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Ganesh Prasad Ram – In memoriam

February 3, 2023

The Freedom Fund remembers our friend and partner, Ganesh Prasad Ram, who died on 12 January 2023, aged 42.

Dalit activist, Ganesh Prasad Ram, joined the Sino Bahiskar Aandolan movement in 1999, aged 19 years old, following in his father Baldev Ram’s footsteps to become a leader in the Dalit liberation movement for social transformation.

Born in 1980 to the founders of the National Land Rights Forum and the High-Level Land Reform Commission, the late Baldev Ram and Suwadhi Devi Chamain, Ganesh was one of four children. Poor and impoverished, the family experienced acute poverty, caste discrimination and social inequality, and on completing primary level schooling in Madhupatti and secondary school in Kusaha, Ganesh pursued his passion for activism and social change with support from Sonalal Choudhary (Action Aid), former parliamentarian, Asarfi Sada, and Dalit activist Yukti Lal Marik.

Ganesh supported the founding of the organisation, Jana Chetana Dalit Sangam (JDS), alongside his father, to campaign for the rights of the Harawa-Charawa and Dalit community in Saptari district, as well as marginalised Dalit women, not only from his own village, but also at the district and province-level. Throughout his career, he continuously fought on behalf of others, including successfully standing up against the authorities when they forcibly removed 65 landless family settlements by setting their huts on fire; helping marginalised communities to gain entry to temples they’d been excluded from; participating in a 48-hour hunger strike and other strikes organised in Rajbiraj for land rights, citizenship and reservation issues; and in 2000, was at the forefront in the fight to provide free and quality education to Dalit children. He participated in the World Social Forum in Mumbai in 2002, and also travelled to Bangladesh to support and learn about the struggles of landless communities in the country.

Most recently, he helped lead the campaign which culminated in the Government of Nepal’s liberation of the Harawa-Charawa, a significant step in the movement to free generations of marginalised people trapped in poverty through bonded labour.

He didn’t hesitate to speak his mind and he fought hard for what he believed in. His untimely passing has left a big void for the Dalits, landless, squatters and most essentially for the Harawa-Charawa movement. His entire life remained dedicated to their causes, and they will always be indebted for that. He is survived by his wife, Sumitra Devi Ram, and son from his previous wife, Yogesh.

Written by
The Freedom Fund