Kinkri Devi: Lone Warrior Against Illegal Mining In Himachal
In the new age era, as humans are evolving, so are their concerns about the environment. Our food, water, and air are polluted, and it is a matter of everybody’s concern.
What kind of world are we going to hand over to our forthcoming generation? It all depends on the decisions we make today that impact the future.
While doing my research on the topic and thinking that one person’s effort can bring change in this world, I stumbled across the inspiring story of the courageous woman from India, Kinkri Devi. With her heroic deeds, she raised a war against the illegal mining and quarrying happening in Himachal Pradesh.
Born into a Dalit family back in the days when they were considered untouchables in the village of Ghaton in the Sirmaur district in the year 1925. Getting married at the young age of 14 to the bonded labourer Shamu Ram, who died due to typhoid fever. fever. She became a widow in her early twenties.
When she was doing the job as a sweeper, it came to her sight that massive quarrying was taking place in some parts of Himachal state, which was harming the supply of water and playing a role in the destruction of paddy fields, and she took matters into her own hands.
She was supported by a local volunteer group called "People’s Action for People in Need."With the help of the group, she filed a public interest lawsuit in the high court of Shimla against 48 mine owners doing reckless mining of limestone. Though the allegations against the group of miners were denied by them, they accused Kinkri Devi of blackmailing them. When her suit got no response from the court, with her fierce nature and resolution to stand against the group, she went on a 19-day hunger strike outside the court.
In 1987, a stay was passed by the court stating the ban on blasting the hills. The group of miners appealed together to the supreme court of India, but their plea was rejected. Devi had become a nationwide celebrity.
Being illiterate, she never knew how to write or read, but she learned how to sign her name a few years prior to her death. Due to her poverty, she came into the limelight, which was eventually erased by the US-based charity organization in Himachal state after the mention of her living conditions in a Punjabi newspaper.
First lady Hillary Clinton took an interest in her and, that same year, Kinkri was invited to the international women’s conference held in Beijing.
Despite the Supreme Court's order, illegal mining continued in the hills and forest preserves, though on a decreasing scale. Besides her being an activist, one of Devi's other aspires was campaigning for the creation of a degree-granting college in Sangarh She claimed that while it wasn't right for her to study, she didn't want "others to suffer the way I did for want of education.".
Her followers still believe in her slogan, "Jal, jungle, pahar ko bachao" (Save water, forests, and hills). She was awarded the prestigious Stree Shakti award in the year 1999. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India's then-Prime Minister, presented the award. She died a peaceful death at the age of 82 on December 30th, 2007 in Chandigarh.
This is a story worth sharing with the masses. Her being poor and uneducated doesn’t affect her dedication and enthusiasm for bringing changes to society. She has the power to inspire millions, and if one person's efforts can bring such a huge change, imagine what the whole of mankind can do.
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Articulated By:- Palak Vijay