26 July 2012

The Australia India Institute presented the inaugural Baba Amte Memorial Lecture on  Tuesday 7 February 2012

Baba Amte

Baba Amte ( Murlidhar Devidas Amte),(1914-2008), was a social activist and champion of India’s lepers and outcastes. Born to a wealthy Brahmin family in Maharashtra, Amte came to be known as Baba, a nickname acquired in childhood. He trained and practised as a lawyer and became involved in the movement for Indian independence from Britain acting as a defence lawyer for leaders of the freedom movement imprisoned in the 1942 Quit India movement. He spent time at the Sevagram Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi and became a follower of Gandhi. He founded three ashrams for the treatment of and rehabilitation of leprosy sufferers, the disabled and marginalised people. He was also involved in promoting awareness of wildlife preservation and ecological balance. Baba was awarded the Padma Shree, Padma Vibhushan and the Gandhi Peace Prize by the Government of India.

The 2012 Inaugural Baba Amte Memorial Lecture:

Slumdogs versus Millionaires – Rural distress in the Age of Inequality presented by P. Sainath

About the speaker:

P. Sainath, Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu, is the 2007 winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s most prestigious prize (and often referred to as the ‘Asian Nobel’), for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communications Arts. He was given the award for his ‘passionate commitment as a journalist to restore the rural poor to India’s national consciousness’. He was the first Indian to win the Magsaysay in that category in nearly 25 years. He was also the first reporter in the world to win Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Journalism Prize in its inaugural year in 2000.

His other awards include: the United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Boerma Prize (the foremost award for development journalism) in 2000; the Harry Chapin Media Award in New York, 2006; and was the first and only print media journalist until now to win the Inspiration Award at the Global Visions Film Festival in Edmonton, Canada in 2002. He was also the first Indian reporter to win the European Commission’s Lorenzo Natali Prize for journalism in 1995. Sainath’s book Everybody Loves a Good Drought (Penguin India, 1996) has remained a non-fiction bestseller. Working on this book involved covering 100,000-km across India. Sainath used 16 forms of transport for this, and walked over 5,000 km on foot. It has been published in multiple editions and in several languages. The book is in its 31st printing and is presently being used in over 100 universities in India and overseas.

Listen to an interview between P. Sainath and Phillip Adams on ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live

Watch P. Sainath on Australian Network News