Swami Agnivesh

Swami Agnivesh
  • 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 (BMM), to wage a battle against the pernicious bonded labour system in India. It has achieved the release of over 176,000 bonded Indians from slavery. BMM has been campaigning for a national minimum wage. 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.