15 August 2016 Society Leader Comment

In Praise Of The Magsaysay

For turning the mirror on mighty India, brazenly blind to its growing warts.
In Praise Of The Magsaysay

Ramon Magsaysay was far from a textbook democrat just like Alfred Nobel was far from a peacenik, but like with the Nobel Prize, the Magsaysay Award has provided a troubled legacy the spit and polish only good money can buy. This year, by choosing Bezwada Wilson “for asserting the inalienable right to a life of human dignity” and T.M. Krishna for “ensuring social inclusiveness in culture”, tiny Philippines, with its 7,641 islands, has turned the mirror on mighty India, brazenly blind to its growing warts. Plenty of Indians have enjoyed the high honour before, but in saluting an activist who has worked tirelessly for the unbearable weight of human excreta to be lifted off the shoulders of Dalits, and a musician-writer who has batted for the hallowed chambers to be opened to everybody, the Magsaysay Foundation has showed what a good award always seeks to  accomplish: open our eyes—and bridge the islands in our minds.

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