We often see the news of recipients of awards returning their awards to express their protest against something but this time a politician has denied her nomination to the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award. Foundation's Trustees who decide the recipient of this award every year are shocked by this move of the CPI(M) leader K. K. Shailaja.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is considered the 'Nobel Prize' of Asia. It is an honor given by the The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation which was established by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund along with the Government of Philippines. It is awarded in 6 categories which includes public service, Government service, community leadership, peace and international understanding, journalism, literature & creative communication. After 2009, a new category of 'emergent leadership' was added in the list.
Who is K. K. Shailaja and why did she deny the offer?
She is a staunch supporter of communism and this ideology is the reason behind her denial for the offer of The Ramon Magsaysay Award. She has cited the reason that Ramon Magsaysay was an 'anti- communist' leader of the Philippines and accepting the award of his name will be seen as an attempt to compromise the ideology she has always believed. Ramon Magsaysay has been the reason for the oppression of communists in the Philippines that too very brutally. This is the reason why other leaders of her party are in favor of her decision.
Who was Ramon Magsaysay?
Ramon Magsaysay was the president of the Philippines from 1953 to 1957. His tenure is tagged as the 'golden era' of the Philippines. He facilitated many administrative as well as military reforms in the country.
During the time of the Second World War, he fought against Japan in the guerrilla warfare technique as a soldier of Philippines' Infantry Division number 31. Even the US recognised his contribution against the fight with Japan and praised him. The Philippines got independence in 1946 and Ramon Magsaysay began his political career. He reached the House of Representatives in the Philippines and became a famous personality. In the 1950s, he was made the 'Secretary of National Defence' in the Philippines which was the top leadership for the military and was given the task of suppressing the 'Huks movement'. He gained the position of president of the Philippines in 1953. Following a plane crash in 1957, he died in mysterious circumstances.
Ramon Magsaysay as an 'anti-communist'
The fact traces its origin in the pre-colonial era. The peasants of the Philippines who were distressed with inequalities stirred up a movement famously known as 'Huks movement' or Hukbalahap movement. These people were fighting against Japan and the US was giving assistance to them, so they became a very highly skilled and organized group under the commandership of Luis Tirac. After the independence, some misunderstanding brewed between the Huks and US and then the Philippines government started destroying the Huks. Huks were being hunted vigorously by the government as they were controlling a large part of the Philippines at that time. People were supporting the Huk movement because the government of the Philippines had failed to bring land reforms which were much awaited by the people of the Philippines. Later, president Elpidio Quirino appointed Ramon Magsaysay as the Secretary of National Defense and gave him the herculean task of abolishing the Huk movement. Ramon Magsaysay launched 'Economic Development Corps' and asked the Huk people to leave the guns and the government will help in rehabilitating them. Many people accepted this offer. After becoming president of the Philippines in 1953, he launched the operation 'Thunder Lightening' which brutally killed the people of the Hukbalahap movement who were not ready to surrender. This way, the Huks movement was abolished completely. Now the people of the Huk movement were fighting with the communist ideology which is also known as the far-left ideology which was not acceptable to the government of the Philippines. Being the president, it was the moral responsibility of Ramon Magsaysay to give their countrymen a stable and responsible government and execute the reforms which were for the benefit of the people and he was successful in doing that.
Indian recipients of the award in the past-
Till now, 58 Indians have won this medal. From Vinobha Bhave, Ravi Shankar, Mother Teresa to Varghese Kurien, Satyajit Ray, Mahshweta Devi, Indians have made their mark. Among the famous recipients of the award, the current chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has also won this medal a few years back.