Dec 9, 2008

World - 'Champion of downtrodden' Krishnammal gets Alternate Nobel Prize

Stockholm, Dec 9 (IANS) India's 'champion of the downtrodden' Krishnammal Jagannathan was conferred the Right Livelihood Award, popularly known as the Alternate Nobel Prize, at a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament, the Riksdag.

Accepting the award Monday, the founder and chair of the Tamil Nadu based Right Livelihood Award Foundation, said she had been 'blessed' to be in the company of Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Shri Jayaprakash Narayan and Shankar Rao Dev.

'They moulded my thinking in the right path, inspiring me to lead a life dedicated toward the uplift of the landless poor, particularly women', she said.

'They were the role models, living a life of renunciation and voluntary poverty, consuming less and less from the Mother Earth, much before the climate change and the perils of consumption were ever discussed or known to humanity.'

'Amma', as Krishnammal, 82, has come to be fondly known to her legion of fans and disciples in Sweden, shares with the other four laureates the prize money of two million Swedish kronor.

A veteran of India's freedom struggle, Krishnammal and her husband Sankaralingam Jagannathan, founded the Land For Tillers' Freedom (LAFTI) in 1981 to bring 'the landlords and landless poor to the negotiating table, obtain loans to enable the landless to buy land at reasonable price and then to help them work it cooperatively, so that the loans could be repaid'.

The organisation is based in Kuthur village of Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu and serves hundreds of village communities throughout the district and the neighbouring Thiruvarur district.

As many as 91 candidates from 44 countries were proposed for the Right Livelihood Awards this year -- 44 from the developed world and 47 from 'developing' countries.

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