Tokyo: Noted social reformer and founder of Sulabh International Bindeshwar Pathak was today honoured with Japan’s prestigious ‘Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture and Community’ for his significant work in tackling poor hygiene and discrimination.
Launched in 1996, the award honours people in Asia who have made significant contributions in one of the three areas: regional growth; science, technology and innovation; and culture and community. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Infosys Chairman Narayan Murti are among the few Indians who have won the prize in the past.
“This award will be another milestone in my commitment to the service of the society in Asia in particular and world in general,” said 75-year-old Pathak while receiving the award from Chairman of the Award Committee Fujio Mitarai at a ceremony here.
He dedicated the prize to the downtrodden section of the society, according to a statement by the Sulabh International. Mitarai said Pathak was bestowed with the honour for “tackling two of his country’s biggest challenges – poor hygiene and discrimination”.
Pathak’s two-pit pour-flush ecological compost toilets have helped provide low cost environment friendly toilets to millions of people in the developing world. They have also ensured the safety for rural women and freedom from the manual labour.
The award was given under ‘Culture and Community’ category. The other two winners were Ma Jun (Economic and Business Innovation), a Chinese environmentalist, for using the power of the internet to promote cleaner industry and Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem (Science and Technology), a Vietnamese doctor, for bringing cutting-edge medicine to children. Prime Minister Of Japan Shinzo Abe Day met the winners on Tuesday. The awards were created and presented by Nikkei Inc, one of the largest media corporations in Japan.