Noted Carnatic musician TM Krishna and social worker Bezwada Wilson are the two Indians who have been selected for the Ramon Magsaysay award this year.
Krishna has been awarded for his efforts in “ensuring social inclusiveness in culture”.
The 40 year old is an advocate for “music for all and music for a better quality of life”.
“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,” the citation from Ramon Magsaysay Foundation read.
“The board of trustees recognizes his forceful commitment as artist and advocate to art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions, breaking barriers of caste and class to unleash what music has to offer not just for some but for all.”
Bezwada Wilson’s work towards “asserting the inalienable right to a life of human dignity” found resonance with the trustees.
” Wilson has spent 32 years on his crusade, leading not only with a sense of moral outrage but also with remarkable skills in mass organizing, and working within India’s complex legal system. SKA has grown into a network of 7,000 members in 500 districts across the country. Of the estimated 600,000 scavengers in India, SKA has liberated around 300,000, ” his citation read.
“In electing Bezwada Wilson to receive the 2016 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes his moral energy and prodigious skill in leading a grassroots movement to eradicate the degrading servitude of manual scavenging in India, reclaiming for the dalits the human dignity that is their natural birthright,” the citation said.
Other winners, in what has now come to be known as Asia’s Nobel Prize, include Philipino ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Indonesian philanthropy Dompet Dhuafa, Vientiane Rescue of Laos and Japan Overseas Corporation Volunteers.
Some three hundred thousand people and organisations have been awarded Asia’s top prize since 1958. It has gone to those who have rendered selfless service to societies or to those who have come up with successful solutions to some of the most intractable problems of human development.
The prize instituted is instituted in the memory of Ramon Magsaysay, who was the president of Philippines from 1953 to ’57.