Anubrotto Kumar Roy popularly known as Dunu Roy is a Chemical Engineer by training, social scientist by compulsion and political ecologist by choice. He obtained a B.Tech in the year 1967 and an M.Tech. in the year 1969 from the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Bombay.
The idea of working long office hours for a MNC did not suit Dunu Roy and he gave up his career as a chemical engineer.
Students’ movement was widespread in the country in the 70’s and unlike today IIT’s were not an exception from such happenings in the country. In those days students came forward in large numbers to work for the betterment of rural areas and take development initiatives on their own.
Around the same time, the Front for Rapid Economic Advancement of India (Frea), a group run by US based Indians started working in India with the goal of developing SME’s of India by providing technological inputs. Dunu liked the idea and started working for the group. After working for the group for a few years, the group realized that the real solution to problems of SME’s lay in developing better credit lines and markets and not technological inputs.
During those years, Roy worked all over India. He realized that most of the developmental activities were micro-experiments limited to a few clusters of villages and sectors like healthcare and education. There was also no understanding of linkages between sectors; and the people who did work in villages, worked only to implement their own ideas of progress and development.
“It was a top-down approach,” says Roy. “Nobody was asking the people what they wanted. They were talking to the people, not with the people.”