History

The Manuski Trust started life as part of the Jambudvipa Trust, which was founded by Lokamitra. In the late 1970’s he initiated and for many years guided the activities of Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha, Sahayaka Gana (TBMSG) and Bahujan Hitay. TBMSG conducts human-centred spiritual activities and now has over thirty teaching centres in India Bahujan Hitaya conducts social activities; it has established over twenty hostels and many health and education community centres in the slums throughout Maharashtra and elsewhere. With drawing from these, in 1998, he started the Jambudvipa Trust, to explore the social implications of spiritual practice, to share the experience he and his colleagues had gained in social activism, and to work with a broader spectrum of disadvantaged communities.

 

After responding to the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, the Jambudvipa Trust started the Manuski Project for capacity building and training for individuals and groups from the Dalit and other severely disadvantaged sections of society, especially the most degraded, and to develop a network to promote solidarity and sharing of experience. This established the Social Development Programme, training ten young activist groups all over Maharashtra. It started to work with manual scavengers, getting the International Labour Organisation to understand that the practice still existed on a wide scale. It worked with Nomadic Tribes and children from the Pardhi community (the so-called Thieving Tribes), and started a programme for Dalit women’s leadership. It also developed contacts with other discriminated communities abroad, African Americans as well as Hungarian Gypsies.

 

In October 2006 the horrific Khairlanji atrocity took place, in which a young Dalit woman was brutally killed and raped for being the most educated woman in the village. Her mother suffered in the same way and her brothers were mutilated and killed. The Manuski Project played a leading initial role in publicising this and developed an atrocity helpline. This took the project into a new dimension and it was decided then to form a separate trust, the Manuski Trust.

 

Until recently Manuski was working mainly in Maharashtra. However during the course of its work it has been developing contacts all over India, especially among the youth. Manuski’s new thrust is to train up an all-India network of young social activists, in the above and other relevant areas. Within the next five years it expects to have over 500 well trained social activists all over India, who are not only running their own projects, but also conducting training activities of their own.