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Sandeep Pandey

Sandeep Pandey
Born (1965-07-22) 22 July 1965 (age 50)
Nationality Indian
Occupation Activist
Known for

Asha for Education and NAPM and

Awards Ramon Magsaysay award, 2002

Sandeep Pandey (born 22 July 1965) is an Indian social activist.[1] He co-founded Asha for Education with Dr. Deepak Gupta (presently Professor at IIT Kanpur) and V.J.P Srivastava while working on his PhD in Mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.[2] Currently he is working as a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi.

Early life

Pandey is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi. Thereafter he did his Master's in manufacturing and computer science from Syracuse University, followed by doctorate in control theory at the University of California, Berkeley, which he completed in 1992.[2]


After completing his education, he moved back to India and started teaching at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 1992 and later founded a registered organisation named Asha Trust which currently has several centres/chapters across India. His team has launched a people's group named Asha Parivar in 2008 that focuses on strengthening democracy at the grassroots in Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh.[2]

Pandey's work at Asha Parivar is focused on Right to Information and other forms of citizen participation in removing corruption and improving the efficiency of governance.[3] He leads National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), the largest network of grassroots people's movements in India.[4]

He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award (often termed as 'Asian Nobel prize') in 2002 for the emergent leadership category.[5] Pandey led an Indo-Pakistan peace march from New Delhi to Multan in 2005.

He has served as an adviser to the Indian government's Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE). His idea of education is based on empowerment by imbibing the spirit of co-operation instead of competition. Currently he is working as a visiting professor in the Chemical Engineering department and mechanical engineering department at Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi.


In 2002, he attended the opening session of a conference organised by the Communist Party of India, Marxist Leninist Liberation, (CPI-MLL). Several prominent social activists, environmentalists, and writers-turned-activists like Mahashweta Devi, Arundhati Roy, Sandeep Pandey, Rajinder Sachar, Praful Bidwai, and Anand Patwardhan attended only the opening session of the six-day congress. Sandeep Pandey and other social activists did not attend the closing session in which the kin of about 1000 Naxalites who were killed in police action in Bihar were reportedly honoured.[6]

Upon receiving the Ramon Magsaysay Award, he returned the cash portion of the award on being challenged to do so by a Philippines newspaper for his earlier remarks describing America as "the biggest terrorist state in the world." Pandey later clarified that he had never meant to criticise the people of the United States but its government.[7]

In 2010, he visited Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh for a Jan Sunvayi (people's hearing) on atrocities by the local government. His visit was seemingly opposed by some members of local tribal community, where some local tribals were shown to be protesting against him and his team.[8] It was said by Medha Patkar, that the protest was "stage managed" by the district administration officials themselves and the government was rousing the locals rural folk against the civil rights workers.[9] Patkar also added that their team is not in favour of government responding to the violence perpetrated by Maoists by further violence by the state. She referred to Salwa Judum as an example of excesses by the state.

Personal life

Pandey lives in Indira Nagar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. He is married to Arundhati Dhuru and they have a son, Chaitanya Pandey and a daughter, Anandi Pandey. He does not wear ironed clothes and does not take milk, according to him cows produce milk for their young ones. He has campaigned along with school students of Shiksha Niketan and its principal, Dr. Brahmanand Mishra, in his home district of Ballia, against soft drink manufacturers . He is always clad in white kurta pyajama and simple slippers.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c "Sandeep Pandey Biography" (PDF). Magsaysay Award website. 2002. 
  3. ^ 'The Wages of Protest' by Arundhati Dhuru and Sandeep Pandey
  4. ^ 'Environment Justice' by John Byrne, Leigh Glover, Cecilia Martinez
  5. ^ The 2002 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership CITATION for Sandeep Pandey
  6. ^ "CPI-ML faction to honour kin of 1000 Naxalites". 15 November 2002. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Asia's Nobels unfazed by controversy". 13 September 2002. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]

External links