won the Magsaysay award.
The Board of Trustees of the Foundation recognised Mr. Sainath for his “passionate commitment as a journalist to restore the rural poor to India’s national consciousness.”
Mr. Sainath is the sixth Indian print media journalist to win the award. The previous awardee was R.K. Laxman in 1984. Mr. Sainath, on learning of the award, said: “This award is as much The Hindu’s as it is mine… If my work has won the recognition it just has, it is because there was a newspaper backing it unreservedly and giving me total freedom of movement and agenda.” He said he would use the award to push the issue of agrarian crisis much harder.
According to the citation accompanying the award, “Sainath’s authoritative reporting led Indian authorities to address certain discrete abuses and to enhance relief efforts.” It added: “Sainath discovered that the acute misery of India’s poorest districts was not caused by drought, as the government said. It was rooted in India’s enduring structural inequalities — in poverty, illiteracy, and caste discrimination — and exacerbated by recent economic reforms favouring foreign investment and privatisation.”
Mr. Sainath joined The Hindu in June 2004 and wrote extensively on the agrarian crisis. He also reported on issues relating to Dalits, caste violence, water, food and hunger, employment, inequality, and media developments. Before he formally joined the staff of The Hindu, he contributed a large number of stories and photographs to the newspaper’s Sunday Magazine and to Frontline.