Social activist Medha Patkar has declined the Karnataka government’s Basava Puraskara 2010 on grounds of “disagreement with certain State policies and inability of the government to deal with mining scam and other scandals.”
The award carries a citation and cash prize worth Rs. 10 lakh.
Ms. Patkar said:
“It would have been an honour to receive the award in the name of revolutionary saint poet, philosopher Shri Basaveshwara of the 12th century, who promoted social change, reform and harmony, but the collective opinion of movements I am associated with suggests that the Karnataka government has not been able to deal with the mining scam and other scandals.
“The Lokayukta controversy is not yet over and there are disagreements with people’s movements on certain policies related to farmers, workers, unorganised sector workers, slum dwellers and the [State] government’s attempts at privatisation and corporatisation of scarce natural resources — land, water, forests and minerals.”
“I, therefore, would like to state with humility my inability to accept the award, which you may be free to give to any other deserving activist,” she said in a letter to the State government on Tuesday.
Ms. Patkar, who is the founder of the Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements, was chosen for the award for her “contribution towards social change and promotion of the principles which Saint Basaveshwara championed.”
The award was announced by the Department of Kannada and Culture through a government notification dated December 3, 2011.