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Bunker Roy

Bunker Roy Indian activist

Indian activist
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Indian activist
Is Manager
From India
Type Business
Gender male
Birth 2 August 1945, Burnpur
Age: 74 years
Spouse: Aruna Roy
Bunker Roy
The details

Sanjit "Bunker" Roy (born 2 August 1945) is an Indian social activist and educator who founded the Barefoot College. He was selected as one of Time 100's 100 most influential personalities in 2010 for his work in educating illiterate and semi literate rural Indians.

Early life

He attended The Doon School from 1956 to 1962, and St. Stephen's College, Delhi from 1962 to 1967.

Roy was the National Runner-up in squash in 1964, and participated in three world squash championships representing India.

In 1970, he married Aruna Roy.

Barefoot College

Bunker is a founder of what is now called Barefoot College. After conducting a survey of water supplies in 100 drought prone areas, Roy established the Social Work and Research Centre in 1972. Its mission soon changed from a focus on water and irrigation to empowerment and sustainability. The programs focused on siting water pumps near villages and training the local population to maintain them without dependence on outside mechanics, providing training as paramedics for local medical treatment, and on solar power to decrease dependence and time spent on kerosene lighting.

He was recognised in 2010 in Time for the programs of the college which have trained more than 3 million people in skills including solar engineers, teachers, midwives, weavers, architects and doctors.

Other work

Roy was appointed by Rajiv Gandhi to the government's Planning Commission. He recommended that legislation be created that would apply a "code of conduct" for non-governmental organisations. He also proposed that a national council be created that would recommend "legitimate" organisations to the government and monitor their activities. Both of these recommendations were "fiercely" opposed as mechanisms that could be used to promote patronage of favoured groups and quell organisations that were not supportive of a particular government or party.

In 1983, he was the plaintiff in Roy v State of Rajasthan in which the Supreme Court struck down an emergency policy which had allowed women famine relief workers to be paid less than male workers.

Roy has spoken at the TED conference, in which he talks about how the Barefoot College "helps rural communities becomes self-sufficient."


Roy has received:

  • The Jamnalal Bajaj Award – 1985 – "Outstanding Contribution in Application of Science and Technology for Rural Development"
  • The St Andrews Prize for the Environment – 2003
  • Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship – 2003 – one of 20 people recognised for Social Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2003.
  • The Robert Hill Award from the global Solar Community – 2009 – for his work in the promotion of photo-voltaics
  • The Distinguished Educationist honor by Rocheston Accreditation Institute, New York - Jan 2017

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