Guha’s fellow winners are the Myanmar writer and archivist, Thant Myint-U, who wins the Fukuoka Grand Prize, and Vietnamese designer Minh Hanh, for the Arts and Culture category. Instituted in 1990, the Fukuoka Prize honours those who have made outstanding contributions to academia, arts and culture across Asia.
“Ramachandra Guha, a leading Indian historian, pioneered the new horizon of environmental history viewed from the general public’s viewpoints. His works present thorough explanations of the complex history of India, a country with a great diversity of languages, ethnicities, religions, and castes.
“At the same time, his books vividly illustrate the actual state of the Indian democratic system, shedding light on our current multi-dimensional and chaotic world,” Guha’s citation says.
“In today’s world, which is becoming increasingly diversified and chaotic amid advancing globalisation, Indian people’s experiences in their modern history provide us with important lessons, as well as a ray of hope for the world’s future. Having served as a storyteller of Indian history, Guha is a truly worthy recipient of the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Prize,” it further says.
The awards will be presented on September 17 at the Fukuoka International Congress Centre. On September 19, Guha will also give a lecture on “Gandhi, India and the World”.
Previous Indian winners of Fukuoka Awards include the artists Nalini Malani, Padma Subrahmanyam, Amjad Ali Khan and Ravi Shankar, the academics Partha Chatterjee, Romila Thapar and Ashis Nandy, and environmental activist Vandana Shiva.
Over the years, there have been two Pakistani winners – Uxi Mufti of the Lok Virsa museum and the qawwal Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the singer Farida Parveen and economist Mohammed Yunus from Bangladesh, the scholar Ram Dayal Rakesh from Nepal, and three recipients from Sri Lanka: the scholars Savitri Goonesekere, Roland Silva and Kingsel DeSilva.
Other prominent recipients in the past include the directors Akira Kurosawa and Zhang Yimou, and the scholars Joseph Needham, Clifford Geertz, Benedict Anderson and James Scott.
With inputs from PTI