A member of the Hindu upper caste, the Brahmins, Agnivesh in his youth gave up all his assets and his name, Vepa Shyam Rao, to dedicate his life to the defense of workers' rights.
Agnivesh is well known internationally for his fight in India for the rights of semi-slavery workers, those individuals who are cheated with small loans and then must dedicate their lives to work to repay that initial outlay. In India, this form of "bonded labor" occurs in contemporary brick factories, especially.
The Right Livelihood Award Foundation awarded him the Alternative Nobel Prize for promoting in South Asia "the values of religious and community coexistence, as well as tolerance and mutual understanding."
The demise of Swami Agnivesh is a huge tragedy. A true warrior for humanity&tolerance. Among the bravest that I knew,willing to take huge risks for public good.Was brutalised in Jharkhand by a BJP/RSS lynch mob 2 yrs ago. Liver got damaged. RIP Agnivesh jihttps://t.co/SapzPnRznC