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Mr Chinnappan Selvanathan Roche Victor hails from a Dalit family in Odiyathur, Mugaiyur Block, Villupuram District, Tamil Nadu. He is 6th child in his family of 7 children. (He has 3 brothers and 3 sisters). He is a Roman Catholic and belongs to the first generation Graduates in Dalit community. His father Selvanathan was a Headmaster of a Catholic School in the 1940s, and his mother was an uneducated but was sharing the Dalit Discriminations in the society to the Chief Functionary when he was a child.

When he was in School, he has organized `Our Union’ with the students and involved in social work activities such as cleaning the school campus, the streets, the surroundings of drinking water points and doing hair-cutting for the school going children, etc.

In 1971, there was caste clash in his native place Odiyathur, Tamil Nadu since a Dalit Christian contested in the local panchayath election. 16 houses were burnt down. All India Catholic University Federation - AICUF reconstructed the houses, in which Mr Chinnappan Selvanathan Roche Victor also participated as a volunteer.

He also served as the Animator in an NGO, Animators for Community Development-ACD, Arakandanallur from 1978. In 1979, he went for a Training in REAL, Vedasandhur Taluk, Dindigul District where he worked along with Mr Henry Tiphagne and Mr Paulraj for a month. He also dealt with land rights issues during that time and redeemed the land from the Naidu community to the cobbler community in Alachambarai village.

Reason to start RISE:

From 1980, he worked as an animator in Integrated Rural Development Society-IRDS, Villupuram. In 1981, he married a Dalit Woman in Pondicherry. In the same year, there was a caste discrimination i.e. seating the Dalit Children separately and providing separate drinking water pots for the Dalit children in Ariyapalayam Anganwadi Centre, Villianur Commune, Pondicherry. Since nobody took up the issue, Mr Chinnappan Selvanathan Roche Victor visited the area, intervened in the problem. During this process, he learnt that there is no Action Group in Pondicherry, hence decided to start RISE here.

After initiating RISE, apart from attended various training programmes on Social development in India, including Agrarian Question at Indian Social Institute (ISI), Bangalore in 1980 and new Trade Union Initiatives in FEDINA, Bangalore on Land Rights, Unionisation of Unorganised Workers, he has also attended a 25 days training on `Liberation and Development' at INODEP, Paris, France in August 1986; Attended a international programme dealing with 'Women's and Girls' Future Education', Poverty, geographical isolation, minority status, disability, early marriage and pregnancy, gender-based violence, and traditional attitudes about the status and role of women held in Jessore, Bangladesh in the year 2002. Attended the IVth conference of the Via Campesina held at Indaiatuba, state of Sao Paulo, Brazil from 14th to 19th June, 2004 dealing with (1) Food Sovereignty & Trade (2) Agrarian Reform (3) Human Rights (4) Biodiversity & Genetic Resources (5) Sustainable Peasant Agriculture (6) Migration & Rural Workers and (7) Gender; also participated in the celebration of 20th anniversary of MST (land rights movement in Brazil) at ITAPEVA, Brazil; (ITAPEVA is the place where 20 years before MST organized their first action on capturing land from the big farm owners. 20,000 Hectares of land was captured). Attended an International Conference on Agrarian Reform at Valencia, Spain between 4th and 8th December 2004 and also participated in Indian Social Forums, Asian Social Forum, 2003 and World Social Forum, 2004. He has also attended an International Forest Conference organised by Earth and Science Department at Katholieke Universiteit. KU Leuven, Belgium in the year 2010. He was also attended two days National Conference on “Rights of Persons With Disabilities Act - 2016 Role of Information Technology”. Conducted by HEPSN-Higher Education for Persons With Multiple Disabilities(Pondicherry University) and NIEPMD - National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India) on 30th and 31st March 2017 at Convention Cum Cultural centre, Pondicherry University.

RISE is a member in "Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative" Virginia, USA.

By: Resource Institute of Social Education, 20, First Cross Street, Gnanapragasam Nagar, Pondicherry-605008, India.

  • We are very much interested to join OSGEO Network*.