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Mr Rajagopal P.V.


Born in 1948, in Kerala, south India, Rajagopal Puthan Veetil now chooses to use only his first name in public in order to avoid any caste-related stereotyping that might be associated with his full name. He studied classical Indian dance and music, prior to completing his education at Gandhi's Ashram in Maharashtra, with a degree in agricultural engineering. In the early 1970s, he worked in the violence-ridden area of Chambal in Madhya Pradesh to help rehabilitate dacoits, former members of armed groups.

 In the 2000s, Rajagopal began using the Gandhian technique of foot-march to galvanize greater support among the poor. With a track record of ten state-level foot-marches, he led a national march to Delhi in October 2007 with 25,000 people that compelled the Government to take action in land reforms and forest rights. In 2012 a march to New Delhi totalled 100,000 people. Thanks to those actions, some 1.5 million peasants were granted a right to land.

In 2014, he received the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration, an award granted annually by the Indian National Congress Party.