New Delhi: Someone had once quoted, “It is worth walking the extra mile, if at the end of it you know you have brought about a change.” With the same fervor, The Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM)  also decided to walk the extra mile to reach out to one of the greatest social and civil rights activists of the present times – Irom Chanu Sharmila. A 3-member team from IIPM, led by its Founder-Director, Dr. M K Chaudhuri recently visited Sharmila in her room at the high-security ward of the government-run Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital at Porompat in Imphal East to confer upon her the IIPM-Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize. The award, consisting of a gold medal, a citation and a prize amount of Rs. 51 lacs (over USD 100,000) acknowledges her selfless and determined struggle to restore peace and justice in Manipur.

Accepting the award, a visibly emotional Sharmila commented, “My struggle is not for awards or money. My struggle is for peace and justice. I will not be happy until my goal is achieved.” She added, “I want the creation of an international fund by an international body for dispensing justice and I want to donate the cash award to such a fund.”

An equally emotional Dr. M K Chaudhuri, Founder Director – IIPM and Chairman, IIPM Awards Committee stated, “It makes me feel so proud and satisfied to come in touch with Sharmila. She is truly a living legend - a crusader who has selflessly struggled to bring about peace and justice in her land. She should be looked up as an icon for one and all, who has never swayed away from her vision. We all at IIPM salute her for her courage and grit and will continue to extend moral support to her cause.”

IIPM over the years has instituted various awards to recognize people from different walks of life, who have contributed in their own fields and have tried to become an element of change for the society at large. This year in April, IIPM instituted the Manavata Vikas Award, which was given out to people who have worked in the socio-political domain and in the fields of people centric economics and people-centric management. The awardees included academicians like Dr Ashok Sanjay Guha and Prof Sunanda Sanyal, popular columnists like Gurcharan Das and Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar and social thinkers like painter Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya, Medha Patkar and Mahasweta Devi. In May once again, IIPM instituted the Rabindra Smriti Puraskar in Kolkata and honored some of the greatest individuals who have contributed in spreading Rabindranath’s consciousness through their works among the general mass – actor Soumitra Chatterjee, singer Suchitra Mitra, social visionary Dr Tushar Kanjilal and novelist Selina Hossain of Bangladesh. Once again on 30th August 2010, IIPM declared the USD 100,000 Surama Chowdhury Memorial International Award in Literature, awarding Khaled Hosseini for his depiction of socio-political life in a war ravaged Afghanisthan in his novel – A Thousand Splendid Suns. There were many other awards given out on the same evening in areas of Journalism, Literature and Social Contribution.

11/08/2011 9:20pm

Irom Sharmila Chanu (The standard syntax for Meitei names are first name for the family name, second name for the personal name, and third name though this is very traditional and modern manipuris tend not to use it is for a title. For women the choice is Chanu or Devi and for men Singh or Meitei.

11/08/2011 9:29pm

A three-member Indian Institute of Planning and Management team visited social and civil rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila in her room at the government-run Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Imphal recently to confer on her the IIPM-Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize


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