KATHMANDU, Aug 16: The First Darnal International Award for Social Justice was awarded to Raksha Ram Chamar (Harijan) from Madhesi Dalit community for his struggle to achieve education and justice for Dalits and other marginalized groups.
The award established in memory of social activist Suvash Darnal is presented to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated remarkable commitment toward the fight for social justice and dignity for marginalized people, according to Sarita Pariyar Trust Fund, the organizer.
The award carries a purse of Rs 500,000 will be presented annually on August 15 to commemorate the death anniversary of late Darnal, who succumbed to injuries in a road accident.
After receiving the award on Monday, Harijan — the first Dalit from his village in Kapilvastu district to complete high school and now a lawyer — expressed his commitment to work for justice for the marginalized communities.
During the award ceremony, Professor Larry Diamond of Hoover Institution affiliated to Stanford University, said that it was very difficult to sustain democracy without social justice and inclusion. Carl Gershman, founding president of the National Endowment for Democracy, said that Nepal could be a center of social justice and inclusion if stakeholders work hard jointly.
Similary, Professor Sukhadeo Thorat, chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, suggested non-Dalits to advocate for equal opportunities in order to make Nepal stronger.
Charimaya Tamang, founder of Shakti Samuha and Dalit Civil Society leader Padam Sundas had handed the award to Harijan.