Questions of sovereignty and power are at the heart of Ashka’s commitment to challenging the abuses of transnational corporations.
Educated at a school founded on Gandhian thought in India, from a young age, she learned about the “colonial confiscation of my people’s freedom.” And as she grew older, she experienced a distinct but related threat to her country’s autonomy: corporate power. She explains that when India began embracing neoliberal capitalism in the 1980s, “we saw the crimes of giant transnational corporations like the Union Carbide unravel extreme atrocities for our communities, once again challenging our sovereignty. This imbued in me the determination to help galvanize global action to expose the covert dynamics of transnational power and politics that continually annihilate freedom, respect, and justice across the world.”
This determination eventually brought her to Corporate Accountability, where she leads the research team on strategic campaign development, corporate research, and equity-centered analysis of corporate power across issues that guide the vision and overall success of the campaigns. She serves as a senior leader within the organization supporting the organization’s overall impact and direction.
Ashka also leads Corporate Accountability’s food program, which focuses on structural determinants and sociopolitical dimensions of food systems, nutrition, and public health, while exposing industry’s interference and influence in the policies and the politics of food security, sovereignty, and justice across the world. She serves as the researcher and expert advancing the food work in deep partnership with allied organizations, especially from the Global South.
Ashka is currently pursuing her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she explores the intersectionality of land rights, women’s empowerment, and food security. She has master and bachelor degrees in design and architecture, respectively from the UK and India.
Before joining Corporate Accountability, Ashka worked in the U.S. and India on a range of issues, from climate action to community-centric architecture to fair and organic food systems. She recently served as the executive director of Massachusetts-based nonprofit focused on finding local, equitable, and just solutions to the climate crisis.
Following her love for land, food, and ancestral roots, Ashka dreams of “running an organic family farm in the Himalayas, the land of the Chipko movement, where village women hugged trees to save them from industrial logging, reining in destructive power through nonviolent, organized action.”
Ashka speaks English, Urdu, Hindi, and Gujarati, as well as has working knowledge of Sanskrit, Marathi, and Punjabi.