Community Correspondents

Pawan Solanki


Pawan Solanki is a second-generation member of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the “Save the Narmada Movement”. 

Pawan Solanki grew up with the threat of displacement hanging over his head. His family lives along the banks of the Narmada River, the site of one of the world’s largest and most controversial dam projects. He knows the reality of a displaced community and fights the battle for justice and rehabilitation on behalf of his community.

Being a second-generation member of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, or “Save the Narmada Movement,” his entire life – right from his naming to his college education – has revolved around the movement to demand and the people caught up in it. His first experience with the Narmada Bachao Andolan was when got enrolled in a Jeevanshala, schools run by the movement. “I crossed a river to join this school when I was a child. All my school mates were displaced, just like me, by the Sardar Sarovar Project,” recalls Pawan. From thereon, his life and his mission have continued to revolve and evolve with the movement.

Pawan has witnessed hundreds of thousands of people, just like him and his community, whose land or houses are threatened by the Sardar Sarovar Project the $7.7 billion centrepieces of a project, over the river Narmada, to tap India’s fifth-largest river. Moreover, according to Pawan, rehabilitation in his state Madhya Pradesh has been particularly worse as compared other project-affected states, Maharashtra and Gujarat. “As compared to the thousands rehabilitated by Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh has rehabilitated hardly 50 families,” reveals Pawan.

Belonging to the indigenous, tribal community of the area, he feels the mainstream media is incapable of telling the story from the point of view of grassroots communities. “For the mainstream, a displacement story is based on numbers - how many displaced, rehabilitated, etc.,” he criticises.

Pawan stories at Video Volunteers highlight the daily struggle for basic amenities, the lack of rehabilitation due to the Sardar Sarovar Project and the lack of governmental aid for communities living in his corner of Madhya Pradesh, in a region bordering Rajasthan, which is ground zero for the movement. He also works closely with Medha Patkar, the founder member of the Narmada movement, helping with regional dissemination and awareness camps across Madhya Pradesh

Videos from Pawan

We are old not blind!!

/ December 17, 2015

The elders of Bhadal village in Madhya Pradesh are starving and are forced to do manual labor because they have not received their pension for last 2 years. They don’t have money to buy food or medicines for themselves. According to Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme implemented by the...