Guiding Lights

Aruna RoyAruna Roy

Aruna Roy (born 26 June 1946) is an Indian political and social activist who founded the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) (“Workers and Peasants Strength Union”) along with Shankar Singh, Nikhil Dey and many others. Roy was born in Chennai.[1][2] She grew up in Delhi where her father was a government employee. She studied English literature at Indraprastha College, Delhi University.She served as a civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service between 1968 and 1974. In 1970 she married Bunker Roy


Julio RiberioJulio Riberio

Julio Francis Ribeiro (born 5 May 1929, in Mubai is a retired Indian police officer and civil servant. He held increasingly responsible positions during his career, and led the Punjab Police during part of the Punjab insurgency periods. In 1987, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award for his services. Since retirement, he has served on corporate boards of directors and performed social work.

Julio Ribeiro being welcomed by the US Consul General, Peter Haas at the 2011 US National Day Celebrations in Mumbai
Ribeiro joined the Indian Police Service in 1953 and rose to be the Commissioner of Mumbai Police from 1982 to 1985. He was promoted to Director General of Central Resurve Police Force, then to Director General Police of Gujrat.
Ribeiro served as Director General of Punjab Police during its worst years of terrorism in Punjab.
He held positions such as Special Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Adviser to the Governor of Punjab.
Ribeiro also served as Indian Ambassador to Romania from 1989 until 1993. In August 1991, Ribeiro was attacked and wounded in a Bucharest assassination attempt by gunmen identified as Punjabi Sikhs.
In an April 2006 interview with The Tribune Julio Ribeiro explained that “It has been a role reversal for me… from fighting militants to fighting the corrupt administration.” He went on to explain that while he had been offered positions in government, “Fighting with guns was no longer my cup of tea; and I wanted to work for the people of my city, Mumbai. I wanted to be useful to lower socio-economic classes, and thus decided to work at the grass roots level”. The then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had asked him to be Governor of Jammu & Kashmir but he declined because of his involvement in social work in his native city of Mumbai. He heads the Mohalla Ekta Committee, which seeks to bring about communal harmony between the diverse communities in the city of Mumbai and is a founder trustee of Public Concern for Governance Trust. (PCGT


NikhilNikhil Dey

Nikhil Dey was born in Bangalore in 1963. He was educated in India and the USA (12th std from Thomas Jefferson High School, Fairfax County Virginia USA), Bachelors Degree from Osmania University, and got his degree in law from the University of Delhi. After working briefly with the Kheduth Mazdoor Chetna Sangathana in Madhya Pradesh, he joined Aruna Roy and Shankar Singh in 1987 to go to Devdungri, in Rajsamand District in Rajasthan where along with many others they helped found the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)*.
Since 1990, he has been a full time worker of the MKSS, and has been involved in struggles of the poor for justice, including grass root struggles for land and the payment of minimum wages. He has also been a part of peoples organisations taking responsibility for putting together “peoples drafts” of the Right to Information and Employment Guarantee Bills. Nikhil has also played a prominent part in the ongoing effort by peoples movements to build institutions of participatory democracy, where for instance, peoples platforms for public audits are now being institutionalised by introducing statutory requirements of social audits and public hearings. He received the K L Bordia Award for social service in 2013. He has been a member of the Central Employment Guarantee Council (CEGC) and of the State Employment Guarantee Council of Rajasthan, as well as several official committees related to the formulation of policy for rural development. He is also a Co-convener of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI).


ShaileshShailesh Gandhi

Shailesh Gandhi is a first generation entrepreneur and a Distinguished Alumnus awardee of IIT Bombay. He sold his company to become a RTI activist. Shailesh was part of the National RTI movement which was involved in drafting the National Act. He was convener of the National Campaign for People’s Right To Information. He used RTI and also trained many citizens and government officials in over 1000 workshops to use it. The only RTI activist to have been chosen as a Central Information Commissioner, he disposed a record of over 20000 cases in 3 years and 9 months, and ensured that most cases were decided in less than 90 days. He gave many landmark decisions on RTI, apart from organizing the first digital paper-less office in the Commission. He is now at his home in Mumbai to further and deepen RTI to empower citizens to take effective participatory charge of their democracy. He is passionately pursuing the cause of evolving ways for a time bound justice delivery system, and improving governance systems. Amongst many awards he has been awarded the Nani Palkhiwala Civil Liberties award, and the MR Pai award. He has written a book : RTI Act- authentic interpretation of the Statute.


narayanLate Narayan Varma

Late Narayan Varma was a practicing Chartered Accountant since 1956 and a graduate of Bombay University.
Some important posts that he held

  • President of Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society for 1978-79.
  • President of The Chamber of Income-tax Consultants for two years – 1989-90 and 1990-91.
  • Member of Managing Committee of Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society (BCAS) and member of the Editorial Board and the publisher of Bombay Chartered Accountant Journal for many years
  • Secretary of Western India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  • Member of the Editorial Board for “The Chartered Accountant” – monthly journal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  • Member of the Direct Taxation Committee of Indian Merchant’s Chamber. He was co-chairperson of Anti – Corruption cell of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber for many years
  • Member of the Committee on Ethical Standards & Unjustified Removal of Auditors of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  • Joint author of many books published by Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society including – “Tax Audit Manual”
  • National President of Indian Jaycees (Junior Chamber) in 1970
  • Founder Chairman of The Jaycees Institute of Individual Development from 1980 to 1984. He attended the Jaycees International World Congress in Dublin, Ireland in 1970 and Honolulu in 1971.
  • Vice President of Jaycees International
  • President of Western India Automobile Association, organisation of motorists (WIAA) for the year 1987-88.
  • Local representative of the Experiment in International Living and member of its National Council. He led the group of 150 youth from India to USA in 1966, and in 1962 represented Experiment India at International Congress in Italy.
  • Deputy World Chairman and Member of the Central Council of Giants International.
  • Vice President of National Co-ordination Council of Dharma Bharathi Mission (Division of Navasrushti International Trust)

He was an RTI activist, trainer, guide, mentor to many and

  • Wrote articles on RTI every month since last few years in BCA Journal Gave talks on RTI in all parts of India
  • Authored booklets on RTI
  • Conducted regular RTI clinics in different parts of Mumbai.
  • Authored and compiled a book: “Right to Information – A Route to good Governance” jointly published by BCAS Foundation and Public Concern for Governance Trust.

Late Narayan Varma was the trustees of many trusts including:

  • BCAS Foundation
  • iants International Charitable Trust
  • M.R. Pai Foundation
  • Public Concern for Governance Trust