Greatness of Spirit: Profiles of Indian Magsaysay Award Winners


Author: Meera Johri
Publisher: Rajpal & Sons           
(Pp 215, ISBN 978-81-7028-860-2, Rs 175)

The book under review is a stimulating collection of essays to salute the spirit of greatness of more than forty Indian men and women who stood apart in the society and who through their selfless work and sterling leadership have transformed the lives of people in Asia and are honoured with the Magsaysay Awards.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award is given to persons — regardless of race, nationality, creed or gender — who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity, and in doing so have made contributions which have transformed their societies for the better. It is heartening that these men and women have kept the torch of humanity burning by addressing the issues of human development across boundaries of culture, politics or religion with courage and creativity. Many of these awardees have gone on to receive other international accolades as remarkable and inspiring global leaders.

The book spans the last five decades of the life and achievements of these men and women of extra ordinary determination and courage who despite all the odds accomplished what they believed in. Written in a simple and clear language, the collection of brief essays provides a glimpse of the exemplary lives of these great men and women.

While looking at the preliminary pages I noticed that there is no introduction by the author. A brief synopsis before the life sketch of each awardee bringing out the genesis of the life and work   makes more than an introduction the book.  The inclusion of the photographs is an attraction that adds value to the publication.

The book starts with the contribution of Vinoba Bhave, who was among the firsts to win this award in 1958, the year in which the Award was instituted and covers Deep Joshi who was decorated with this honour in the year 2009 for his contribution in community leadership, this book presents profiles of the motivating lives and works of all the Indian Magsaysay awardees till date.

Besides being an enjoyable reading the book will be a valuable addition to reference section of any library.

–GS Jolly

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