Jockin Arputham :
Magsaysay winner Jockin Arputham's vision and determination helped transform the lives of slum dwellers in India and abroad.
Men and women pour out of their homes as Jockin Arputham walks into a residencial complex built by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) at Mankhurd, a Mumbai suburb. By the time this short man-he is just five feet-enters an office on the ground floor of Building No.98, he is surrounded by residents holding out papers and identity cards.
Bowing in acknowledgment, Jockin sits down and begins scanning the papers. Three telephones ring incessantly. Even as he speaks into one, he waves over the people who keep streaming into his office. Is he a Nayakan (godfather)? He is, in the noblest sense of the term.There is something that sets him apart, despite his weather-beaten face, crumpled full-sleeve bush shirt and old-fashioned non-pleated trousers.
The winner of this year's Roman Magasaysay award for community leadership and international understanding has a certain candour in his eyes and a humble yet reassuring smile. People in MHADA colony swear by him. He has helped them move up in life-literally, from slums to 225-square-foot flats.
Aruna Roy :
The call from Manila, Philippines, put Aruna Roy in a quandary. She was told that she had been selected for the Ramon Magsaysay award. "Would she send her acceptance?" asked the lady at the other end of the line. But according to the norm Aruna and her organisation, the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), had set for themselves, they were forbidden from accepting an individual award for the work that was collective.
Twice before - for the Diwaliben and the Rotary awards - Aruna had found an answer to her dilemma when the two foundations agreed to give the award to the MKSS. But the Magsaysay Foundation had only one award, in the category of international understanding, which could be conferred on an organisation. Moreover, they had also taken into account Aruna's voluntary work in Rajasthan since 1976 - years before the MKSS was set up in 1990
After much debate with her family and friends, Aruna decided her cause would be served best by accepting the Magsaysay. She decided she would take another MKSS worker, Chunni Singh, to Manila to share the ceremonial limelight and use the prize money to set up a trust to further human rights and democratic struggle.