August 15, 2019
Last week Journalist Ravish Kumar became the 56th Indian to win the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award which is regarded as the Nobel Prize of Asia. The Award that carries a cash prize of USD 30,000, is being conferred on him for ‘giving voice to the voiceless’ in the field of Journalism. He is among the five who will be conferred the award in Manila on August 31, 2019.
Ravish Kumar, 44, is the 7th Indian journalist to win the Award, the others being Amitabha Chowdury, BG Verghese, RK Laxman, Gour Kumar Ghosh, Arun Shourie and P Sainath. He is NDTV news channel’s senior executive editor, whose programme ‘Prime Time’, the citation noted, “deals with real-life, under-reported problems of ordinary people”.
“If you have become the voice of the people, you are a journalist,” the citation added. Ramon Magsasay Award was instituted in 1957 by the Philippine Government in partnership with the US Rockefeller Foundation ‘to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society’ by honouring outstanding Asian personalities in the fields of government service, community service, community leadership, journalism, communication and creative arts, peace and international understanding and emergent leadership.
From the year 2009, The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation has done away with the practice of awarding the award in the above six categories.
Initially, seven eminent persons from the Philippines formed the selection panel of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation and it was later expanded to include more such personalities from Asia.
Past Indian Magsaysay award winners include Jaya Prakash Narayan, Mother Teresa, Verghese Kurien, MS Subbalakshmi, TN Seshan, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Aruna Roy, and Satyajit Ray among others.
In 1963 three Indians were chosen for the award while two Indians won the award in same year couple of times.