From: M C Raj <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 9:14 AM
Subject: Karmaveer on 26 Nov.
Jeroninio Almeida is a tall man. You have to look up to have a good view of him. Jyothi and myself are truly short. Besides, he also stands tall in the service sector today. It will be good if many people look up. That will give a clear picture of what he has achieved till now and will give a lead to the future to many. It is a different world that he has created, the world of business, the world of media, the world of politics, the world of bureaucrats, the world of achievers, all put together into nation building with values.
Standing for values! We know what it means. It is a virtual murder in today's world. You have to see your own death, taking place right in front of your eyes if you stand firm for your values. But if you really stand tall then you can see yourself rising from the ashes. That gives you pride with all legitimacy that only committed people can achieve in their lives.
The Karmaveer Puraskar Award is not any ordinary one. No Travel, no accommodation arranged, not even an award dinner given. But people come all the way from New York, from South Africa, from Japan, from London, from France and we from Bangalore. This award is a serious business. It is not glamour. It is a commitment. Accept it if you want, on certain firm value foundations. Frederika Meijer of ICCO and Vidya Bushan Rawat came as our friends to witness the Award Ceremony on 26 November 2011. It is the Constitution Day in India and all participants took a pledge to contribute their mite to make India a socialist, secular and egalitarian country.
The Press conference lasted for an hour. It made a difference. This was followed by the Award Ceremony. Stunning performances of art and culture! Wow! The otherwise abled young people danced their lives out. They also performed yoga in their wheel chairs. This was guided by a Muslim who reads Kuran and Puran at the same time. National Integration of sorts, eh? Deaf children performing Bharata Natyam to perfection! Wow!
We received our awards too! But it mattered very little. The atmosphere of responsibility to the nation and to the world so overwhelmed the participants that the Award to individuals paled into insignificance. However, no one could deprive anyone of the pride in receiving the award. We could see it on the face of many. Brahmins came and touched our feet and addressed us as their Ammaji and Appaji. It was not out of ignorance. It was after knowing very well that we are Dalits. A world is in embryonic stage. We can come together and live together, Dalits and Brahmins. The memento is huge. The Citation will stand tall for life.
Citation for Jyothi read like this:
"Jyothi Raj's commitment and involvement with the poor and the destitute started at the tender age of 14. A post graduate degree in Sociology and a diploma in human resources management have furthered her desire to serve the people of India. Her pioneering worked as the co-founder-director of the Rural Education for Development Society (REDS) has been recognized globally. Jyothi is also the co-founder of the Booshakthi Kendra Charitable Trust. She has addressed several conferences and conducted innumerable workshops both in India and abroad on rural development, empowerment of women and th social, financial and spiritual upliftment of Dalits. Jyothi puts her passion for social service into writing as well – she is the co-author of the famous books 'Cosmosity' on Dalit spirituality, Dalitocracy and DYCHE, The Dalit Psyche and has penned several articles on various issues that afflict society. Jyothi has been awarded the Deshasnehi Award by the India Development Foundation, the Diwaliben Mohanlal Mehta Award, The CROWDS organization and the Voice of Dalit International in England."
Citation for Raj reads like this:
"Affectionately known as Appaji, M C Raj is the co-founder of the Rural Education for Development Society (REDS) and the Booshakthi Kendra, the International Dalit Cultural Center. Having devoted his life to the pursuit of providing Dalits with a voice, he has initiated numerous campaigns for the social upliftment of the downtrodden masses. Some recent initiatives include the World Parliament of Indigenous Peoples, the Campaign for Electoral Reforms and the Dalit CDM Project. His extensive writings on Dalits and the issues that concern them are widely read – Dalitology, A Book of Dalit Science, Cosmosity, Dalithink-An Adventure into Dalit Philosophy; Dalitocracy, Theory and Praxis of Dalit Politics, Dyche-The Dalit Psyche are only a few of his internationally recognized works. M C Raj received the Ambedkar International Award, 2009 for his book Dyche and the Ambedkar Award in 2001 from Karnataka Government. He has addressed thousands of people at various conferences and gatherings globally and is credited with providing Dalit, social, political and cultural issues with an international platform."
The Chief patron of this Award is Mr. Vasant Sathe who was a very important minister of the central government during the regimes of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
The Conclave on 27 was a grand affair but it was disappointing to see only a thinly spread out group of eminent people. Almost all were in one or other panel. One can say that the Conclave started with a bang with focus on 'From Deceptive to sustainable Peace and Raj being in the first panel. His speech will be sent to you later. Very exhilarating was a panel of students who argues vehemently for nuclear disarmament. Another panel on media was also very interesting. The panel on Kashmir was quite enlightening for many of us who usually live by our prejudices.
There was a Chakra Ceremony at the end. Unfortunately we had to leave before that, as we needed to catch our flight on time.
It was a thoroughly inspiring event.
M C Raj
REDS, REDS Road
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