Founder and President
World Council of Arya Samaj
Socio-spiritual activist. Early 1970s, formed a new political party in India which renounced both communism and capitalism in favour of Vaidik social spirituality. Jailed for over a year during Indira Gandhi's administration. Later, entered politics before devoting himself to social justice movements in India. Has championed nearly all human rights issues. Best known for work to stop bonded labour and child labour. 1981, founded the Bonded Labour Liberation Front, which has helped free more than 176,000 Indian workers. Has worked with the UN to end slavery. Nine years as Chairperson, UN Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery. Instrumental in trying to initiate a peace process between the government of India and the Naxalites/Maoists. Recipient of awards: Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award (2004); Right Livelihood Award (2004) for dedication to promoting values of cooperation, tolerance and understanding.