Sainath refuses Padma Shri
Eminent journalist P Sainath, Rural Affairs Editor, The Hind, reportedly declined to be listed for a Padma award this year.delhi Updated: Jan 30, 2009 00:15 IST
Eminent journalist P Sainath, Rural Affairs Editor, The Hind, reportedly declined to be listed for a Padma award this year, unlike his contemporaries in age and experience in the media like The Indian Express Chief Editor, Shekhar Gupta and writer-columnist Ramchandra Guha, who were both selected for India’s third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan.
In his journalistic career of 28 years, Sainath, who has received over 35 awards and fellowships, both national and international, including the ‘Asian Nobel’, the Magsaysay Award, in 2007, has noticeably not accepted a single government or state award.
He has gone on record in the past to say that, “Journalism should not be judged by government and journalists should not accept awards from governments they are covering or writing about,” comparing it to “The external auditor of a company taking an award from the company he is auditing or scrutinizing.” Sainath declined to comment.
Sainath’s consistent reporting on the failure of the state in India’s rural regions drew global acclaim and it was his expose on the plight of farmers in Vidarbha in Maharashtra that prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the area himself in 2006.
Said Kishor Tiwari, leader of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJS), the main organization of Vidarbha farmers, “The VJS would be happy to see Sainath get awards, but how could he possibly have accepted a government award when one lakh, eightytwo thousand farmers have killed themselves in the past decade, for which government policy is substantially responsible?”