Executive Board Advisory Committee

Executive Board

Urmi Basu

Born and raised in a family of professionals in Kolkata, India, Urmi Basu received her primary and secondary education in the same city. Her father was a doctor and her mother a healthcare administrator. Both her parents were seriously involved in activities of urban and rural development which influenced and prompted Urmi to choose the career of a social worker. After fifteen years of professional work Urmi set up a small non - profit named New Light in Kolkata in 2000 with a seed money as little as Rs 10,000/- along with two other young people from the Kalighat red light district. The mission of the organization is to promote gender equality and fight violence and abuse of women, girl children and young people. That small initiative today provides care and support to more than a thousand people. The organization also works to fight against child prostitution and trafficking for the purpose of sex- trade. For the last many years Urmi has been a trainer and resource person for innumerable government and non profit organizations.

Krishna Mondal

Krishna Mondal is one of the founder trustees of New Light, living in the red light districts of Kalighat in Kolkata, India. Krishna, for the last tfourteen years has been a beacon of light for her community while helping the women in prostitution and their children escape the vicious circle of violence and abuse that is integral to the life of women in prostitution. Being a representative of her community she sets the classic example of how one can challenge adversities and rise above ones station in life in a caste-bound culture. Being an empowered and compassionate symbol of the marginalized community of prostitutes, she is able to leverage the dynamics of class and caste structure within the community and take actions of affirmation and inclusion with a force and courage that is exemplary. Her sensitivity to issues of power and control as shown by the pimps and brothel owners, allows her to create a role of a vigilante for the young girls of the community. Through her active intervention a large number of young girls have been rescued from the inevitable destination to brutal brothels where extreme abuse in the hands of traffickers and pimps is the order of the day. Her humble and self effacing demeanour endears her to all members of the community. She is viewed as the ultimate refuge for innumerable adolescent girls or women who has been trafficked and inducted into the vicious and dangerous world of sex trade in the city. Her keen understanding of her immediate environment and the hidden mechanisms of operations of brothel owners and pimps allows her to strategize and execute rescue operations that would leave individuals with extraordinary academic training baffled.

Shibnarayan Bhattacharya

Shib Narayan Bhattacharjee, born to a family of upper caste Hindu Brahmin has dedicated his life in deconstructing the structures of caste bound practices in India. Years ago his grandfather moved from a village in the northern fringes of the city and took up the responsibility of being the family priest of an old landowners family residing in Kalighat. Over the years Kalighat became a notorious red light district but his family continued to live and work within the limits of this highly stigmatized world. When his father passed away the mantle fell upon him to continue as the family priest. Shib Narayan at a very young age became more of an activist with a dream of changing his community than devoting his time in prayers and rituals. In him the youth of the community saw a leader filled with courage and compassion. His life and work began to guide the youngsters of the community to look for a meaning in their existence. Shib Narayan became the passage from darkness to light, from ugliness to beauty, from aggression to love. He was often seen helping people dying from AIDS and bringing dignity to their moments of passage. He never dithered from the challenge to do dress people with leprosy or embalm the body of an AIDS victim and thereby became a role model for all in the community. The stories about his courage and compassion have travelled far and wide. Today many people come to New Light from other red light districts and forgotten slums in the hope of finding support and encouragement to change their lives. We salute Shibnarayan for his courage.

Falguni Bhatt Sanghvi

Falguni Bhatt Sanghvi,a painter, sculptor, ceramist and installation artist was born and raised in Baroda, Gujrat. With her heart set on a creative journey she completed her Bachelors and Masters degree in Fine Arts with specialisation in sculpture from the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda in 1999. Falguni's art is all about deconstructing stereotypes of thought and practice reflecting an intense and deeply sensitive relationship with her surroundings as well as her state of mind at any given point in time. Credited with a number of distinguished solo shows at home and abroad ( Jahangir Art Gallery , Mumbai, Hacienda Art Gallery , Mumbai and Amigos Del Nepal , Barcelona to mention a few ) the artist is currently creating a new language of expression for the young people from marginalised community. Her studio, Aorang ,in Kolkata has become a refuge and destination for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence who use clay and fire to reclaim the wholeness of their identity, body and spirit.

Bishnukant Jha

Mr Bishnukant Jha ( born 1951 ) hailing from Darbhanga district in Bihar completed his education from R V College Dalsighserai. Before moving to Kolkata in 1977 as a young professional he worked extensively in the rural areas of West Champaran district. Having completed his LLB degree from the University of Kolkata he began pro bono work with the Missionaries of Charity in 1980. Since 1991 he has been the holding the position of legal advisor by appointment to one of the best known and significant charities under Mother Theresa handling matters of adoption, transfer of property , acquisition of gifted land on behalf of the charity, last Will and Testament , probate and letter of administration. He is one of those rare individuals who had the opportunity to work closely both with Mother Theresa and Sister Nirmala for more than a quarter of a century. New Light has been the recipient of his valuable experience and guidance since its inception.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

  1. Dr. Mariette Correa
  2. Dr. Rajan Gupta
  3. Dr. Nasser Iqbal
  4. Dr. Manahar Pawar
  5. Ms. Nita Sethia
  6. Ms. Sangita Todi
  7. Ms. Rajni Jhunjhunwala
  8. Ms. Francesca Marino
  9. Ms. Urmi Basu

ETHICS COMMITTEE

  1. Mr. B.K. Jha
  2. Ms. Lorraine Marsh Cohen
  3. Mr. Shaun Mader
  4. Mr. Pritimay Sengupta
  5. Ms. Francesca Marino
  6. Ms. Urmi Basu