The 2008 Right Livelihood Awards – Part 1

The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honour and support those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today”.

It has become widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ and there are now 133 Laureates from 57 countries.

Presented annually in Stockholm at a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament, the Right Livelihood Award is usually shared by four Recipients. One of them may receive an Honorary Award, given to a person or group whose work the Jury wishes to recognise but who is not primarily in need of monetary support. The others share the prize money of 2,000,000 Swedish kronor (approx 223,000 EUR / 310,000 USD / 1,43,60,000 INR). The prize money is for ongoing successful work, never for personal use.

The Right Livelihood Award is widely recognized as the world’s premier award for personal courage and social transformation. Besides the financial support, it enables its Recipients to reach out to an international audience that otherwise might not have heard of them. Often, the Award also gives crucial protection against repression. For the Laureates, the Award has opened many doors, including prison doors.

Unlike the Nobel Prizes (for Physics, Physiology/Medicine, Chemistry, Literature, and Peace), the Right Livelihood Award has no categories. It recognises that, in striving to meet the human challenges of today’s world, the most inspiring and remarkable work often defies any standard classification. For example, people who start out with an environmental goal frequently find themselves drawn into issues of health, human rights and/or social justice. Their work becomes a holistic response to community needs, so that sectoral categories lose their meaning.

This year’s award is shared between four recipients:

1) Krishnammal & Sankaralingam Jagannathan and their organisation LAFTI – LAnd For TIllers’ Freedom (India)

2) Amy Goodman (USA)

3) Asha Hagi (Somalia)

4) Monika Hauser (Germany)

Land for Tillers’ Freedom (India)

LAFTI is based on the Gandhian idea of equitable land distribution as a basis for rural economic development. Located in the village of Kuthur, LAFTI serves hundreds of village communities throughout the Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur districts in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Krishnammal Jagannathan . . .

LAFTI was founded by Krishnammal and her husband Jagannathan in 1981. It has its roots in Bhoodan (the Land Gift) Movement, created by Acharya Vinoba Bave, the spiritual heir of Gandhi and “the first Sathyagrahi”, who for almost 20 years, advocated the concept of Gramdan (the Village Community ownership); it involves landowners voluntarily surrendering their land for community ownership by Grama Sabha (Village Community). The significance of this non-violent land revolution is still to be recognised but Bhoodan and LAFTI movements have been instrumental in distributing 11,000 acres (4,450 hectares) of land to 11,000 landless poor families, through non-violent campaigns for the purchase of land for a reasonable price, or the lease of temple or trust land for cultivation by the village community.

LAFTI is committed to raising the social status and acceptability of the Dalit Caste, the so-called “untouchables”. It has negotiated with the government for land subsidies, and with the banks for reduced interest loans for the purchase of land. LAFTI’s housing scheme was created during the drought period of 1986-87, initially as a means of providing alternative employment. Brick and tile making industry was set up in 10 centers, and later with government subsidies, single room tenements were built with the bricks to replace the crumbling straw huts. It has created Women’s Rights groups and Youth Forums in many villages.

Before . . .

After . . .

An alien Earthling salutes the courageous Jagannathan couple and their noble organisation LAFTI for their untiring efforts in fighting for the rights of the oppressed and enabling Dalits and others belonging to the poorest sections of society to lead dignified lives which was denied to them under the nauseatingly obnoxious caste system. India (and the world) needs many more people like them!

Watch a short video about LAFTI’s noble work . . .

(If the video does not load, you can watch it here.)

கிருஷ்ணம்மாள் மற்றும் சங்கரலிங்கம் ஜகந்நாதனுக்கு என் வாழ்த்துக்கள்!!!

(Sources: and

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This entry was posted in 2008 Right Livelihood Awards, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, affordable housing, agriculture, Amy Goodman, Asha Hagi, கிருஷ்ணம்மாள் ஜகந்ந, குத்தூர, சங்கரலிங்கம் ஜகந்நா, தமிழ் நாடு, திருவாரூர், நாகப்பட்டினம், Bhoodan Movement, caste system, Dalits, destitute, destitution, Earth, Earthlings, farmers, farming, Gandhi Jayanthi, Gandhian movement, Germany, heroes, hope, human rights, humanity, India, justice, Krishnammal Jagannathan, Kuthur, LAFTI, land, Land for Tillers' Freedom, land revolution, landless labourers, life, low-cost housing, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Monika Hauser, movements, Nagapattinam, news, NGO, non-violence, poor, poverty, random, rights, rural housing, social organisation, social workers, Somalia, South Asia, Stockholm, Sweden, Tamil Nadu, The Right Livelihood Award, Thiruvarur, thoughts, U.S., untouchability, village community, villages, women, women's rights, world and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The 2008 Right Livelihood Awards – Part 1

  1. vishesh says:

    Congrats to them ! :D nice video too :) and i join the Alien earthling :P in saluting them :)

  2. Thank you, Vishesh :-P :-)

  3. Good work being done in rural areas. Thanks for bringing it to our notice. I want to write a story based on this and also link this video. Shall I?

    Destination Infinity

  4. Thank you, Destination Infinity! :-) Please feel free to use this post in whatever way you want. I embedded the video from YouTube ( Here is the code:

    Let’s spread the word about the great work that they are doing in rural areas :-)

  5. Thank you. I will write the story shortly.

    Destination Infinity

  6. Pingback: Where do we play? « Destination Infinity

  7. Thanks for linking to this post, Destination Infinity! :-)

  8. Pingback: Where do we play? | Destination Infinity

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