Photo from 2018 Praful Bidwai Memorial Award Ceremony

On the 28th August evening, even as arrests of human rights defenders were happening all over the country, the Praful Bidwai Memorial award ceremony took place. The award went to Ulka Mahajan of the Sarvahara Jan Andolan of Raigad who spoke movingly about her three decades of activism that spanned a broad spectrum from tribal rights to forest lands to empowering local communities to resist corporate attempts to take over of common property resources. Medha Patkar, who was chief guest, spoke movingly about the present political repression and the dire environment scenario in the country with the Kerala flooding on the one hand and the continued building of dams in states across the country on the other. Praful Bidwai would have written trenchantly on all these issues but commentators like him are today few and far between. Manoranjan Mohanty anchored the evening's programme.