“I don’t know the language of politics, all I know is that we all want a corruption-free government,” says Dayamani Barla, an award-winning tribal activist and journalist, who is contesting her first Lok Sabha elections on an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket from Khunti.
Sharing her plans with Hindustan Times, she says, “I have always believed that one needs to join electoral politics to bring about real change.”
The 44-year-old says she does not believe in making big promises like other politicians.
“I am a firm believer in developmental politics, and have been championing the tribal cause with regard to implementation of laws. I am not like other politicians who make big promises. My agenda is to ensure rights and social security for the common people, especially women,” Barla says.
“I have jumped into the poll fray to protect the rights of tribals and marginalised people on their land and water, besides safeguarding their social values. The common people in this country are not getting justice. They are robbed of their identity and culture.”
Talking about her entry into politics, Barla says, “I have always been in favour of complete freedom and will continue my fight for the rights of people of Jharkhand over jal, jungles and zameen (water, forest and land).”
Barla, who holds a master’s degree in commerce, paid for her university education by working as domestic help. She started her career as a journalist and wrote for a couple of newspaper, before jumping into human rights activism. Barla shot into limelight a couple of years ago when she led the tribals’ agitation against acquisition of farmland for IIM Ranchi, IIIT and NUSRL campus complex at Nagri.
She also runs a tea shop. “Starting the tea shop business was a conscious decision, because tea shops are places where people gather and discuss social issues.” While so far she had been fighting for the rights of tribals and villagers at the grassroots level, she is now ready to fight the parliamentary and assembly elections.
“The faith people and my party workers reposed in me encouraged me to join politics,” she says. Barla is certain she will not compromise on her principles. “I have my own set of values that I cannot compromise on, whether anyone agrees with me or not. My focus is on real issues affecting people and not vote-bank politics,” she says. “We want complete swaraj, and I will fight for it till the end.”