New Delhi: Krishnammal Jagannathan, a prominent voice protesting against social injustice in Tamil Nadu will recieve Padma Bhushan, Government accounced.
Jagannathan has worked tirelessly towards uplifting the condition of the landless and poor people in the southernmost state of the country. She is also the founder of the Land for Tillers’ Freedom (LAFTI) movement. Krishnammal Jagannathan was a woman and activist who transformed South India using the power of the Gandhian principles.
Redistributing land to the landless
Krishnammal and her husband Sankaralingam, who participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience and Quit India Movement, worked for land redistribution through Vinoba Bhave’s Gramdan movement using Satyagraha. The couple distributed nearly 4 million acres of land to the landless poor people through the Bhoodan movement.
After the massacre in 1968, in which 42 Dalit children and women were burnt following a wage dispute, the couple set up a base in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district to focus on reforming the land issues.
Krishnammal and her husband founded Land for the Tillers’ Freedom (LAFTI) in 1981 to bring the landlords and the landless people on the negotiating table and to help landless people buy land at a reasonable price. The movement was a success and she transferred nearly 13,000 acres of land to about 13,000 families.
Through LAFTI, she conducted workshops during the non-agricultural season to help people earn through tailoring, mat weaving, carpentry, and masonry. To bridge the digital divide, she conducted computer training classes, particularly for Dalit girls. LAFTI also helped people build homes after the 2004 Tsunami disaster. Through LAFTI, Krishnammal also worked towards saving the coastal ecosystem.