Baldev was the founding Chairperson of the National Land Rights Forum, a landless people’s organization comprising over a hundred thousand members, and struggled for their rights for decades. He blew the whistle and later launched a successful ‘Carrion Boycott’ campaign against an inhuman practice that forced Chamars (a kind of Dalits) to dispose of cattle carcasses in his district. This campaign declared, ‘we are human too like you, we also have dignity’. This campaign significantly uplifted the respect and dignity of the Chamar people, a Dalit group considered to be the lowest caste in social strata. This campaign ended the mal-tradition of forcing the Chamar people to handle animal carcasses.
Baldev led several local, regional and national assemblies, marches, and sit-ins to campaign for landless and land poor people: to increase the wages, against untouchability, and for the rights of Haruwa-Charuwa and Haliya (forms of bonded labor in agriculture). He led a Satyagraha sit-in with about 400 Dalits in his district for democracy and land rights, which ended up with a march of about 20 thousand Dalits.
Reflecting on Baldev’s life and learning, Creating Cultures of Peace (CCP) facilitator and land rights activist at CSRC Kalpana Karki says, ‘living in simplicity and honesty gives courage to speak up to both the people at grassroot and people in power. Baldev never wore slippers or shoes, owned very few simple clothes but there was always an energetic vibration when he talked with landless, poor people in the communities or the Prime Ministers; everyone listened to him with respect and care. He also never forgot where he came from. Whenever he got free time from his struggle for justice, he used to go back to work in agriculture in his village.’