Social activist Bezwada Wilson and Carnatic music exponent T.M. Krishna have been conferred the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for this year
GN Bureau | July 27, 2016
Wilson was selected for "asserting the inalienable right to a life of human dignity", it was announced on Wednesday.
“Manual scavenging is blight on humanity in India. Consigned by structural inequality to the dalits, India’s “untouchables,” manual scavenging is the work of removing by hand human excrement from dry latrines and carrying on the head the baskets of excrement to designated disposal sites. A hereditary occupation, manual scavenging involves 180,000 dalit households cleaning the 790,000 public and private dry latrines across India; 98 percent of scavengers are meagerly paid women and girls. While the Constitution and other laws prohibit dry latrines and the employment of manual scavengers, these have not been strictly enforced since government itself is the biggest violator,” his citation states.
Krishna got the award for "ensuring social inclusiveness in culture".
According to his citation, “While much of his work is still ahead of him, he is embarked on an important path. Krishna is resolved to break barriers of caste, class or creed by democratizing music, cultivating thought-processes and sensibilities that unite people rather than divide them”.
Now a leading advocate in India of “music for all and music for a better quality of life”, he says: “Music and the arts are capable of bridging cultures and civilizations and liberating us from artificial divisions of caste and race.”
Four other Magsaysay Award winners this year are Conchita Carpio-Morales from the Philippines, Dompet Dhuafa from Indonesia, Vientiane Rescue from Laos, and Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers.