ARSHABHARATH, meaning ‘the India of the Rshis/Sages’ was founded in 1987 by a team of socially enlightened youth of Wayanad, led by M.M. Augustine of Puttad, as a civil society response to the deteriorating socio-environmental situation in Wayanad. ARSHABHARATH became a formal organization in January 1987. With a view to ensuring legal standing and government approval, the organization was registered under the 1860 Indian Societies Registration Act. The name of the organization ‘ARSHABHARATH’ is suggestive of its appreciation of the Indian tradition of respect for eco-social harmony. More than 25 years have elapsed since ARSHABHARATH initiated its sustainable development interventions. The organization has a history of continuous and creditable service in a number of fields, including environmental protection and eco-restoration, women’s development and empowerment, food security enhancement, individual and family counseling, community health, child development, STD/HIV mitigation etc.The organization has also received approval and accreditation from important government departments and agencies. ARSHABHARATH has proved its effectiveness in a number of fields of rural development, including watershed development, women empowerment, food security and community health promotion.
ARSHABHARATH was founded by Mr. M. M. Augustine, son of Mathai, Moongananiyil, hailing from the remote village of Puttad in Wayanadu district, in Kerala. From early youth he was inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. He was deeply pained by the state of social problems and backwardness of his village and surrounding areas. After high school, Augustine decided to dedicate his life to the mission of social re-construction along Gandhian lines. He worked with prominent social workers of his time, including P. N. Panikkar, originator of the ‘Grandhasala Prasthanam’ and champion of the ‘Literacy Movement in Kerala and M. P. Manmadhan, leader of the ‘Madya Nirodhana Samithy’ (Alcohol Prohibition Movement), both of them were eminent Gandhians. Padmashree K. Viswanathan, founder leader of ‘Mithranikethan’, was another prominent Gandhian and social activist who inspired and guided Augustine. He visited and was trained under Anna Hazare in ‘Integrated Watershed Management’ and received numerous certificates from reputed social institutions, including NIRD, SIRD, KILA, WGDP Cell, ISI etc. His specialization is in Integrated Watershed Management and Women Empowerment. Augustine has been continuously and relentlessly working in the fields of social reconstruction, sustainable development, environmental protection and women empowerment for 41 years. He has a multi-faceted personality, blessed with talents, including drama acting, play writing, song writing, report writing, counseling and mediation. He has authored several booklets on topics, such as environmental protection, women empowerment, national integration, eco-spirituality. He functions as resource person and facilitator on themes of watershed management, PRA and PLA, community mobilization, women empowerment, organic farming and so forth.
Mr. Augustine has received many awards and certificates of merit, including; ‘Excellence Award for National Social Activity 2012’, ‘The Rashtra Deepika Environment Award 2011’, as well as numerous certificates from reputed social institutions.
General Secretary/Executive Director
Secretary to Projects
ARSHABHARATH’S Vision is the creation of an eco-harmonious and gender sensitive prosperous society in keeping with the eco-spiritual ethos of India
The Mission of ARSHABHARATH consists in nurturing holistic life styles and promoting sustainable development solutions, particularly among farmers, women, youth and tribals.
Everything is nature. Nature is both matter and energy. Man, product of nature, is part of nature. Forgetful of his status and position, arrogant man tries to control and exploit nature indiscriminately, leading to disorder and violence and adversely affecting individual as well as community life. Understanding and loving nature and returning to its rhythms- this is eco-spirituality. Eco Spirituality is the sum total of ARSHABHARATH’s philosophy and agenda of action. All projects and activities of the organization spring from this source.
Nature is the matrix from which emerge all life and all resources, including human. It is our sacred responsibility to respect and support the entire realm of living and non-living entities. The human being has no superiority over other life forms. ARSHABHARATH takes care to disseminate this message through all its initiatives. ARSHABHARATH’s campus is a demonstration of different flora and fauna in an ambience of harmonious co-existence.
Women and man are two complementary polarities of human existence. There is a fundamental equality and reciprocity between the two sexes. But this has been forgotten, neglected and violated by the male gender. There can be no genuine human development without gender equity in all spheres of life. ARSHABHARATH is committed to upholding this principle and applying it in all situations. Our endeavors to protect women’s rights and ensure their security is part of this commitment.
To experiment and demonstrate its eco-spiritual vision, ARSHABHARATH has started a community living initiative. Women and men committed to this vision live together in the spirit of sharing and mutual support. This community has no religious, political or communal underpinnings whatsoever.
Central Social Welfare Board, Govt. of India
State Social Welfare Board, Kerala
Department of Women & Child Development, Govt. of Kerala
WGDP, Govt. of Kerala
Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India
Kerala State AIDS Control Society
Charities Aid Foundation
Apollo Tyres Foundation
Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives (APPI)
Small and marginal farmers
SC/ST and other marginalized sections of society
Seniors Creative Commune (A model home for a senior citizen)