A freedom fighter, social worker and a Gandhian, Natwar Thakkar has dedicated his life to the cause of national integration. Born to Gujarati parents in a small town, Dahanu, at the Western coast of Maharasthra, Thakkar volunteered to go to Nagaland at the age of 19.
He established the Nagaland
Gandhi Ashram in 1955 in Nagaland's Mokokchung. Over the years, the ashram has undertaken work like vocational training for school dropouts and physically handicapped youth. Thakkar has brought reforms in many walks of life including education, heath, village level industries, dairy, sericulture and bee keeping.
Talking about his contributions, he said, “Being a youthful person, I feel that I couldn't play any role in winning freedom for India. But let me play some role in national integration, emotional integration of India
and that is how I chose North-East, mainly Naga Hills.” Thakkar is supported by his Naga wife Plintina, who herself is the first ever Naga person to be trained as Gandhian worker.
Speaking to ANI, Thakkar said: "When I came here for the first time, there were hardly 5-6 jeeps. In the village, I came across only one, owned by a local shopkeeper. All the roads were kuchha, with no bridges, no electricity, and no water supply. Another thing is the tremendous stride people have taken in the field of higher education. A large number of people have made entry in to every field of life," he added.
The man has singlehandedly developed libraries, infrastructural facilities and communications. He has been bestowed with various awards for his exemplary work to build a nation without violence.