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Japanese Gandhian wins Jamnalal Bajaj award

October 04, 2005 19:05 IST

Gandhian P Gopinathan Nair, Ramon Magsaysay awardee Rajendra Singh and Japanese Daisaku Ikeda, who propagated Gandhi's ideals outside India, are among four personalities selected for this year's Jamnalal Bajaj awards.

Social worker Arunaben Desai is the other award winner for uplift and welfare of women and children. Gandhian P Gopinathan Nair has bagged the award for outstanding contribution to the field of constructive work, Rajendra Singh for application of science and technology for rural development and Ikeda for promoting Gandhian values outside India.

The award consists of a citation, a trophy and Rs 5 lakhs in cash while the international award has the same money or its equivalent foreign exchange.

This year's awards will be presented by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen at a function to be held on November 4, according to a statement issued by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation in Mumbai on Tuesday. 

This year's awards received recommendations from 149 people. Justice (retd) C S Dharmadhikari, former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Dr H N Sethna, former Maharashtra governor Air Chief Marshal I H Latif and former deputy chief of the Planning Commission M S Swaminathan headed the various committees that selected the awardees. 

Born in 1922, Gandhian P Gopinathan Nair is acknowledged for a camp movement incorporating participation of villagers in community services, propagating principles of Mahatma Gandhi and constructive social work.

Rajendra Singh, who was presented the 2001 Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership, is associated with 'Gram Swalamban' campaign, which took village empowerment, soil conservation, improved seeds, collation of herbal medicine and shramdan to the village level.

He was instrumental in constructing 3500 water harvesting structures in 750 villages, spread over 6500 square kms in Rajasthan. Consequently, five nearly dried-up rivers namely Ruparel, Arvari, Sarsa, Bhagani and Jahahwali have turned perennial. Singh, 46, is also associated with forest and wildlife conservation.

Social worker Arunaben Desai is associated with fighting immoral traffic of women and girls and untouchability in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The Vikas Vidyalaya started by her in 1946 at Wadhwan for the deprived, now has nearly 79,000 beneficiaries.

She has also launched technical and vocational training schools for girls, besides pioneering several social welfare projects.

Proponent of Gandhism in Japan, Daisaku Ikeda, is president of Soka Gakkai International, a global Buddhist movement that started in Japan in 1930. The movement has a membership of 10 million in Japan and 1.2 million across the globe.

Ikeda has more than 100 works to his credit, that include philosophical treatises, poetry, childrens stories and photographic collections. His writings, speeches and guidance to membership frequently finds mention of Mahatma Gandhi.

He has also founded the Gandhi Institute for Reconciliation, whose objectives include `to heal and revive human hearts and minds deeply wounded by violent ideologies and open the way for new chapter in human history'.

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