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Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity

Madhuresh is an Indian climate justice activist-researcher based in Paris and a Resistance Studies Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His work currently focuses on building the next generation of leadership within the climate justice movements for rapid fossil-fuels phaseout and developing just, decentralised alternatives and movement networks to tackle the climate crisis. He is also an active member of the facilitation team for the Global Tapestry of Alternatives, which seeks to build bridges between networks of Alternatives around the globe and promote the creation of new processes of confluence.

Previously, he served as the National Convener of the National Alliance of People’s Movements(NAPM India). Between 2009 and 2018, he was responsible for NAPM’s political strategy development; alliance building and networking; campaigns and policy advocacy around communities’ control over land, water, forest and minerals; issues of displacement due to infrastructure mega-projects; resource mobilisation; and national organisational co-ordination. He has also researched movement dynamics, alternatives to development, anti-globalisation struggles and the World Social Forum process. He participated in several WSF events and was an active member of the WSF India Organising Committee.

Madhuresh’s activism has been shaped by his formative years at Delhi University in the late 1990s, which included involvement with the Narmada Bachao Andolan social movement, the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, and the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, amongst others. His travel in August 1999 to Narmada Valley, the site of a controversial giant hydroelectric project, had a profound impact on him and shaped his views on development and social transformation, and it has remained an inspiration for his activism and research. 

Over the years, Madhuresh has contributed to newspapers, journals, books and websites, and has appeared as a political commentator on national television. His earliest editorial collaborations with Jai Sen included two books series in English and Hindi titled Are Other Worlds Possible?Challenging Empires, and The Movements of Movements. He also co-edited Speak Up!: Sozialer Aufbruch und Widerstand in Indien with Elina Fleig and Juergen Weber, published by Assoziation A, Berlin. 

His latest publications include Cultural Resistance in Times of Rising Authoritarianism in India: A Dossier(English and French), and The Great Takeover: Mapping of Multistakeholderism in Global Governance with Mary Ann Manahan (English and Spanish). Currently, he is working on three co-edited books in a series entitled Plural Narratives from Narmada Valley.

In times of despair, often the most marginalised and deprived in our movements have offered the fiercest resistance and the strongest will to fight oppression. Thus, whenever I have been in doubt, I have reached out to them, felt energised, and regained my sense of purpose. ’Tu zinda hai to zindagi kee jeet mein yakin kar…’ (If you are alive, then believe in the victory of life...) is a song we have often sung at the frontlines and barricades. It gives us hope that our collective struggles will build a peaceful, democratic and just world for all.

Madhuresh Kumar


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