Madhuresh Kumar

Resistance Studies Fellow

Madhuresh Kumar

Madhuresh Kumar, an activist-researcher is currently National Convener of National Alliance of People's Movements  (NAPM), India. He has been responsible for political strategy development; alliance building and networking; campaigns and policy advocacy around communities control over land, water, forest and minerals; issues of displacement, energy projects, industrial corridors; resource mobilisation; and national organisational co-ordination of the Alliance for the period 2009-18. He has been involved in researching movement dynamics, alternatives to development, anti- globalisation struggles, the World Social Forum process and participated in the several events of the WSF in India and abroad, and was an active member of WSF India Organising Committee. 

His activism has been shaped by formative years at Delhi University in late 90s, which included involvement with Narmada Bachao Andolan, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, Pakistan India People's Forum for Peace and Democracy, History Society Ramjas College and a memorable trip to Pakistan just after Kargil war, at an extremely tense moment in Indo-Pak relations, few days after the resolution of Indian Airlines Plane hostage crisis in 1999. His travel to Narmada Valley in August 1999, had a profound impact and shaped his views towards the idea of development, process of social transformation and been a constant inspiration for his activism and research. 

Between 2002-04, he worked as a research assistant to the project exploring the dynamics of strategic civil alliance in 90s, and rights of the marginalised people in the rights based legislations of the government of India at Calcutta Research Group. In 2005, he co-founded a research-advocacy NGO, India Institute for Critical Action Centre in Movement (CACIM) which now acts as a hub of several independent initiatives centred around movement dynamics, financial accountability, environment protection in Himalayas, building Adivasi and Dalit power, reimagining futures, cities and alternatives to development. Since 2009, he has been a full time activist with National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), serving as its National Organiser till 2012 and an elected National Convener after that. 

As part of the NAPM, he has contributed to the several legislative processes around the Land Law 2013, Forest Rights Act 2006, Right to Information Act 2005, Special Economic Zone 2005, industrial corridors policy, energy policy, environmental assessment, smart cities, dam safety, resettlement and rehabilitation etc. At the global level, he has been involved with the environmental and social framework review process, Inspection Panel, and CAO complaints mechanism of the World Bank Group, and other climate justice campaigns around coal based thermal power plants. He has a keen interest in building of second generation leadership in the resource and nature-based grassroots movements through trainings, political education, fellowships, youth initiatives and cross generation learning programmes. 

He is a member of several national and international movement and research processes including global working group on “beyond development” convened by the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, “systemic alternatives” convened by Attac (France), Fundación Solón (Bolivia) and Focus on the Global South (Asia), Calcutta Research Group (CRG), advocacy group Delhi Forum, Centre for Financial Accountability, Financial Accountability Network India,  Sambhaavnaa Institute of Public Policy and Politics and several other processes and networks. 

Over the years he has collaborated with Jai Sen on editing of eight books in published in English and Hindi, under two the series Are Other Worlds Possible ?, and Challenging Empires. He has also contributed several chapters and articles on issues around struggles for social justice and community rights over natural resources over the years. His last, co-edited book with Elina F and Juergen W Social Movements and Resistance in India was published in German by Assoziation A, Berlin. He has contributed to various newspapers, journals, websites and appeared regularly as a political commentator on national television from time to time. He has widely travelled across the world and been part of several international processes and collaborated with many national and international organisations on issues of human rights and development. 

Currently, he is working on publishing of a co-edited volume on plural narratives from narmada valley to be published by Adivani in English and Navarun Publications in Hindi. His writings can be found here and he can be reached on email at

Twenty thousand farmers commit suicide in India every year – Interview with Madhuresh Kumar on LeftEast 3/10/2021