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Shabana Azmi gets Gandhi Peace Prize
October 27, 2006 17:14 IST
Bollywood actor and former Rajya Sabha MP Shabana Azmi received the coveted Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award 2006 for her noteworthy two-decade struggle for slum dwellers through her movement 'Nivara Hakk'.
Shabana, while receiving the award at the House of Commons yesterday, said she was humbled by the honour whose previous recipients include the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others.
''It is a great honour that somehow my name can be linked to Mahatma Gandhi,'' she added.
Speaking on non-violence, the actor said, ''Violence should be discarded not just on high moral ground but on the reality that it does not work. It only spirals downwards. The greatest lesson from the father of the nation is that he was capable of standing up against an adversary, while recognising his rights.''
A member of the executive committee of the Foundation, Omar Hayat, said, ''The Foundation generally gives the awards to unsung heroes. But the trustees felt the dedication Shabana has shown was very much in line with Gandhi's teaching of Satyagraha. The trustees also recognise her work for communal harmony.''
The actor's struggle for slum dwellers has now resulted in the construction of 30,000 homes under a tripartite agreement among the charity, a private builder and the Maharashtra government.
Actor and social activist Vanessa Redgrave, who bestowed on Shabana the prestigious award, said Shabana was a special person and the world desperately needs people like her.
The Gandhi Foundation, presided over by Gandhi director Sir Richard Attenborough, will celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Mahatma's birth in 2009.UNI