Thus, the NBA made a significant change in the way grassroots politics is practised in this country and this has now led to the AAP which is on the cusp of making a significant change in the way electoral mainstream politics is to be practised in this country having built on the foundations that were laid earlier.
Consequently it is of the utmost importance that a detailed history of the NBA is written. Nandini Oza, who spent over a decade as a grassroots organiser of the NBA in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, has taken on this onerous task. She has gone about it in a very systematic way. She has first interviewed hundreds of people who were involved in the NBA in various places and in various capacities from grassroots organisers to urban activists in all the three states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Both those affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project and those who have participated in the struggles out of commitment or sympathy have been interviewed. These interviews have covered all aspects and all views both for and against the various twists and turns in policy and programmes of the NBA over the last two and a half decades. These oral histories have now been edited and indexed and provide a treasure trove for the researcher. The work of transcribing the oral material into written text is in progress.
The problem is that Nandini has done this Herculean task voluntarily without any formal funding support so far except in one instance for some of the recording of the oral history and its editing. She has done various odd job consultancies and sometimes got ad hoc donations from people in the form of time, expertise and money but now a time has come that such voluntary work is becoming difficult. There is an urgent need for institutional funding support for this initiative if all the oral material is to be transcribed and then researched and a detailed history of the NBA written on the basis of this. Unfortunately despite several efforts Nandini has failed to get any institutionalised funding support for her work.
This makes me wonder as to how people's history will be written? While there have been several books on the NBA by scholars who have been funded by universities these cannot match the depth and authenticity of the oral histories that Nandini has collected. Almost certainly the future of India will be influenced in many ways by the political work that has been done by the NBA and so it is imperative for this great archive of oral histories to be transcribed and made available for wider research. Since it is clear that establishment institutions are fighting shy of funding this the only recourse is for it to be crowd funded. An effort has to be made by all those who are concerned and feel that this is a worthwhile project to chip in and make it possible. For further details on how to support the initiative please get in touch with Nandini at her email - firstname.lastname@example.org