PARI Founder Editor P. Sainath has won the Fukuoka Grand Prize – among Japan's very top international awards (open to people from all Asian countries). It was announced this year on June 28. At the awards ceremony – scheduled for end-September – the crown prince of Japan is usually present. Sainath is the first ever winner in the journalism category.

There are three prizes: Academic Prize, Culture Prize and the Grand Prize – the  biggest of the lot. Previous Indian winners of the Academic Prize include Prof. Romila Thapar. Previous Indian winners of the Culture Prize include sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. The last Grand Prize winner from India was composer-musician A. R. Rahman (2016). This award carries a cash prize of 5 million yen (roughly Rs. 33.5 lakh).

To Sainath, it has been given also taking PARI into account. The full citation on the Fukuoka Grand Prize website mentions PARI in the very first paragraph. It says that Sainath is:

"A passionately committed journalist who has continued to investigate impoverished farming villages in India, listen to voices from the rural population, capture the reality of the people’s lifestyle, and report 'rural stories'. As Asia goes through turbulent changes, Mr. Sainath has been seeking new 'knowledge' and promoting civil cooperation. For this reason, he is a very deserving recipient of the Grand Prize of Fukuoka Prize."

Sainath has announced that the cash prize (about Rs. 33.5 lakhs) will be used this way:

1) Rs. 12 lakhs will contribute to helping families of rural journalists who have died of Covid-19 -- 25  families will get Rs. 50,000 each

2) The remaining amount of a little over Rs. 20 lakhs will go towards setting up 10 new PARI fellowships for rural journalists working in Indian languages, and from Dalit and Adivasi communities.

These are the  details and Sainath’s acceptance speech . The website of the prize has photographs of Sainath in the field and at one of his many talks with a houseful audience. There is even a photo of the entire PARI team .

During his 40 years in journalism , Sainath has won over 50 national and international awards, and journalism fellowships. But he has also declined a few, like the Padma Bhushan, which is given by the government of India.

He has taught thousands of journalism students and continues to teach over a hundred of them each year. He also mentors scores of reporters, and inspires several photographers, filmmakers, editors, writers and readers.

This is PARI’s 30th prize in six and a half years of our existence.

Other recent big wins

On June 3, 2021, the PARI series on Women’s Reproductive Health Rights won a Special Mention in the Asian College of Journalism Awards, 2020 in the Investigate Journalism category. The reporting in the ongoing series, in collaboration with the Population Foundation of India, is the work of an all-women team of reporters. Those whose reports figured in the series winning a special mention include:

Kavitha Muralidharan, Anubha Bhonsle, Priti David, Amruta Byatnal, Jyoti Shinoli, Sanskriti Talwar, Pallavi Prasad, Medha Kale and Jigyasa Mishra for their stories from February to November 2020.

On April 5, 2021, the Spoorthidhama Foundation in Karnataka – an organisation dedicated to the values and ideals of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar – announced a lifetime achievement award for PARI founder editor P. Sainath for his “exceptional contribution and commitment to journalism,” his “exemplary service through PARI,” and his “concerns towards socio, economic and political inequalities.” The award, carrying a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, was conferred online on April 14, Ambedkar Jayanti.

This is the 30th award won by PARI since we launched in December 2014. The full list so far follows.


People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI): Awards received from 2015 to 2021

30. Fukuoka City Foundation and Citizens of the City, 2021
P. Sainath wins the Fukuoka Grand Prize for his outstanding journalism and as the founder of PARI. The award is conferred every year to honour individuals who have made contributions to the fields of Asian studies, Asian art and Asian culture.

29. ACJ Journalism Awards, 2020

PARI Women’s Health series wins the Special Mention award in the Investigative Journalism category for stories published in the series in the year 2020. The award goes to: Kavitha Muralidharan, Anubha Bhonsle, Priti David, Amruta Byatnal, Jyoti Shinoli, Sanskriti Talwar, Pallavi Prasad, Medha Kale and Jigyasa Mishra for their stories from February to November 2020 in the series: PARI series on women’s health

28. Spoortidhamma Foundation
P. Sainath wins the Bodhivruksha Award for his journalism work and as the founder of PARI. The award is conferred every year on people who have dedicated their lives to enable and empower the socially excluded communities through their meaningful interventions.

27. WAN-IFRA ‘s South Asian Digital Media Awards, 2020
The PARI Team won the silver prize of WAN-IFRA ‘s South Asian Digital Media Awards , 2020. PARI bagged the Silver in the category 'Best Special Project for Covid-19'. Beginning from the last week of March, PARI has published nearly 150 landmark stories and stories and documents related to impact of the lockdown on the livelihoods and daily lives of the most marginalised segments of India.

26. Press Institute of India-International Committee of the Red Cross media award
PARI Reporter Jigyasa Mishra won a Press Institute of India-International Committee of the Red Cross media award for her story Footprints of protest in the sands of a mine (June 6, 2020) in the category Best Article on a Humanitarian Subject. The story records the courageous and inspirational battle of women farmers to save the Ken, one of Bundelkhand’s major rivers, from the depredations of a sand mining mafia.

25. Laadli Media and Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity, 2020
PARI Reporter Jyoti Shinoli won a Laadli Media and Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity, 2020 for the story No crime, unending punishment (August 10, 2018), a searing account of the unending persecution of the Pardhis, a de-notified tribe.

24. Prem Bhatia Memorial Trust, New Delhi, 2020
The PARI Team won the Prem Bhatia Award for journalism on Environment and Development issues “for its extensive field reports, including climate change effects and the impact of the pandemic on rural India.”

23. Public Relation Council of India, Bengaluru, 2020
PARI Fellow M. Palani Kumar won the Communicator of the Year – Best Story of the Year award for Tamil Nadu’s seaweed harvesters in rough seas . This is a photo story about an unusual activity of the fisherwomen of Bharathinagar in Tamil Nadu, which keeps them more in the water than on boats. And how climate change and overexploitation of marine resources are eroding their livelihoods.

22. Public Relations Council of India, Bengaluru, 2020
PARI Reporter Jyoti Shinoli won the Communicator of the Year – Best Content of the Year award for her story Pardhi school bull-dozed by Prosperity Highway . The story is about a school in Amravati district, Maharashtra, started by a Phanse Pardhi teacher for kids from his long-stigmatised and impoverished community, which was demolished on June 6, 2019, leaving them anxious and uncertain.

21. Press Institute of India  and the International Committee of the Red Cross, New Delhi, 2019
PARI Fellow Urvashi Sarkar won the first prize in the Best Article category for her article ‘ Our houses are vanishing. Nobody cares ’. The story tracks climate-related displacement and looks at the migration of people between Sagar and Ghoramara Islands in West Bengal, and the vanishing of islands, homes and livelihoods.

20. Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2019 (October 17-24)
PARI Fellow Yashaswini Raghunandan’s film was selected for the INDIA GOLD category at the festival, for her  film That Cloud Never Left.

19. FILAF film festival, Perpignan, France: Festival International du Livre d'Art et du Film, 2019
PARI Fellow Yashaswini Raghunandan won the GOLD FILAF at the FILAF film festival in France ( Festival International du Livre d'Art et du Film ) for her film That Cloud Never Left .

18. Tutti I Premi Del Pesaro Film Fest, Pesaro, Italy 2019
PARI Fellow Yashaswini Raghunandan received a special mention for the film That Cloud Never Left at this festival in Pesaro, Italy.

17. Mumbai Press Club, 2019
PARI Reporter Jyoti Shinoli won the Red Ink Award in the Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality category for her story Collecting 6,000 leaves a day for a living , published on PARI on May 3, 2018.

16. Indian Express Group, New Delhi, 2019
PARI Fellow Parth M. N. won the Ramnath Goenka award (in the Uncovering India Invisible category) for his series of stories on Marathwada published on PARI.

15. The Statesman, Kolkata, 2018
PARI Author Puja Awasthi won the Statesman Prize for Rural Reporting for two stories published on PARI on July 5 and August 3, 2017: Beaten but unbowed Sunanda Sahoo's silent struggle and Drums and dreams beyond pickle and papad .

14. Population First, New Delhi, 2018
PARI Fellow Urvashi Sarkar received the Laadli Media and Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity, 2017, in the Features category for her story Widowed by tigers, abandoned by the state , published on PARI on October 12, 2017.

13. European Commission, Brussels, Belgium, 2018
PARI Fellow Parth M. N. received the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize for the story Cutting cane for 2000 hours published on PARI on February 6, 2018.

12. South Asian Short Film Festival, Kolkata, 2018
15 of PARI’s video films were selected for SASFF-2018: 13 films in the Competition Documentary category and 2 in the Official Panorama category (the films are listed below).

11. Parigi Hanumantha Rao Foundation, Andhra Pradesh, 2018
PARI Fellow Rahul M. received the Parigi Hanumantha Rao journalism award for 2017-2018, for his stories published on PARI.

10. Vasant Vyakhyanmala, Pune, Maharashtra, 2018
The first Justice M.G. Ranade Award (inaugural year), recognising the unique nature of the new journalism “initiative called the People’s Archive of Rural India .”

9. Sri Murugamath, Vhitradurga, Karnataka, 2017
The Basavashree Award for “service rendered through the People’s Archive of Rural India to the rural folk in the way of a Journalism Movement.”

8. Appan Menon Memorial Committee, New Delhi, 2017
Appan Menon Memorial Award for “the work being done by the People’s Archive of Rural India to document life in rural India.”

7. C-Shell Media and Literary Awards, Dubai, 2017
C-Shell Journalism Prize, for “extraordinary and in-depth reporting of rural India and the unique achievement that is PARI.”

6. Kesari Mahratta Trust and Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune, 2017
The Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak award for Excellence in Journalism to P. Sainath/PARI (recognising his launch of PARI).

5. Anant Bhalerao Smriti Foundation, Aurangabad, 2016
The Anant Bhalerao Smriti Puraskar for “incisive reporting of rural India, the People’s Archive of Rural India and its approach to boosting journalism in Indian languages.”

4. Krantisinh Nana Patil Foundation, Sangli,  Maharashtra, 2016
Krantisinh Nana Patil Memorial Award for P. Sainath (recognising, also, the importance of PARI).

3. National Film Awards, Government of India, New Delhi, 2016
PARI Fellows Nidhi Kamath and Keya Vaswani received the Silver Lotus (Rajat Kamal) for the Best Promotional Film at the 63rd National Film Awards 2016 for their film Weaves of Maheshwar , published on PARI on May 2, 2016.

2. Praful Bidwai Memorial Committee, New Delhi, 2016
The first Praful Bidwai Memorial Prize for “reportage and commentary on agrarian distress and the source of information and inspiration that is PARI.”

1. Population First, Mumbai, 2015
PARI Fellow Purusottam Thakur received the Laadli Media and Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity 2014-15 in the Best Investigative Story category for the story Making history, heading for a hundred, published on PARI on March 20, 2015.

Special Mention: In April 2020, the United States Library of Congress informed us that they had selected the PARI website for inclusion in their web archives: "We consider your website to be an important part of this collection and the historical record."

Competition: Documentary

1. Archana Phadke/ Captain Elder Brother’ and the Whirlwind Army / India/ Marathi/ 06M
2. Shreya Katyayini/ Tussar: The Crumbling Cocoon / India/ Hindi/ 12M
3. Sinchita Maji/ Heavy Lifting in the Hills / India/ Marathi/ 09M
4. Sayantoni Palchoudhuri/ Jahangir's Story / India/ Hindi/ 08M
5. Sayantoni Palchoudhuri/ Vote for Boat / India/ Hindi/ 08M
6. Stanzin Saldon/ The Loom is My Love, My Legacy / India/ Ladakhi/ 09M
7. Sinchita Maji/ Basudeb Baul / India/ Bengali/ 12M
8. Ankan Roy/ Bahurupi: A Family of Many Faces / India/ Bengali/ 10M
9. Shreya Katyayini/ When the Queen Strikes / India/ Hindi/ 15M
10. Anubha Bhonsle & Others/ Ima Keithel: Every Day is Women’s Day / India/ Manipuri/ 15M
11.Aparna Karthikeyan/ The Dance of the False Legged Horse / India/ Tamil/ 18M
12. V. Sasikumar/ Mending Boats with Music / India/ Malayalam/ 15M
13. Purusottam Thakur/ The Fading Weaves of Duajhar / India/ Odiya/ 16M

Official Selection: Panorama – Documentary

14. Sinchita Maji/ Threadbare in Santipur / India/ Bengali/ 13M
15.  Sinchita Maji/ Dhol on Wheels / India/ Bengali/ 06M

South Asian Short Film Festival, March 2019: List of PARI videos/films

Competition: Documentary

1. Sinchita Maji/ Ganpati Yadav's Gripping Life Cycle / India/ Marathi/ 17M
2. Ankan Roy & Others / Possessed by His Art, a Bahurupi Transforms /  India/ Bengali /05M
3. Vishaka George & Others / I Feel So Happy to See the Paddy Growing / India/ Malayalam/05M
4. Anubha Bhonsle & Others / Into The Chakshangs Of Imphal / India/ Manipuri, Meitei/05M
5. Subuhi Jiwani/ Farming Doesn't Give Us Our Sustenance / India/ Hindi/04M