Born on 5 November,1952, at Dehradun,Uttarakhand, Vandana Shiva has a doctorate in physics from Western Ontario University. She is the founder of Navdhanya, meaning nine seeds. In 2004 she also founded Beej Vidyapeetha, a seeds ‘varsity in collaboration with Schumacher College, UK.
She has written 20 books dealing with ecology, agriculture & allied subjects. Her “Making Peace On Earth“ book discusses biodiversity and relationship between communities & nature. Shiva is an advocate of farmer’s choice of seeds. She says that 75% of rural debt is due to purchased inputs causing suicides among the farmers.
Vandana is a philosopher, environmentalist, author, professional speaker and social activist. In 1993, for her monumental work she was awarded the Right To Livelihood Award, known as alternative Nobel Prize. Later she received the Sydney Peace Prize in 2010, Fukoka Asian Culture Prize in 2012 & Midori Prize in 2016.
She is rightly called ‘Gandhi of Grain’, Dr. Shiva is an institution-builder. Through Navdanya & RFSTE she has built a chain of volunteers who help her realising the dreams of crores of farmers for a better life closer to Mother Earth.
As a scholar & author she has put forward the aspirations of third world nations e.g. her book ”Staying Alive”, published in1988 portrayed the miserable conditions in which the common people including the farmers lived.
As a philosopher she feels that the Village is a symbol for indegenous in all the nations. She has presented her views on ecological problems through her public addresses to schools, colleges and universities. As per late Devdatt Tungar, a sociologist, educationist & a journalist, Dr Shiva is a modern Rishi who has opened our windows so that all the noble thoughts enter our minds to make a world of our dreams.
Her life is filmed in the ‘Seeds of Life’,directed by Usha Albequerke in 2003. This film has won a national award. Vandana is a member of the International Forum on Globalization (with Jerry Mander, Ralph Nader & Jeremy R.) and a figure of the anti-globalisation movement. She has argued in favour of many traditional practices as in her interview in the book viz. Vedic Ecology by Ranchor Prime.
She is a Member of the Scientific Committee of the Foundation-IDEAS,Spain’s socialist Party’s think tank for a participative society. Her Research Foundation for Science,Technology & Ecology, started in1982, has helped grassroot organisations of the Green Movements in Africa, Asia, LatinAmerica, Ireland & Austria with opposition to advances in agriculture via genetic engineering.
Shiva has worked to promote Biodiversity in agriculture to increase productivity, farmer’s incomes & it is for this she was recognised as an ‘ Environment Hero’ by Time Magazine in 2003. Her work in agriculture studies began in 1984 after the violence in Panjab and the Bhopal disaster caused by a gas leak from the Union Carbides’ chemical manufacturing plant.
Her studies for UN ‘varsity led to the publication of her book viz. ”The Violence of the Green Revolution”. In an interview with David Barsamian, Shiva argues that the seed-chemical package promoted by the green revolution has depleted fertile soil, destroyed living eco- systems and is responsible for the vulnerable conditions of the farmers across the world.
In her work Shiva cites data allegedly demonstrating that today there are more than 1400 pesticides that may enter the food system across the world. She is a founding member of the World Future Council (WFC) which speaks for the generations yet to be born.