Professor VK Tripathi and his pamphlets of hope, social justice and harmony

A 76-year-old retired professor from IIT Delhi distributes leaflets throughout states and districts to teach people about unity and brotherhood while opposing the state's incitement of hatred and division.

To face the omnipresent lines of division and hate, to change the ideology of the people of the nation and spread the message of peace, one has to take to the roads and talk to the people. Retired IIT professor Vipin Kumar Tripathi is doing his bit for the nation by distributing pamphlets hailing communal harmony amongst the masses. Tripathi, who is almost 76-years-old, does not fear interacting with those who have differing opinion and believes in spreading awareness through interaction.

During times of turmoil and protests, such as the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest and the post-Babri Mosque demolition, this retired professor had continued with his pamphlet distribution with the objective of bringing a change in society through education and awareness. Since the month of April, as India geared up for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections of 2024, professor Tripathi began with a “Rise to Change” flier campaign. As a part of this campaign, professor Tripathi has been meeting people across states and discussing the shortcomings with the current government regime.

Image Prof. VK Tripathi distributing pamphlets with his daughter Rakhi Tripathi (Courtesy: Rakhi Tripathi’s Facebook)

In one such video on social media, which is handled by Professor Tripathi’s daughter Rakhi Tripathi, he can be heard sharing his experience of talking with people. As per the video, while distributing his pamphlets, most of the people who are impoverished and working menial jobs shared their troubles with them and their complaints with the pro-capitalism policies being implemented by the government.

The pamphlets distributed by Professor Tripathi also, most importantly, promote the idea of communal harmony. It also contains condemnations of the government’s policies or activities and possible solutions, while stating facts and eradicating myths and fake information.

According to him, the idea of change begins with one working on eradicating the biases that they hoard within themselves. He also targets those areas that have had a history of communal violence and riots while spreading his message of communal harmony and brotherhood.

As per one of his interviews, retired Tripathi had started the activity of distributing pamphlets in July 1990 after the Bhagalpur riots, which jolted him from within. During this period, he was in the United States where he formed a Forum for Secular Indians which was later named as ‘Sadbhav Mission’. His interest in politics and social work grew after he quit his job due to USA supporting Israel on their attack on Lebanon, killing around 20,000 people.

As per an article published on him by The Patriot, Prof Tripathi’s father was a freedom fighter and used to be associated with Mahatma Gandhi, from which stems his own ideological leanings. Following the Gandhian path of non-violence, independence and liberation himself, Professor Tripathi started spreading the message of liberation from religious prejudices and discriminatory tactics in any form. In addition to this, one of his methods to educate the less privileged is to organise workshops for students and teachers on subjects like mathematics.

While scrolling through his profile on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), one can find many videos of him interacting with the youth as well. In one such video, Professor Tripathi could be seen addressing a small crowd of young college going students, purported to be first time voters, to vote responsibly and against divisions. Later in the video, he can be seen standing patiently giving out pamphlets.

In another video, he can be seen interacting with people in Chandni Chowk, New Delhi.

Professor Tripathi also interacts with those who the state tends to ignore or forget, and listens to their issues.

It is essential to note that Professor Tripathi’s effort do not just remain limited to distributing pamphlets, but also supporting the ones whose voices are not being heart. In a heart touching video, Professor Tripathi can be seen talking to Vakeel Hasan, one of the rat miners who had rescued 40 workers trapped in the Uttarkashi tunnel in November of 2023. These twelve rat miners had been then hailed as unlikely heroes for playing a crucial role in rescuing 41 trapped labourers in Uttarkashi’s Silkyara tunnel. The miners, employed by Rockwell Enterprises, had worked tirelessly for 26 hours using basic tools to clear the passage. They were called ‘angels from above’ by the rescued labourers. But soon enough, their efforts were forgotten as the news cycle moved on.

While state governments have felicitated the said rat miners with rewards and compensations, no one had heard their pleas of changing their standard of living by bettering their standard of living. In an interview with the Hindustan Times, one of the rat-miners named Firoz Qureshi had said “If anybody really wants to reward us for our work in the rescue operation, they should do their bit to change lives of people like us. We get a daily wage of ₹400-500. It is not enough for survival. We can’t even think about future of our families and children.”

In the video of Professor Tripathi, he can be heard interacting with Hassan and asking him regarding his children’s education, reminding people of the role that Hassan and other rat-miners had played in saving those who had been trapped in the tunnel. It is to be noted that in March of 2024, Hassan and his family of five have been rendered homeless, after his house was razed to the ground by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Wednesday, 28 February, as part of an “anti-encroachment” drive. Through the said video, Professor Tripathi requests the authorities to help Hassan and his family seek justice against the arbitrary demolition done by the state.

Unlike other activists, through science, secularism and non-violence, he is willing to walk down different lanes across different states and talk to people about the ideas of secularism, humanity and love. His videos, where he shares his experiences, grant us an opportunity to see beyond what is trending on social media and understand what the common person in India actually feels and thinks. His ardent stance on his Gandhian ideologies as well as his power to smile even in the face of those who abuse him serves as a teaching moment for all of us who believe in social justice, harmony and peace.

Social media profile of Professor Tripathi can be accessed here:



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