President Pranab Mukherjee honors 36th Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation Awardees

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Event graced by Governor of Maharashtra, Shri K. Sankaranarayanan and Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Prithviraj Chavan

INDIACSR News Network

MUMBAI: The Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation honored awardees for 2013 at the 36th Jamnalal Bajaj Awards function. The four awardees were felicitated by respected Chief Guest Hon’ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee in the presence ofrespected Governor of Maharashtra Shri. K. Sankaranarayanan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Prithviraj Chavan the Guest of Honour, Mr. Rahul Bajaj Chairman, Board of Trustees and Justice C.S Dharmadhikari (Retd.), Chairman, Council of Advisors of the Foundation.

Each Award consists of a Citation, a Trophy and a Cash Prize of Rs. 5 lakhs (The International Awardee receives a cash prize of Rupees Five Lakhs in equivalent foreign exchange).

The awards were presented in the following categories:

Award Category

Awardee Name and Designation

Award for outstanding contribution in the field of Constructive Work Shri G. V. Subba Rao (President) of Gramdhan Nirman Samithi, Andhra Pradesh
Award for Application of Science &Technology for Rural Development Smt. Snehlata Nath (Director) of Keystone Foundation, Tamil Nadu
Award for Development and Welfare of  Women and Children (Instituted in memory of Smt. Jankidevi Bajaj) Smt. Vidhya Das (Joint Director) of Agragamee, Odisha
International Award for Promoting GandhianValues Outside India Shri Jean-Marie Muller (Founder) of Movement for a Non-Violent Alternative, France

Mr. Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation speaking at the occasion said, “We are truly honoured to be graced by the presence of Hon’ble President of India  Shri Pranab Mukherjee this year, to felicitate those chosen individuals, who have devoted their lives advocating Gandhian values. We are also thankful to respected Shri K. Sankaranarayanan and Shri Prithiviraj Chavan for partaking in this award ceremony. The awards were instituted by the Foundation to recognize and reward the enduring efforts of the men and women who have devoted their life to promote Gandhian Constructive Work and Values. In my view economic growth and social development can, are and should be complementary processes. The persistence and commitment showcased in the efforts undertaken by this year’s winners is truly meticulous.”

Snehalata Nath,receives the award from the President-Mr.Pranab Mukherjee at JBF Awards)A firm believer of the Gandhi-Vinoba’s ideologies, Shri G. V Subba Rao, inherited his father’s morals and beliefs, when he joined him, with the freedom movement. Shri Subba Rao has contributed to the Bhoodan Movement of Acharya Vinoba Bhave, which later became the Gramdan movement. He initiated the concept of Gram Swaraj for 35 villages. Shri. Rao also worked to form the Sarvodaya Gramdan Co-operatives Societies and on restoration of the lakes, building roads, digging common & agricultural use and activities and for sanitation and hygiene. Shri. Subba Rao worked for prohibition of the arrack and toddy drinking habits among the people of the region especially belonging to the labour class; and made them take a voluntary oath.

He was associated with Khadi production and set up the Gramdhan Nirman Samithi. Between 1993 and 1996, he trained unemployed youth for binding books and tailoring. The “Sarvodaya Challenged Children Residential School” for physically challenged children was set-up under his guidance. With his personal approach and constructive work, Shri Subba Rao has truly made a mark on lives of numerous individuals as a Gandhian.

For the last twenty years, Smt. Snehlata Nath has been working in the field of eco-development, livelihood and sustainability, to bring progression in the tribes of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. One of the directors of Keystone Foundation, Smt. Nath aims at providing a sustainable livelihood support to the community while preserving their traditional way of life and conserving the environment. She initiated work across eight centres in the forested tri-junction of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The idea was to initiate activities related to eco-development which enhance the well-being of the community and promote biodiversity.

Over the years, Smt. Snehlata has provided extensive training to villagers, NGOs, government departments, etc. on topics ranging from sustainable honey harvesting practices to bee-keeping to value addition of Non Timber Forest Produces (NTFPs) etc. All the activities are focused on local manpower development and capacity building. Smt. Nath also works through NGO networks in Chattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh wherein similar work is initiated. Her work is concentrated only on adivasi / tribal communities.

Smt. Vidhya Das has been working in the areas of policy advocacy, fighting for the socio-economic and human rights of the tribal people, natural resource management, formal and non-formal education, awareness generation and skill development involving tribal people’s participation and mobilization for over 25 years. She works for the rights and empowerment of downtrodden, tribal communities in the backward areas of Kalahandi, Bolangir, Koraput, Rayagada districts of Odisha.

Her organization – Agragamee is known for its unequivocal stand for the rights and justice of the tribal, dalit, underprivileged and exploited communities. One of the most successful efforts of Smt Vidhya Das has been her mobilization of tribal women to demand rights over minor forest produce. Through her close involvement, Smt. Das has been able to mobilize and inspire tribal women to undertake a sustained and systematic struggle on this issue.
This eventually lead to a policy change at the State level, ensuring that the rights for minor forest produce were handed to the Panchayats in all the tribal areas of the State bringing about the historic broom revolution which transformed the lives of the tribes. Smt. Vidhya Das’s persistent and painstaking efforts have encouraged around 5000 tribal women from 200 villages, across 5 districts to organize groups to take up the challenge and address issues of discrimination, exploitation, corruption and violation of basic human rights.

A professor of philosophy until 1970, Mr. Jean-Marie Muller left teaching to dedicate himself full time to the study of non-violence and its promulgation in his writings, demonstrations and speaking. For almost 50 years, he has been a spokesperson and facilitator of the Movement for a Non-Violent Alternative (MAN), which he founded in 1974. In 1984, Mr. Jean-Marie Muller participated in the creation of the Research Institute for the Non-violent Resolution of Conflicts (IRNC).  He is the Director of Studies at the Institute.  Between 1985 and 1992, Mr. Jean-Marie Muller was a lecturer at the Institute of Political Studies at the University of Lyon where he taught a course on the strategy of non-violent action.

MAN promotes the principles and the methods of non-violent strategy, to support a positive resolution of the interpersonal, intercommunity or international conflicts.  By thinking, acting and training, MAN thus seeks to promote justice and freedom.  Mr. Muller reaffirms his conviction that humankind will not be able to meet the challenges that the world presents today if it does not follow Gandhi’s intutions, as he invites us to revisit our inheritance and our historic traditions, and to become aware of our compliance with the reign of violence, kept in place by their own culture.

Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation was established in 1977 in the memory of Jamnalal Bajaj, a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. The Foundation strives to serve the ideals to which Jamnalal Bajaj had dedicated his life and promotes the kind of Gandhian constructive activities in which he himself was deeply involved during his life-time.

Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation has instituted four awards which are given annually. The objective of these awards is to recognize and suitably reward the efforts of men and women who have dedicated their life to Gandhian constructive work and ideals which Jamnalal Bajaj had cherished all his life.

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