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G. Sundarrajan

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There are millions of software engineers in India. However, few of them have been at the forefront of a grassroots movement that has found national support, and that has highlighted the common indifference of public administrators to the demands of local populations.

G.Sundarrajan’s opposition to the Koodankulam nuclear plant is the culmination of fifteen years of environmental activism in his native Tamil Nadu. Although he merely describes his involvement as “doing his bit for the earth”, one would be ill-advised to underestimate the tremendous support environmentalists have garnered in the recent years in some areas of rural India. From the moment he joined PoovulaginNanbargal, a group advocating environment protection in Tamil Nadu (it has been associated to Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund), Sundarrajan slowly became a full-time activist. Informing the public on eco-politics, organic farming and water issues, he is also part of the editorial team of the monthly Poovulagu magazine. His commitment to food politics is highlighted by his participation in the Safe Food Alliance campaign against Bt-Brinjal – a transgenic eggplant – and by his involvement in the organization of village food festivals to promote traditional agricultural practices.

Nevertheless, his main and current struggle remains the opposition to the Koodankulam nuclear power plant. Along with the movement, he fought legally against it in the Chennai High Court – and the case has now been taken to the Supreme Court. Not only have these protests created widespread awareness on the dangers associated to nuclear energy, they have more importantly shown to the whole country how the criminal-justice system dealt with this type of civil disobedience: innumerable “sedition” cases were filed against protestors, a feat that has covered with ridicule and shame the Indian judiciary apparatus.

Bringing his knowledge and energy to environmental activism, G.Sundarrajan is trying to engineer a more eco-friendly Tamil Nadu.


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