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>Other India Stories: Indians win ‘alternative Nobel’ — some recognition?

>I would love some comments on the BBC news article: Indians win ‘alternative Nobel’ (

During my tenures with NGOs in India, working on projects whose beneficiaries were the under-privileged, most often the human faces that would stare us in the face were Dalits, Tribals and other marginalized sections.

My former employer, the National Foundation for India (NFI) does terrific work with women, especially the Girl Child, and their proposals usually seek to aid both Dalits and Muslims without really determining a target group only by those specific configurations. As astounding as it may sound, the ‘other India’ is still a humongous mass of people who are not only low-income, but also inevitably low in the caste hierarchy. And it serves no good purpose to ignore any dialogue on this aspect.

The likes of Jagannathan and Krishnammal, from Tamil Nadu, may not be overwhelming in number in India, but there are significant ones who work without any recognition. Besides, how many of our silent crusaders work in order to get an award? At least from my NGO experience I can say, quite a few even have to weather threats posed by unfriendly population, dominant upper-caste groups, apathetic government officials and other infrastructural, monetary and logistical hurdles. The award to the Jagannathan couple is heartening for those of my friends who are trying to promote the condition of India’s Dalits, through education, direct intervention, awareness programs and even Internet dissemination of information.

Cannot somehow stop here without remembering Sanjoy Ghosh, who was allegedly abducted and killed while working on Assam’s Majuli island (the largest riverine island in the world) working among the locals — not all Dalits — to raise awareness about flood management and soil erosion. Some say he was picked up by ULFA, a raging bull on Assam’s political landscape. Whether that’s true or not, we haven’t had another Sanjoy back there, a testimony to the fact that the situation is still terrible for Assam (see Sanjoy’s Assam).

3 comments on “>Other India Stories: Indians win ‘alternative Nobel’ — some recognition?

  1. Old Man River
    October 3, 2008

    >My dear,I was reading Sanjoy’s Assam and feeling very sad. It is simply beyond ordinary comprehension the way things have been allowed to deteriorate there. Still, there are stories of human boldness as this one and you are very prompt to mark those news.

  2. anu
    October 4, 2008

    >Hey Nabina, I echo old man river here, how many Sanjays the remote and lost India needs……how often and with such ease this country loses them. Thanks for keeping his message and vision alive by writing about him.While it is frustrating not to be part of on-the-ground-action……writing is useful and necessary part of activism….This piece also reminds me of a long ago article of yours that i read on the web……..About ordinary lives, where you sketched out the life of an ordinary but Extraordinary door-to-door woman entrepreneur. I like your other India series…….see it as the OTHER MEDIA, the much needed one.keep writing……..

  3. fleuve-souterrain
    October 5, 2008

    >thank you Anu! The Other India series just happens to be the stories that concern common public. That article about the woman entrepreneur is a true story, name changed. And all that I wrote there about real life being pushed out by “reel life”, is a something that some of us journalists faced like a nightmare. OTHER MEDIA is so needed, I agree.

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2008 by in alternative Nobel, BBC, Dalit, Majuli, Nabina, NFI, NGOs, other India, Sanjoy Ghose, ULFA.
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