Dilli Bahadur Chaudhary, president of Backward Society Education (BASE).
Now also member of Legislature Parliament of Nepal.
Paved the beginning of his career lane with 4-H club, an informal club which was running under the support of USAID. At the time, he was just 17. With a dedicated companionship of the Tharu community youths, Dilli practically forestalled the spirit of grassroots movement in a native model. During the time, they only carried few programs on empowerment, education, livelihood and consciousness-raising.
The task of bridge building between community people and these youth received an important and large scale stride when they envisioned Backward Society Education (BASE) in 1991. The formalization of the organization BASE, with a motto of freedom and spirit of grassroots movement, was a shifting phase for these people.
At first, for Dilli and his dedicated team, breaking the chains of discrimination dictated under the caste and class values was a risky experimentation. They encountered threats and false accusations for their organizing. But, with the years of effort and support of Tharu community, Dilli overcame threats changing many of the lives. His journey from an informal activism in 4-H to the formal registration as BASE and till today unflinchingly keeps rolling for the cause of Tharu and other marginalized populations.
With an insider view, he fingered education a topmost priority of his organization. Night classes run at different Tharu villages were the venues for teaching and learning. Moreover, they were also venues to discuss their issues, the marginalization, landlessness, bonded labor, exploitation and orient them to fight for their freedom. In this way, he began to understand the depth of native value and orient community people for that end. He partook his role joining with community people, extending relationship with donors and also worked hard to call attention to academic circles and generate a fair knowledge on Tharu populations and help for policy development.
Dilli, as a team player and community organizer, accomplished his headship taking BASE to newer heights particularly and successfully outlawed the bonded labor (Kamaiya) practice. Kamaiyas lived their dreadful life with a little wages and severe form of servitude and this system has been regarded the modern day slavery. It is a worth-note that BASE was the leader of Kamaiya movement, 2000, backed up by number of organizations and the Kamaiya people
Today BASE has grown as one of the largest grassroots movement organizations to work for Tharu indigenous people and marginalized communities. It covers a broad range of areas related to the livelihood, renewable energy, empowerment, education, cultural rights, agriculture development, disaster relief support, human rights promotion, and mass consciousness. The effort of Dilli and his team for the well-being of marginalized Tharu community to promote values of their culture, identity and exploitation receives an international attention.
The successful Kamaiya movement and their relentless effort for the cause of downtrodden communities not only heightened the BASE but also gave a moment for Dilli and his fellow members to cherish. Dilli was awarded with accolades by different national and international organizations,
Reebok International Human Rights Award (1994),
Antislavery Award UK (2002),
Ram Krishna Jaidayal Harmony Award (2003)
Two honors felicitated by the Government of Nepal, Suprabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu third (1994) and Suprabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu Trishakti Patta (2004)
Dilli was also elected as Ashoka Fellow in 1992. He is currently a member of Constituent Assembly (CA). He is also founding member of Global March international secretariat. He has managed to collaborate with internationally renowned organizations and people to internationalize the issue of his community. He cherishes the moment Mr. Kailash Sathyarthi being conferred with Noble peace prize as they had been together for the cause of child labor and time and again jointly conducted programs to change the world of children.
Dilli, now 46, says that still there is a long way to go and find returns by solving complete package of Kamiaya settlement, protection of indigenous culture and upgrade the economic and social status of Tharu tribe and marginalized populations.