H. K. Dua presents "Charkha" communication awards to Ladakhi women

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New Delhi, Dec 8 (ANI): Three young Ladakhi girls were awarded by the Charkha Development Communication Network for their writings at a function held at Gandhi Smriti here on Tuesday.

The awards were instituted this year to encourge women and differently abled persons from the cold desert of Ladakh to share their perspectives on development in the region through their writings. The effort of the Ladakhis were more poignant as the region suffered from a cloudburst this year.

Eminent journalist and Rajya Sabha member H.K Dua, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, gave away the awards to the winners Ms Kunses Dolma, Ms Stanzin Angmo, Ms Stanzin Kunsang Angmo and differently- abled Mohd Iqbal. .

The function was celebrated to mark the birthday of Sanjoy Ghose, who founded Charkha to promote development responsive to people's needs particularly those on the margins of society.

Sanjoy Ghose, a graduate from the Institute of Rural Management at Anand , a post graduate in Agricultural Economics from Oxford and a major in Public Health from John Hopkins , USA, had decided to work in the north east in the nineties. His career came to a abrupt stop, when he was abducted by the ULFA militants, from Majuli. The largest riverine ilsnd in 1997.

Presenting the awards, H.K Dua said that it was significant that the venue of the function was at Gandhi Smriti . Gandhiji, an outstanding communicator, was able to draw out the thoughts of those who lived in deprivation and despair by using innovative strategies like the 'Salt Satyagraha' to mobilize and give voice to the national sentiment during the Independence movement.

"Though the historical context may have changed, it is equally vital today to listen to and act upon the requirements of those who remain marginalized. This is the need that Sanjoy responded to and set up Charkha and his work has been admirably carried forward by his family and close supporters," he added.

The awards were selected by a Jury comprising reputed journalists and academics under the stewardship of eminent development journalist Usha Rai.

The Special Writers' Award for persons with disability was awarded to Mohd Iqbal who himself is disabled and leads an advocacy network in Ladakh called People's Action Group for Inclusion and Rights (PAGIR).

The network focuses on opening up opportunities for disabled persons in various fields to enable them to become self-reliant and contribute fully to society.

The awardees will continue writing articles on their chosen themes centering around environment, education, or disability.

Expressing themselves at the function, the awardees acknowledged the reach and strength of the platform given by Charkha. This would allow them to develop their writing skills on issues giving the region's perspective.

According to them, the perception of Ladakh from outside was sometimes misleading and did not accurately reflect the needs on the ground. They hoped that through their writings and connection with Charkha, these perspectives will reach the national mainstream, which is important for development of the region.

Eyes were moist when Mohd Iqbal, brought to the podium on a wheel chair, said that he could never imagine that a person like him who lacked education in the traditional sense, was disabled and lived in a remote region, would be selected for an award and given an opportunity to speak to people in the capital of India. He said that would remember the immense opportunity given to him and convey it to those he represented .

The Media Awards have been by Unniti Foundation, which promotes capacity building initiatives among women and children in India and Nepal for self-reliance.

Over the last few years, Unniti Foundation has supported Charkha's initiatives to draw out writings on development issues from Jammu and Kashmir. (ANI)

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