Recording the history of Nellore

Features, People

Padma Shri Shantha Sinha, Ramon Magsaysay Award Winner from Nellore


Prof. Shantha Sinha is an anti-child labour activist of international reputation. She is a Professor of Political Science in Hyderabad Central University. She lives in Marredpally, Hyderabad.


Shantha Sinha was born in an illustrious Brahmin family in Nellore district on 7th January 1950. Her father Mamidipudi Anandam, a successful tax accountant, went onto become a member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council and later a member of Rajya Sabha in Indian Parliament.

Shantha Sinha did her schooling in St. Ann’s High School and Keyes High School for Girls, both in Secunderabad. She went on to complete her M.A in Political Science from Osmania University in 1970 and Ph.D from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1976.

She married Mr Ajoy Kumar on 3rd Dec 1972. Ajoy died of cerebral haemorrhage while their two daughters were quite young. Elder daughter Dr Sudha Sinha is now the Asst Professor of Medical Oncology in Mehdi Nawaz Jung Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer Center, Hyderabad. Her younger daughter Dipa Sinha is walking in her mother’s foot steps through her association with the Public Health Resource Network and the Right to Food campaign. Dipa Sinha has a Masters in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Shantha Sinha contributed to drastic reduction of child labour in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh. Recognizing her work, the Government of India appointed her as the first chairperson of the newly formed National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). She held that position for 6 years in succession.

She is the founder and Secretary of Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiah Foundation, popularly known as MV Foundation, named in memory of her grandfather Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiah, another Nellorean of repute. Starting from 1991, MV Foundation (MVF) mobilised over 600,000 children out of work and into formal government day schools. MVF monitors around 500,000 children on a daily basis.

You can hear her express her views in this short video biography.


2003 – Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership from Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, Philippines

1999 –  Padma Shri Award from Govt of India

1999 – Albert Shanker International Award from Education International.


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