 2.5 lakh compensation by NHRC to the family of botched tubectcomy victim of Ganjam district
§  Rs 5.5 lakh compensation awarded by OHRC to the ST victims of Nuapada fake encounter case
§  Rs 3 lakhs compensation awarded by OHRC to the kin of Chamakhandi,Ganjam custodial death case
§  Village Panchayat accepted to adivasi lady Mani Hanhaga whom was boycotted due to ploughing paddy field

§  Dalit Angawadi worker of Jajpur compensated and got justice whom was attacked and debarred from cooking of  midday meal for higher caste school children
·       Awarded for Best social worker for Youth cause on the occasion of AAHWAN-2006 by AKASH
·       Productivity Enhancement Award by National Productivity Council (NPC)
·       Awarded for best Social Activist on women cause” by WORLD VISION INDIA
·       Awarded as “Young Sarvodya Worker” 2007 by Orissa Sarvodaya Parishad at Bolangiri
·       Honored as “Nyaya Jyoti” award by CLAP (Committee for Legal Aid to Poor)
·       Human Rights Activist of the Year by Times of India, Odisha Chapter
·       “National Human Rights Award 2014” at Raipur, Chhatisgarh by NHRRDA, Nagpur
·       “ National Harmony Award 2015” by Indian Solidarity Council,New Delhi
·       “ Lok Nayak Samman 2015” by LJPN International Study Centre,New Delhi
·       Monthly Magazine Jyotishree Samman for promotion of Peace and Human Rights.
·       Kalinga Samman by Kalinga Sena on its 16th Foundation day in Bhubaneswar
·       Gopabandhu Samman by The Samaj, an Odia Premier Daily at Bhubaneswar
·       Maja Koene International Award  2016 by CESCI Foundation India and Switzerland
·       Human Rights Activist of the Year 2016 by Wockhardt Foundation, Mumbai
·       Swami Vivekananda Award 2016 by Sister Margaret Foundation,Kolkata
·       Human Rights Activist Award 2017 by United Working Journalists of Odisha.
·       Odisha Youth Award 2018 by Ever Green Forum.
·       Women Rights Defender Award 2018 by State Progressive Women Forum.
Present Position Hold
·    Core Group Member, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) New Delhi
·       National Chairman, Gandhi Global Foundation (GGF), New Delhi
·       Founder Member Secretary, Odisha Nagarika Samaj (ONAS)

27 Oct 2011

VDS : a model of rural development

On last 23-24th October, I was in Hyderabad in a meeting of NCRI. I gladly accepted the guest of Rajender Reddyji who is a eminent Gandhian fellow also holds state chief of Gandhi Global Family, member of AP Bhoodan Board and Chairman, Gandhian Group Education etc. Unfortunately he was absent in the city due to his pre occupied peace tour programme in north-east states but his associates takes very much care for me starting from receiving from train to droping in the station.

Diary Factory
Water Harvesting Model
On 23rd about 3pm we visted the Vinoba Development Society[VDS] in Ibrahimpatnam of Rangareddy district about 25 km from Hyderabad, I found excited seeing the place sorrounded by hills with real nature blassed. By putting hardwork the team of VDS makes the place a model for rural development. Only four years have to be completed but you can find school with boarding of orphange children,greenary paddy field, big water reservoir, dairy firm and a big Goshala of cow,bull and other bovine which are recovered on the way to slaughter near about 700 such animals are cared more than domestic. Any poor villager who is not capable of purchasing a cow or bull can adopt and make use for his domestic purpose by submitting authentic proof about his or her need. when the donee feels can not manage for longer, he or she must return to the center but no way to be slaugtered.

The Secretary Mr Amba Dass said the center is in nascent stage more efforts needed to develop it a full model, taking a cup of tea, we returned from there. I can not forget the warm company of Naresh and Sriramalu and Padma Reddyji during my stay.

19 Aug 2011

Odisha Reacts over Ana Hazare Arrest

Various civil society organizations and leaders of Odisha have shown their support and solidarity to the movement of Ana Hazare for a strong Jan Lokpal Bill.

The second phase program started from 4th August 2011, Hundreds of Youths were led a foot march from Cuttack to Bhubaneswar about 30 km, shouting slogans in support of the historic movement, at the end in Mahatma Gandhi Marg[Lower PMG] the draft lokpal bill of the Govt. had burnt.

On 9th August, on the occasion of Kranti Divas, Student, Youth and members of Odisha civil society bodies united near Ram Mandir square, Bhubaneswar and moved around the capital city with placards, banners and leaflet, they were trying to sensitize every passerby about the necessity of a Jan Lokpal from emancipation of devil corruption.

On the day of Independence Day, a candle march was organized in Master canteen square Bhubaneswar, as per the earlier appeal by Annaji to switch off the electricity light in every home of the country from 8 to 9pm. It has been reported a tremendous response in the State.

The much awaited D-day of the country seen on 16th August 2011, when Anaji and his team decided to fast indefinite and all knew what happened to him. In every corner of the Odisha, people from all sections were united and protest the unlawful action of the UPA govt. In the capital city of Bhubaneswar, indefinite dharana is continuing from 16th , everyday hundreds of student and youths joining the dharana place through a big rally from various corner of the city, same fasting continues by two persons here, 18 persons were taken into custody by police hence persons from different walks of life expressed their solidarity by joining the protest meeting, candle march also being organized in everyday evening. Supporting the cause the lawyers associations of High Court and other lower courts of the State voluntarily quit their work and came to the road. Even school children chanted slogans in support of Ana’s call. The spontaneous support has seen in the State, to take greater advantage from the situation, the most corrupt BJD party and old partner BJP of the State also staged protest in support of the bill. Even those who are the strong critique of Gandhi and his way of Satyagraha also now laid faith on this old weapon. Let us see when the 74 years Gandhian fellow wins the race.