Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Culture
26-February-2019 15:54 IST
President of India presents Gandhi Peace Prize
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind presented the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize for the years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 at a function in Rashtrapati BHawan today (26.02.2019). The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi also attended the function and felicitated the awardees. The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Dr. Mahesh Sharma and other dignitaries were present on the occasion. The Gandhi Peace Prize was presented to the Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari for 2015; jointly to the Akshaya Patra Foundation and the Sulabh International for 2016; to the Ekal Abhiyan Trust for 2017; and to Shri Yohei Sasakawa (from Japan) for 2018.
Pointing to the contributions made by the awardees, the President said that the Vivekananda Centre has promoted self-help, sustainability and development throughout our country, especially in areas populated by tribal communities. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has advanced education and cognition by working to remove hunger and enhance nutrition. The Sulabh International and its founder Dr Bindeshwar Pathak were sanitation pioneers, advocating the merits of sanitation and advocating toilets in days and years when not many others were. The Ekal Abhiyan Trust is helping 2.2 million children – 52 per cent of them girls – access education. Mr Yohei Sasakawa has been instrumental in helping us win crucial battles in the war against leprosy – to prevent and eradicate the disease, and to end stigma and discrimination.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister congratulated all those who have been conferred the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize. He noted that the prize is being conferred at a time when India marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The Prime Minister expressed happiness that on this occasion, the devotional hymn Vaishnav Jan To, which was so dear to Bapu, had been rendered by artistes in about 150 countries across the world. He said this is an indication that the world accepts the relevance of Gandhi’s ideals, even today. The Prime Minister spoke of Mahatma Gandhi’s commitment to Swachhta and how he had merged the streams of Jan Bhagidari (public participation) and Jan Andolan (mass movement).
In his welcome address, the Minister of State for Culture (IC), Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that it is appropriate that these awards are being given at a time when the nation is celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The award is dedicated to the ideals and principles of peace and harmony propagated by the Mahatma. The Culture Minister further said that Bapu’s mantra extended from Satyagraha to Swachhagraha and he is a true apostle of peace in this world troubled by turmoil and divisiveness.
The awardees said that they feel honoured to receive such a prestigious award and they are inspired to work in their areas of excellence with renewed encouragement, carrying forward the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi Peace Prize for Social, Economic and Political transformation through Non-violence was instituted in the year 1995. The Award comprises an amount of Rs. One Crore and a Citation. The Jury of the Gandhi Peace Prize is a high level committee headed by the Prime Minister of India.
This annual award is given to individuals, associations, institutions or organizations who have worked selflessly for peace, non-violence and amelioration of human sufferings particularly of the less-privileged section of society contributing towards social justice and harmony. The Award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or gender.
(The President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind and the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi with the awardees of the Gandhi Peace Prize for the years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on February 26, 2019. The Minister of State for Culture (I/C), Dr. Mahesh Sharma is also seen.)
Read more about the works of the awardees of Gandhi Peace Prize for 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018.
GANDHI PEACE PRIZE - 2015 CITATION
VIVEKANANDA KENDRA, KANYAKUMARI
Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, was founded by Shri Eknath Ranade in 1972. It is guided by Swami Vivekananda and Gandhian philosophies.
The Kendra has over 800 activity centres across India, runs Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalayas catering 45,500 children in tribal areas of Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Odisha, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Andaman Islands.
The educational philosophy of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalayas is rooted in the thought of Swami Vivekananda “Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man.” The schools provide an all-round holistic education and have been acknowledged for their substantial contribution in improving the educational scenario in these areas..
The rural development work of Vivekananda Kendra has made a positive impact in these states/UTs. They run over 200 balwadis, health care units and medical camps, youth and women leadership development programs, skill development programs. The Kendra is at the forefront in promoting rural talents, old age homes especially for old women and training Arogyarakshaks for interior areas.
The Kendra has been working to reduce the carbon foot prints of buildings by adopting more than 30 green technologies. To promote sustainable agriculture it has adopted innovative technologies like Azolla and bio-formulations like enhanced fish-amino. The Kendra has promoted indigenous Siddha Varma medical system where instead of medicine food becomes the medicine. It has taken lead role in water management through community participation, revival of water harvesting structure and water democracy. More than 30 traditional water bodies in Rameswaram have been revived by the Kendra. In the field of Renewable Energy the Kendra has achieved excellent results. It is generating energy innovatively by utilizing kitchen wastes through its Shakthi Surabhi Scheme.
Gandhi Peace Prize recognizes contribution of Vivekananda Kendra in Education, Rural Development, and Development of Natural Resources.
Akshaya Patra Foundation
In the year 2000, Akshaya Patra began its school meal programme with the vision “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”. It was aimed at addressing the issue of classroom hunger by providing a nutritious mid-day meal to children in Government schools. The inspiration for the programme was Srila Prabhupada, a great visionary who aspired to see a hunger-free world and asked all his followers to take up the mission of feeding the hungry, especially children.
Akshaya Patra has been working closely with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, and various State Governments to support the education, health and holistic growth of children.
Akshaya Patra‟s programme began with the feeding of 1,500 children in five schools in Bengaluru. Today, 1.76 million children from 14,702 schools across 12 states and 40 locations of the country benefit from the initiative.
As the implementing partner of the Government‟s Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Akshaya Patra is committed to serving quality, nutritious, and tasty food to children every school day. In order to achieve this, Akshaya Patra has set up state-of-the-art, custom-built kitchens which not only implement the highest standards of food safety and hygiene, but also provide meals according to the local palate.
The guarantee of this meal serves as an incentive for children to come to school and more importantly, for parents to send them to school. In providing mid-day meals for the last 18 years, Akshaya Patra has been contributing to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) objectives as well as the nation‟s pursuit of two critical Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs): Zero Hunger and Quality Education.
Akshaya Patra is a shining example of an effective NGO run social welfare programme where the government, corporate and individual donors, citizens and school authorities come together for the common cause of feeding children.
This Public Private Partnership (PPP) has helped Akshaya Patra to enhance its meal programme and reach out to more children with hot, nutritious meals, every school day.
Akshaya Patra has strived to serve as many children as possible and contribute to their social and economic transformation in a transparent and accountable manner.By March 2019, the organisation would have served 3 billion meals to children from the time of its inception.
Children are the future of the nation and it is therefore imperative to enable their all- inclusive growth and support their overall development. With this conviction, Akshaya Patra strives to continuously innovate and ensure access to nutritious food and education to millions of children.
Gandhi Peace Prize recognizes contribution of Akshaya Patra Foundation in providing Mid Day Meals to millions of children across India.
Sulabh International Social Service Organisation was founded in 1970 in Bihar to restore the human rights and dignity of scavengers and to bring them in the mainstream of society. And also to stop defecation in the open which Gandhi said „tatti par mitti’. Sulabh was founded by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak to restore the human rights and dignity of human scavengers.
In 1968 he invented and innovated the two-pit pour-flush ecological compost toilet and popularized it in the name of Sulabh Shauchalaya. This technology has solved the problems of manual scavenging by untouchables and defecation in the open. Now women go to toilet with safety and dignity and they do not fall prey to snakes, animals and criminal assaults. Now girls go to school because of provision of toilet.
Sulabh two-pit technology is appropriate, affordable, indigenous and culturally acceptable. It has changed the sanitation scenario of India in rural and urban areas. This technology is poised for global application for 2.4 billion people who have no access to safe and hygienic toilets from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Sulabh technology has been accepted by many other countries like China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. The Government of India has constructed more than 90 million two-pit toilets to make India free from open defecation. Hon‟ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has himself constructed two-pit toilets in Shahanshahpur village in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. This technology has been featured as one of the five unique inventions of the world by BBC Horizons. UN-Habitat has declared this technology as „Global Best Practice‟ and has been adopted by WHO, UNICEF, UNDP. Sulabh on its own has constructed 1.5 million two-pit toilets.
Sulabh International has also given the concept of maintenance of public toilets on pay- and-use basis and has constructed 9000 public toilets. The world‟s largest public toilet is in the vicinity of Vithalbhai temple at Pandharpur, Maharashtra which is being used by four lac people daily. It has also invented the technology where electricity can be generated from biogas and can be used for cooking, lighting etc.
GANDHI PEACE PRIZE - 2017 CITATION
EKAL ABHIYAN TRUST
Ekal Abhiyan, a movement started three decades ago, was established for reaching out to most deprived segment in the remotest villages and among the key guiding principles was concept of Gram Swaraj put forward by Mahatma Gandhi.
The Trust has embarked upon five pronged programs to achieve the vision of Gram Swaraj: literacy, health and hygiene, rural entrepreneurship, cultural values and empowerment.
Under its key program for primary education to children, Ekal is imparting education in the remote areas Pan-India. Currently it is operating in more than 80,000 villages and educating 2.2 million children. It has more than 52% girl child participation out of presently rolled children. Another significant feature of Ekal education is value education, culture, nationalism and village crafts. It runs on the concept of 'One Teacher School' and provides 4 years of free, informal primary level education to children to ensure functional literacy among age group of 6 to 14 years.
The Trust works in tribal and rural areas on health care education with emphasis on hygiene, treatment of general diseases and specially the maternal and child care. The Trust has been spreading awareness about usage of easily available herbs, spices and roots under its Home Remedies program which empowers the rural women to attend most minor ailments promptly and without cost. The Trust empowers the rural communities in developing preventive measures through soak pits, waste pits, cleanliness and other hygiene practices.
The Trust is engaged in empowering rural communities in developing rural entrepreneurship so as to check urban migration. This is achieved through empowering the farmers in natural farming by training them in producing compost and pest repellants and in the process doing away with use of chemicals. The Trust runs several centers imparting various skills to youth with orientation to become entrepreneurs in their own areas. The noteworthy among them is digital education through centers and also through mobile vans visiting village to village. Living in harmony with nature is key to this program under which the Trust promotes tree plantation, water and soil conservation, conservation of seeds of indigenous varieties and chemical free farming practices.
The Trust runs various programs to make the tribal communities aware of their cultural heritage and values, Social Harmony, Gender Equality and Self-Reliance.
The Empowerment program of the Trust makes the rural communities aware of their constitutional duties and rights, of various schemes of the Government for their welfare and of different tools to derive maximum out of such schemes.
Gandhi Peace Prize recognizes the manifold contribution of Ekal Abhiyan Trust over vast number of villages in providing education to Rural and Tribal children in remote areas pan India, in spreading awareness about Health and Hygiene, in promoting Rural Entrepreneurship through natural farming and skills, in making rural communities aware of issues related to Gender and Social Equality and thus realizing Gandhian concept of Gram Swaraj through voluntary efforts.
GANDHI PEACE PRIZE - 2018 CITATION
Mr. YOHEI SASAKAWA
Mr. Yohei Sasakawa is a Japanese philanthropist who has been working towards the eradication of leprosy for 40 years. He inherited this mission from his father and refers to it as his life‟s work.
Mr. Sasakawa is chairman (2005 – present) of The Nippon Foundation, Japan‟s largest charitable foundation, and also serves as the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination (2004 – present) and the Japanese Government Goodwill Ambassador for the Human Rights of Persons Affected by Leprosy (2007 – present). His foundation is the main donor to the WHO‟s Global Leprosy Programme, which helps to direct efforts against leprosy around the world.
A frequent visitor to India over the years, Mr. Sasakawa was instrumental in founding the National Forum, now known as the Association of People Affected by Leprosy, in 2005, a grassroot organization working to empower persons affected by leprosy, especially those living in leprosy colonies.
In 2006, he founded the Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation, which is dedicated to the social and economic rehabilitation of persons affected by leprosy through skills development, livelihood and scholarship programmes.
Mr. Sasakawa likens the fight against leprosy to the two wheels of a motorcycle. “The front wheel represents our efforts against the disease and the back wheel our efforts against discrimination. Unless both wheels turn at the same time, we won‟t make progress.”
Identifying the stigma and discrimination that persons affected by leprosy face as a barrier both to their treatment and their full and equal participation in society, he first approached the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2003 seeking to have leprosy taken up as a human rights issue. Subsequently, in cooperation with organizations of persons affected by leprosy, NGOs, researchers, governments and other bodies, he has worked with the UN Commission on Human Rights and its successor the UN Human Rights Council on this issue. As a result of his efforts, the UN General Assembly adopted in December 2010 a resolution proposed by the Japanese Government on “Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members” and accompanying Principles and Guidelines.
To draw attention to the prejudice that persons affected by leprosy and their families encounter, he also initiated a Global Appeal to End Stigma and Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy in 2006.
Among Mr. Sasakawa‟s major contributions to leprosy work, he underwrote the free distribution of Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT), the drugs used to treat leprosy, around the world from 1995 to 1999 by donating USD50 Million to WHO for this purpose. Separate from that donation, his foundation has to date contributed USD140 million to the WHO for leprosy elimination activities, dating back to 1975.
Mr. Sasakawa has been honored with a number of prizes for his role in the fight against leprosy and the stigma and discrimination it causes. These include the Millennium Gandhi Award given by the International Leprosy Union in 2001; the Rule of Law Award by the International Bar Association in 2014, the WHO Health-for-All Gold Medal in 2017 and the Health and Human Rights Award from the International Council of Nurses in 2017.
The Gandhi Peace Prize recognizes contribution of Mr. Yohei Sasakawa to the work of leprosy eradication in India and across the world through his tireless advocacy to promote greater awareness and understanding of leprosy and for speaking out against stigma and discrimination.
राष्ट्रपति ने गांधी शांति पुरस्कार प्रदान किये
राष्ट्रपति श्री राम नाथ कोविन्द ने आज राष्ट्रपति भवन में आयोजित एक कार्यक्रम में वर्ष 2015, 2016, 2017 और 2018 के लिए गांधी शांति पुरस्कार प्रदान किये। इस अवसर पर प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी, संस्कृति राज्य मंत्री (स्वतंत्र प्रभार) डॉ. महेश शर्मा और अन्य गणमान्य व्यक्ति उपस्थित थे।
गांधी शांति पुरस्कार वर्ष 2015 के लिए विवेकानंद केन्द्र, कन्याकुमारी, 2016 के लिए संयुक्त रूप से अक्षय पात्र फाउंडेशन व सुलभ इंटरनेशनल, 2017 के लिए एकल अभियान ट्रस्ट तथा 2018 के लिए जापान के श्री योहेई ससाकावा को प्रदान किया गया।
इस अवसर पर राष्ट्रपति ने कहा कि गांधीवादी विचार, संघर्ष के गांधीवादी तरीकों और मानवीय स्वतंत्रता को प्राप्त करने के लिए गांधीवादी आदर्शों ने हमारे युग के महान व्यक्तियों को प्रभावित किया है। अमेरिका के मार्टिन लूथर किंग जूनियर से लेकर दक्षिण अफ्रीका के नेल्सन मंडेला और पोलैंड के लेक वेलेसा जैसे राजनयिक गांधी जी के विचारों से अत्यधिक प्रभावित रहे हैं।
पुरस्कार विजेताओं के योगदान के बारे में राष्ट्रपति ने कहा कि विवेकानंद केन्द्र ने पूरे देश में विशेषकर जनजाति बहुल इलाकों में स्वयं सहायता, सततता और विकास को प्रोत्साहन दिया है। संगठन ने शिक्षा तथा स्वास्थ्य के क्षेत्र में क्षमता निर्माण किया है। अक्षय पात्र फाउंडेशन ने शिक्षा का प्रसार करने, भूख को मिटाने तथा पोषण को बेहतर बनाने का कार्य किया है। फाउंडेशन स्कूली बच्चों को संतुलित और पोषण युक्त भोजन उपलब्ध कराने के लिए आधुनिकतम तकनीक का उपयोग करता है। सुलभ इंटरनेशनल और इसके संस्थापक डॉ. विंदेश्वर पाठक ने स्वच्छता के क्षेत्र में अग्रणी भूमिका निभाई है। एकल अभियान ट्रस्ट 22 लाख बच्चों को शिक्षा प्राप्त करने में सहायता प्रदान कर रहा है। इन बच्चों में 52 प्रतिशत लड़कियां हैं। ट्रस्ट के कई कार्यक्रमों से जनजातीय समुदायों को लाभ मिला है। श्री योहेई ससाकावा ने कुष्ठ रोग के खिलाफ हमारी लड़ाई (रोकथाम व समाप्ति) में महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाई है।
इस अवसर पर प्रधानमंत्री ने प्रतिष्ठित गांधी शांति पुरस्कार पाने वालों को बधाई दी। उन्होंने कहा कि यह पुरस्कार उस समय दिया जा रहा है, जब देश महात्मा गांधी की 150वीं जयंती मना रहा है। प्रधानमंत्री ने प्रसन्नता व्यक्त की कि महात्मा गांधी के प्रिय भजन वैष्णव जन को पूरी दुनिया के 150 देशों के कलाकारों द्वारा गाया गया। उन्होंने कहा कि यह इस बात का संकेत है कि आज भी विश्व महात्मा गांधी के आदर्शों की प्रासंगिकता को स्वीकार करता है। प्रधानमंत्री ने स्वच्छता के प्रति महात्मा गांधी के संकल्प की चर्चा की। प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा कि स्वतंत्रता संग्राम महात्मा गांधी के प्रयासों के कारण जन-आंदोलन बना। उन्होंने कहा कि महात्मा गांधी ने जन-भागीदारी और जन-आंदोलन की धाराओं का विलय कर दिया था।
अपने स्वागत भाषण में केन्द्रीय संस्कृति राज्य मंत्री (स्वतंत्र प्रभार) डॉ. महेश शर्मा ने कहा कि जब देश महात्मा गांधी की 150वीं जयंती मना रहा है, तो ये पुरस्कार प्रदान करना सर्वथा उचित है। पुरस्कार महात्मा गांधी के शांति व सद्भाव से संबंधित आदर्शों व सिद्धान्तों के प्रति समर्पित है। बापू के स्वच्छता के मंत्र को स्वच्छाग्रह का विस्तार दिया गया है।
पुरस्कार विजेताओं ने कहा कि वे पुरस्कार पाकर सम्मानित महसूस कर रहे हैं और वे अपने क्षेत्रों में उत्कृष्ट कार्य करने के लिए प्रेरित हुए है।
अहिंसा के माध्यम से सामाजिक, आर्थिक और राजनैतिक रूपांतर के लिए गांधी शांति पुरस्कार की स्थापना 1995 में की गई थी। पुरस्कार के अंतर्गत एक करोड़ रुपये की धनराशि और एक प्रशस्ति पत्र प्रदान किया जाता है। भारत के प्रधानमंत्री, ज्यूरी के अध्यक्ष हैं, जो विजेताओं का चयन करती है।
यह वार्षिक पुरस्कार समाज के कमजोर तबको में शांति, अहिंसा और मानवीय कष्टों को समाप्त करने के लिए कार्य करने वाले संगठनों, संस्थाओं, संघों या व्यक्तिगत स्तर पर दिया जाता है। इस पुरस्कार के लिए सभी व्यक्ति योग्य हैं। इसके चयन में राष्ट्रीयता, भाषा, जाति, वर्ग, समुदाय या लिंग का विभेद नहीं किया जाता है।
(राष्ट्रपति श्री राम नाथ कोविन्द, प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी 26 फरवरी, 2019 को राष्ट्रपति भवन में वर्ष 2015, 2016, 2017 और 2018 के लिए गांधी शांति पुरस्कार विजेताओं के साथ। इस अवसर पर संस्कृति राज्य मंत्री (स्वतंत्र प्रभार) डॉ. महेश शर्मा भी उपस्थित थे)