Winner: Ms Manisha Devi, Haryana

Nominated by: Mr Sham Bhat, US

Award Committee:

Chairperson: Ms Cynthia Stephen,Bangalore: Independent researcher


1. Prof Shiva Shankar, Chennai: Professor of Mathematics in Chennai Institute of Mathematics

2. Ms Thenmozhi Sounderrajan, US: Writer, filmmaker, singer

3. Mr Lalith Khandare, US: PhD student and Activist, Indiana University

4. Mr Jayant Pathri, Mumbai: Writer, blogger, activist

Chairperson’s announcement:

As The Chair of the Ambedkar Award Committee, I am very pleased to announce that the Committee has selected Ms. Manisha Devi as the  recepient of the current year’s award.

In the interests of transparency, I give the  rankings awarded by each member and the chair to the  individuals nominated. As already discussed the entry of the  Late Mr. Yengde was kept out, as the feeling was that the  award should go to a living person. I suggest however that  it behoves us as the committee to announce the nominations  as well, since it is a matter of honour to receive a  nomination, and also that we should honour the work of the  deceased nominee by issuing a certificate of commendation to the members of the family as a consolation for having lost a  visionary and good community leader and parent.

The rankings were as follows, in the order indicated against the names:

Jayant :              Jaysridhar, Manisha,  Shisir, Kumar, Prabhakar

Thenmozhi:      Manisha, Prabhakar, Kumar, Shisir, Jaysridhar

Lalit:                   Manisha,   Jaysridhar, Kumar, Shisir, Prabhakar.

Shiva Shankar:  Manisha, Jayasridhar, Shisir, Prabhakar, Kumar.

Cynthia:             Prabhakar, Manisha,  Jaysridhar, Kumar, Shisir.

Manisha emerged a clear winner with three first rank and two second rank nominations.  The rest of the candidates were almost neck-to-neck, as you can see.

Thanks to the committee members and Ben for placing confidence in us, and I hope it has selected a worthy winner.

Congratulations to the winner and all the nominees.


(Chairperson, Ambedkar Award Commite)

Nominations received:

Name Place Nominated by Comments
Dh Shishir Bhadke Jharkand Talkho Mahji
Rajendran Prabhakar Karnataka Edward Shamprasad
Late Mr Milind Yengde Maharashtra Suraj Milind Yengde He is passed away after nomination. committee will decide.
Dr. Kumar Nagelli Andhra Pradesh Bhasker
Manisha Devi Haryana Sham Bhat
Jayasridhar Shanmugam Tamilnadu Nabiya Ethiraj

 Guidelines for selection:

  1. Correspondence with be done only among the committee members.
  2. Members evaluate the applicant from 1-5 and send it to chairperson. 1 implies more deserving and 5 implies less deserving.
  3. Members send their evaluations to committee chairperson. Chairperson in consultation with committee members finalizes the winner.
  4. Chairperson announces the winner.

Format to use:

Name of the committee member:

Name of the nominee Evaluation (1-5) Reasons (please write a paragraph)
Dh Shishir Bhadke x x
Rajendran Prabhakar x x
Late Mr Milind Yengde x x
Dr. Kumar Nagelli x x
Manisha Devi x x
Jayasridhar Shanmugam x x

About the winner

Manisha Devi is a fiery 28 year old Dalit women’s activist from Haryana. As the director of the Haryana AIDMAM chapter she has been a firebrand for her family, the community, and the nation. Her background is humble and impressive. Her mother is a widow and works as a cleaning lady to support Manisha and her three sisters and two brothers.

Manisha first experienced discrimination as a member of the Valmiki community in 3rd standard by herschool teacher. She was constantly reminded of her caste and called by her caste name in the school bythe teachers. When her father passed away during her 6th standard her elder brother left his studies and started working as laborer to support the education of his sisters. He worked in double shifts to earn more money to support his family.

To complete her schooling, Manisha and her sister’s education was supported by Dalit woman namedSumita Katheria. Along with supporting their education she also gave them two bicycles. This gave her the freedom to begin her activism as she was now able to travel with her village. It inspired her to begin reaching out to victims of sexual violence in the Dalit community and begin her organizing work with Dalit women in her village. Since her graduation days Manisha continues to be active on campus with Dalit rights based activism. She also attended trainings of Safai Karamchari Andolan and Women in Governance. After much hardship she has completed her graduation and post graduation and is now doing her LLB in Haryana.

From 2007, Manisha has been working with All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch. Earlier she was working as a volunteer but now she is the State Coordinator for Haryana. She is extremely determined, hard working, and powerful Dalit woman. Manisha has a vision to support Dalit girls in Haryana that they can do well in their lives. Also, she wants to build the leadership of Dalit women in Haryana and in the nation.

Through this leadership she became on the national Dalit women’s leaders and has represented the struggle on Television, at Tehelka Think 2013 conference, and in all of the states of the Dalit Women’s Self-Respect Yatra.