Shree Devaji Tofa

Vasundhara Sanman

Mr. Dewaji Topha has dedicated himself to the development of Tribals. He believes in decentralization of power. He states, “All the planning made by people sitting in Delhi or Mumbai caters mainly to the needs of the urban sectors and poor people living in remote hamlets of rural India hardly find it useful.” His favorite slogan is, “You (may) govern Mumbai and Delhi but we rule our own villages”. His methodology is simple and straightforward – the villagers should discuss and finalise their local needs in the Village Panchayat and the administration must only implement the same. Thanks to his efforts, the tiny hamlet Mendha Lekha (Gadchiroli district), one of the most backward areas of Maharashtra, is the first in India to secure forest rights. Mr. Dewaji also gave his speech in Gond language in a conference arranged in Durban, South Africa.