THP-India Honors Journalists for Reporting on Women's Leadership

Minister of State with Independent Charge for Women and Child Development

Sarojini Naidu Prize 2012

“A little innovation at the level of the Panchayat has led to a revolution, in the face of the Nation."

The Hunger Project hosted its twelfth Sarojini Naidu Prize ceremony in India International Centre, New Delhi on the 1st of October, 2012. Dignitaries and eminent government officials from the Government of India, representatives of UN bodies and academics attended the occasion to felicitate the award winning journalists and meet the thirty Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) from seven states of India.

The Hunger Project-India awards the Sarojini Naidu Prize annually to three outstanding journalists for reporting on the breakthroughs and success stories of women's leadership in local government throughout India.

The Honourable Minister of State with Independent Charge for Women and Child Development, Government of India, Smt. Krishna Tirath (pictured) was the Chief Guest of the occasion. Smt. Gursharan Kaur, wife of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Sreenivasan Jain, Managing Editor NDTV, were the Guests of Honour.  The Norwegian Ambassador Mr. Eivind S. Homme released The Hunger Project’s book Thus Spoke the Press (Volume 7) - Select articles on elected women representatives in village Panchayats and spoke of the Government of Norway’s support for women’s increasing participation in local governance.

A vociferous Sarpanch, Hansa Devi Kotwal from Dungarpur District of Rajasthan stole the hearts of the guests with her candor and her inspirational testimonial. She said, “I came to Delhi yesterdayand I am awestruck… the wide roads, the tall buildings, the numerous hospitals and schools… I guess, now I know why I got elected by people in my Gram Panchayat, I have to bring about some of this development in my village!" With a hall in applause of a young Hansa Devi Kotwal, Smt. Gursharan Kaur admitted that there is much for all of us to learn from Hansa Devi and the other Elected Women Representatives present. She further added referring to the 33% Reservations of Women in Panchayat, that “a little innovation at the level of the Panchayat has led to a revolution, in the face of the Nation."

Mr. Jain from NDTV also added how it is extremely important for National News agencies to cover stories and realities of local governance. He showed his appreciation for the award winning articles and spoke of the stories of the meticulous work done by the various Elected Women Representatives which was covered in the book Thus Spoke the Press.

This year, from a total entry of 1,259 articles, 45 articles were shortlisted and four have been awarded the Sarojini Naidu Prize 2012. In the English category, the Prize was awarded to Sandhya Christabel D’Souza for her article "Laila Ladies Ensure ‘Safety’" published in the Deccan Herald, Mangalore. In the Hindi Category, it was awarded to Dilip Bidawat for his article "Samarda Panchayat- A symbol of Human Development" published in Dainik Jalte Deep, Jodhpur and in the Regional Language category, was awarded to Nandita Datta for "Jharna Kapali- a Relentless Leader" published in Aajker Fariyad, Agartala. A special jury citation has also been awarded to Uttam Malviya for "Half the Population Bringing about Full Development" published by Nav Duniya in Bhopal.  

Smt. Krishna Tirath, the Honourable Minister of State with Independent Charge for Women and Child Development, Government of India, addressed the gathering, stressing the importance of Panchayats and said, “Elected women representatives can ensure that the various schemes and policies of the Government reach the people in remote places." She concluded by saying that there should be one third reservation of seats for women in the Parliament and the State Assemblies since women are pivotal in bringing positive change in the country.

More event photos on Flickr!

Reported by THP-India