Born On: 26th August 1956
Title: Indian Politician, Founder “People for Animals, PFA”, successful environmentalist
Most of us forget and fail to acknowledge that a nation is not only about its people and infrastructure; it’s also about the other living beings that are a part of it and the condition in which they live. Many of us love animals, birds and environment but what do we actually do for them? Even though we want to, we get stuck in making our lives better and the rest takes a backseat.
This applies to most but not all the people.
We have all heard and seen the Gandhi family and it’s four generations taking care of the nation and its people for decades. One of the members of this family thought not only about the people but also animals and environment. That member is, Maneka Gandhi. She is the wife of Indian politician, Late Sanjay Gandhi and daughter in law of Indira Gandhi. Maneka lost her husband at the early age of 23 and when her son was only 100 days old. She is a woman with many talents; she has made a great politician, an impactful journalist, animal rights activist and an environmentalist. She was also labelled as “+Durga” by Khushwant Singh, due to her power, strength and intelligence. She joined politics in 1988 as the general Secretary of the Janata Dal. After that she held various positions as the minister of various social causes such as environment, forests, animals, child labour, social justice and empowerment, health and family etc.
Her major contribution to the country has been the organisation “People for Animals”. She started PFA in 1992 and has ever since then done great deal of work to protect the animals in the country. She is a benefactor for the International Animal Rescue.
She was a very significant part of the Animal Welfare Ministry and was the world’s first minister for animal welfare.
1992: Lord Erkskine Award from RSPCA
1994: Environmentalist and Vegetarian of the year
1996: Prani Mitra Award
1997: Marchig Animal Welfare trust Prize, Switzerland
1999: Venu Menon Animal Allies Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award
2001: International Women’s Association Woman of the Year Award, Chennai
2008: A.S.G. Jayakar award