Mr. Mohan Hirabai Hiralal an active member of Jayaprakash Narayanji’s Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Wahini and a believer of Gandhiji-Vinobaji’s thesis of people’s power, set up Vrikshamitra in 1984 in Gadchiroli District, Maharashtra.
He plays the role of selfless Sahyogi Mitra (collaborator friend), an activist, and a knowledgeable worker who propagates the concept of Gram Swaraj, with effective and systematic adoptive management broadly emphasizing three major aspects, viz. forest conservation, sustainability, equity and security.
Mr. Mohan Hirabai Hiralal’s knowledge and direction helped the people of Mendha (Lekha) in making the Gram Sabha more inclusive, participatory and active. He helped villagers to focus on women’s participation, alcohol prohibition, forest conservation and rights, fight against corruption, cultural rights, youth empowerment, sustainability, equity and security.
Mr. Mohan Hirabai Hiralal generated awareness among the villagers about their legal rights over the forest; which helped in popularizing participatory forest management at local, state and national levels. This led to the conferment of Community Forest Rights to the villages Mendha (Lekha) and Marda by the Government in 2009, under Forest Rights Act 2006.
Revolutionary slogan of Mendha (Lekha) `In Delhi and Mumbai we have our Government but, in village we ourselves are Government’, exemplifies the spirit of the village and its people.
In 2013, after persistent efforts of Mr. Mohan Hirabai Hiralal and the villagers, all legal formalities of Gramdan of Mendha (Lekha) were completed and the village was declared a Gramdan village under Maharashtra Gramdan Act 1964. It is the first village in the country to become a Gramdan Village after thirty five years.