Tamil Nadu

Tributes paid to renowned social worker

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Jaya Arunachalam’s efforts to empower poor women recalled

Rich tributes were paid to renowned social worker and founder of the Working Women’s Forum, Jaya Arunachalam, at an event at the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) on Monday.

Nandini Azad, Jaya Arunachalam’s daughter and chairperson of the International Cooperative Alliance–Asia Pacific Women’s Committee, recalled that her mother had keen interest in farming and raised crops. She was the honorary secretary of the Tamil Nadu State Union of Farmers Forum. She believed in the establishment of small model farms to train children in rural schools.

Jaya Arunachalam was the epitome of a mass grass roots social movement. In 1978, she and a few colleagues came out of politics to form a separate women’s organisation that was non-political and women intensive. She recalled her mother was influenced by her father Rama Arunachalam, who published the first Tamil encyclopedias.

“What I would like to say is that her lasting achievement is that she unionised people who were atomised — the poorest in the informal sector with a clout, with a visibility, and giving them the power that you cannot take back anymore; and they’re growing” said Dr. Azad in her concluding remarks. MSSRF founder and agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan recalled in the 1970s he had requested Jaya Arunachalam to extend her work in the northeast, which she accepted and did a great deal.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 10:18:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tributes-paid-to-renowned-social-worker-jaya-arunachalam/article28752694.ece

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