The Praful Bidwai Memorial Award 2017
The Praful Bidwai Memorial Award is intended to honour and highlight courageous and independent voices in journalism. This years recipient of the award is Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS, Maharashtra Blind Faith Eradication Committee)
Praful Bidwai, regarded by many as one of the best investigative journalists South Asia has produced, died tragically in Amsterdam on 23 June 2015. His friends created this award to honour his legacy.
Set up in 1989 by Narendra Dhabolkar, a medical doctor who was a rationalist and committed public intellectual, MANS has over the years involved itself in multiple social interventions, from battling superstition and caste to educating and engaging with young students. The organisation’s prime focus has been to challenge blind faith and superstition while disseminating ideas of rationalism and secularism. Dr Dhabolkar was shot dead for his vision and activism in August 2013, and within the next two years two other highly respected rationalists, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi, met with the same fate. The fact that their killers were almost certainly members of extreme Hindu outfits testifies to the deep relevance of campaigns of this kind in contemporary India.
Through this award the committee wishes to recognise the invaluable contributions that MANS has made in upholding and promoting the foundational values of modern India, including a commitment to equality, justice, secularism and a scientific temper.
Read the full citation here.