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Harsh Mander

Harsh Mander

Harsh Mander, an Indian author, columnist, researcher, teacher, and social activist, is known for initiating the Karwan-e-Mohabbat campaign, supporting communal or religious violence victims. He is the Director of the Centre for Equity Studies, a research organization in New Delhi. He previously worked in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) for nearly two decades, primarily in tribal states like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. After the Gujarat Riots in 2002, he left the IAS and devoted himself to social activism.


Throughout his career, Mander has been involved in various human rights and social welfare initiatives. He was a founding member of the National Campaign for the People's Right to Information and served as a Member of the Core Groups on Bonded Labour and Mental Hospitals in the National Human Rights Commission of India. He also worked as the Country Director for ActionAid India and played a significant role in establishing the Mitanin Community Health Programme in Chhattisgarh, which laid the foundation for the Asha Programme.

Mander's contributions extended to the policy level as well. Sonia Gandhi appointed him as a Member of India's National Advisory Council in 2010. During his tenure, he convened and co-convened several working groups on critical issues like Food Security, Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation, Child Labour Abolition, Urban Poverty, Disability Rights, and more.

Besides his activism and policy work, Mander is also teaching. He teaches courses on poverty and governance at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He has also taught at various institutions in India and abroad, including Jamia Millia Islamia, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, and universities in the USA and U.K.

Recently, there have been controversies surrounding Harsh Mander's organization, Aman Biradari, with the Ministry of Home Affairs recommending a CBI inquiry to probe alleged FCRA violations. Overall, Harsh Mander's work has significantly impacted various social and human rights issues in India, and he continues to be actively involved in promoting justice and equality.

Harsh Mander

Harsh Mander's Literary Contributions

Harsh Mander is a prolific writer and co-author of various books. He also regularly contributes columns to newspapers like The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Dainik Bhaskar, and scholarly journals. Some of his works have been adapted into films and dance dramas, showcasing their impact on art and society.

Selected Publications

  • Between Memory and Forgetting: Massacre and the Modi Years in Gujarat" (Yoda Press, 2019)
  • Partitions of the Heart: Unmaking the Idea of India" (Penguin Viking, 2019)
  • The Right to Food Debates: Social Protection for Food Security in India" (Orient Blackswan, 2018) - co-authored with Ashwin Parulkar and Ankita Aggarwal
  • Reconciliation: Karwan e Mohabbat's Journey of Solidarity through a Wounded India" (Context, 2018) - co-authored with Natasha Badhwar
  • Fatal Accidents of Birth: Stories of Suffering, Oppression, and Resistance" (Speaking Tiger Books, 2016)
  • Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice, and Indifference in New India" (Speaking Tiger Books, 2015)
  • Ash in the Belly: India's Unfinished Battle Against Hunger" (Penguin India, 2012)
  • Fear and Forgiveness (Penguin India, 2009)


Harsh Mander has received several prestigious awards for his peace work and human rights advocacy, including the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award, M.A. Thomas National Human Rights Award (2002), South Asian Minority Lawyers Harmony Award (2012), and Chisthi Harmony Award (2012).

Harsh Mander


In conclusion, Harsh Mander is a multifaceted individual whose career encompasses diverse roles as an author, columnist, researcher, teacher, and social activist. His dedication to working with survivors of mass violence and hunger and advocating for the rights of homeless individuals and street children showcases his commitment to social justice and equity. Through his work at the Centre for Equity Studies and his past roles as Special Commissioner and member of the National Advisory Council, he has significantly contributed to promoting the right to food and addressing various social issues in India. His efforts have earned him recognition, including prestigious awards for his peace work and commitment to human rights. Harsh Mander continues to be influential in advocating for a more equitable and compassionate society.

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