Archives of Contemporary India

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Suman Sahai-Gene Campaign

Suman Sahai-Gene Campaign

"When we started the Gene Campaign, I realised that we were in for long haul. We had to prepare well and do the groundwork … A demonstration will get you a picture in the newspapers, which might be glamorous but it has no substance. The substance comes when you do the donkey work and get down to providing options to the government. That is what we did while fighting against the seed patent and rights of farmers … which culminated in legislation. Today we work on a number of issues such as the recognition of indigenous knowledge, protection of our biodiversity, demanding transparency and public participation in decisions on genetically modified crops …."

Gene Campaign is a leading research and advocacy organisation working with farmer groups and rural Adivasi communities, research and scientific community, students and youth, cultural activists, environment groups, consumer groups, and women’s groups to influence and change policy and laws on the ownership and use of bio-resources. Set up in 1993 by Dr. Suman Sahai, recipient of the Padma Shri and Borlaug Award along with a group of scientists, environmentalists and economists who were alarmed by the impact of international development on the genetic resources of the developing world and livelihood security of rural and tribal communities that depend on them. To honour Gene Campaign’s efforts towards conservation of agro-biodiversity, it has been awarded the Genome Saviour Award in 2009. Working towards protection of indigenous knowledge and ensuring protection of indigenous medicines and practices, Gene Campaign intervened successfully in the Patent Amendment Act, 2005.

About the Collection: The collection of Gene Campaign comprises papers relating to the activities of the organisation in the field of bio-resources, farmers, community rights and related notes and correspondence. There are papers regarding intellectual property rights and indigenous knowledge, and contain reports, pamphlets, articles and other papers on the regulations of GMOs, and impact of climate change on agriculture and food. The papers are invaluable for the study of the science of climate change, agro-biodiversity and the issue of food security in the developing world.

Donor: Suman Sahai
Acquisition: 2020