Magsaysay Prize -winner P. Sainath (b. 1957) is an Indian journalist who focuses on social and economic inequality, deprivation and poverty, particularly in rural India. Amartya Sen has called him "one of the world's great experts on famine and hunger.” Though the recipient of over 50 national and global awards for journalism, Sainath has also declined several – including the Padma Bhushan, as he believes “journalists should never accept prizes and rewards from the governments they cover and critique.”
Sainath was McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton University in Fall 2012 and has been conferred doctorates by two other Universities. In India, he has taught journalism for 30 years. His book Everybody Loves A Good Drought was declared a Penguin Classic in 2013. All the royalties of this bestseller go each year in prizes to rural reporters writing in Indian languages.
A journalist since 1980, Sainath became a full-time rural reporter in 1993 and has since then spent, on average, around 270 days a year in India’s poorest regions writing from there for India’s largest newspapers, including The Times of India and for The Hindu (of which he was Rural Editor for a decade). More recently, his path-breaking reporting placed India’s ongoing agrarian crisis and farmers’ suicides – 310,000 in two decades since 1995 – on the national agenda.
In 2014, Sainath launched the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), a unique online project on rural India, with its 833 million people, speaking 780 living languages and a bewildering array of stories, occupations, arts, music, culture, and a lot more. PARI, which publishes in 12 Indian languages, is a totally independent multimedia digital platform creating a unique database, the only one of its kind that can lay claim to journalism representative of every region and section of rural people in this incredibly diverse nation.