RAJIV GANDHI NATIONAL SADBHAVANA AWARD - 2004

Every society has a few exceptional persons as its conscience - keepers. With piercing eyes they perceive the injustices committed and with impassioned accents they rally their fellowmen to fight against evil. One such outstanding concience-keeper of our country is Swami Agnivesh. He has been rightly described as a global firebrand for humanism. There is no endeavour to enlarge social justice within the country and in the wider world in which he is not in the forefront, be it the ending of bonded labour and child labour of all kinds, or the enforcement of equal rights for women. He has been an eloquent champion of the poorer peoples rights in this age of rapid globalisation and also of environmental protection. But above all it is in the fight against religious fundamentalism and the growth of communal hatred that Swami Agnivesh has made his greatest contribution.