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Mukti Datta: A Brave Woman, Social Worker, Leader and Enterprenuer

Updated on June 30, 2012

Meet Mukti Datta - A Woman with Courage

Mukti Datta is half Belgian and half Indian. She has changed lives of women in Kumaon region in North of India, part of world which was male dominated for generations. She has given employment to women from an entire region.

This single page is not enough to describe all the qualities Mukti Datta have, but I will try to mention few key achievements of her here.

Mukti datta - A Campaigner for saving Environment

It will contribute a lot to environment in long run

Forests were disappearing and wildlife was affected a lot day by day in and around Binsar in Kumaon(In Uttranchal in north of India) region. Raging Fires, tree cutting and poaching were normal in forests of Binsar.

That was the time when actually Mukti started taking initiative for local people and wildlife. In 1986, Mukti wrote letter to then Indian prime minister for making Binsar forest area as wildlife sanctuary. This was appreciated by the prime minister and this give lot of courage to Mukti.

Then she motivated local people and started the campaign for recognizing Binsar as wildlife sanctuary. Mukti formed Jagaran Samiti (Society for the Empowerment of the Population) and started promoting the campaign. Finally due to efforts made by Jan Jagran Samiti, Binsar was declared as wildlife sanctuary.

Journey which changed life of thousands of women in Kumaon

Journey from Kumaon(India) to Tibet

Mukti with help of some of women who were master weavers, set foundations for Panchachuli Women Weavers way back in 1990. Initially they started training women using sheep wool. They were not able to source pashmina till 1995 because tradional trade route between Kumaon and Tibet was not open. In 1995 this route opened, and that created oppportunity for starting centuries old traditional trade of pashmina again. Mukti applied for Trans-Himalayan trade licence to travel to Tibet. In AUG 1995 Mukti along with other two young women undertook the journey to Tibet.

After the adventurous journey, they managed to buy 500 kilogrammes of pashmina(cashmere) wool from the Chapka nomads. So several decade old trade contacts were restablished. These trade contacts still exist today. Pashmina dramatically changed the work of the women weavers. Panchachuli Women Weavers is now a strong force of around 1000 women. Very high quality wool products (Pashmina, lambswool) are exported every year to every corner in the world. Visit Panchachuli Women Weavers to know more about them.

Buy Panchachuli's Women Wool Scarves

It was not possible without the help from friends

Danny Kaye and Silvia Fine Foundation

In 1997, Mukti Datta met Dena Kaye, president of the Danny Kaye and Silvia Fine Foundation.

And Dena was impressed with the project that Jan Jagran Samiti(Society for the Empowerment of the Population) was involved in.

With support from Danny Kaye and Silvia Fine Foundation, weaving centres were built, looms and raw materials were bought. Two machines for the processing of pashmina(cashmere) wool were imported from Scotland.

Health Care was Provided to Local Villagers

It was very hard for people around Almora to find any health care. Specially women had to cope with their health problems alone.

With the help of Danny Kaye and Silvia Fine Foundation, Jan Jagran Smriti (Society for the Empowerment of the Population) the construction of Hostpital began in October 2000. The land was donated by the villagers of Metena village. Hospital was opened for public in November 2002.

The project has been a great success, every day more than 100 patients are treated. ALso year around several camps are arranged to eye treatment, vaccinations.

Also in 1992, Jan Jagran Smriti (Society for the Empowerment of the Population), founded a leprosy rehabilitation centre in the town of Almora with support from the ministry of welfare and the German Leprosy Relief Association.

Education for Children and Child Care

Schools and creche were built

With financial assistance from The Danny Kaye Foundation, crèches and primary schools have been built. Today, around 1000 children attend these schools. There are 5 primary schools, a middle school, and a high school for girls.

Women in Almora Region Feel Proud of themselves Today

All these efforts by Mukti Datta with help from others have changed lives of thousands of women. Confident women, well dressed, boarding buses from Home to Weaving centres and then back home in evening is very common sight these days. Mukti Datta should feel proud of what she has done for the region, specially for lives of women.

What do You Thinkg about Mukti's Efforts ? - Any words from you would be great.

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      Anurag 15 months ago

      Hi, came across this page and was inspired by Mukti's efforts and contribution. Can I get her contact details so I can discuss how I can support this initiative?


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      geet-lively 4 years ago

      A famous political observer said,corn will not grow,unless it is planted and manured.Every nation has a leader as it deserves,I feel that she is doing a great job.Hope to serve the people the same way.She is indeed a real pearl in the oyster.

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      geet-lively 4 years ago

      i feel that she is a pearl in the oyster.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Really a great job done by mukti datta. And everyone must bo like her and follow her. Hats off to her.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I just came to know about this great social leader, kudos to Mukti for her appreciable work done for uttrakhand. We also would like to play our hands in the same role and looking to get in touch with her for her guidance. Kindly advice her contact details if possible.

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      satguidegps 6 years ago

      One of the real social worker in India. She has done some wonderful things for local people especially women. Many women in the region are now earning and on their toe now. Really we need people like Mukti Datta for the betterment of women, nature, and many more.

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      pbisht_70 6 years ago

      I am inspired by Mukti when I am in first year student of kumaon university in 1998 and meet her in Binsar state for some donation regarding Gangotri expedition and we got Rs 3000/= that time, this is big money for us. I am Pan Bisht and my native place is almora and at the time of my schooling there I listen more controversies about her but I seen the real NGO activities in Deena Hospital and Panchachuli Women wear industry. This is great job done by her with women power.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Went to Binsar after almost 15 years. Kudos to Mukti for having preserved the pristine and serene beauty of the place. Thank god it is not another busy overcrowded tourist attraction hub masquerading as a hill station.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      i saw mukti dutta aferts..its gr8...

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      She has taken a very brave step.

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      anonymous 8 years ago


      Respected Mukti data


      Sub: Distribution of contaminated drinking water.


      As a public we, the resident of Pithoragarh, town of

      (Uttrakhand) want to bring in to your notice the following points.

      Our’s is the town, which is being surrounding by two of the prominent

      Rivers (SARAYU & RAMGANGA) and many other falls and others natural water source. Which is the best sources of drinking water both hygienic and economically.

      But to you surprise due to mismanagement of the concern department from a local NALAH (THULIGAD) which is highly contaminated by sewerage, hospital waste, plastic waste & industrial waste.

      Consumption of this polluted water has radically increased the no of patients; suffering from Hepatitis A, B, C, Gastro-enteritis, Skin disease, Jaundice, eye disease Kidney stone ,Dehydration, Fungal disease, Typhoid ,Colitis, Parasitic infestation and etc. & again the government hospital which is lacking the adequate medical

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      hi mukhi datta

      you are doing good job Pl.carry on my best wishes to you .

      my email address is

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      she is courageous and has tremendous energy to handle so many thing.good luck to mukti

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      I have been working with Mukti and the women weavers of Panchahculi for a few years. We have a web site Whole Foods in some parts of the country Colorado,Texas, New mexico, Louisiana, Texas, about 65 stores now carry the ladies products. I do not take any money doing this all money goes back to the ladies in buying more product. I have been putting money in to expand and now it is slowy growing. This weekend,1/16/09, I will be exhibiting at the Yoga Journal confernece in San Francisco, Hyatt in their market place.This is a great project and Mukti is incredible.

    • sahota lm profile image

      sahota lm 9 years ago

      Hi Chirag,

      You could give me your contact details, I can then send you the contact details of mukti datta. Then you can get in touch with her yourself.

      You are right in saying that if everyone contributes a little towards social cause then this would be very beautiful world.

      Thanks for visiting this page.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      it's a tremondous effort and a genrous contribution to mankind. If every body of us, can contribute even 1% of the effort she has put it in, the world could be turned around. We are student of IMT, MBA college want to learn and do some detailed research on her work to enlighten please let us know, how do we contact her for the same.

    • sahota lm profile image

      sahota lm 9 years ago

      Thanks for your comments

    • tranndee lm profile image

      tranndee lm 9 years ago

      It takes such courage, such strength of character to do the work she's done in the face of environmental destruction and probably male opposition. She IS amazing. Keep writing about her!

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      Shelagh 9 years ago

      Wow! What an amazing woman!