Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
“Philanthropy is part of our Indian culture. Unlike foreign countries, India has strong family system and this encourages savings and sharing habit,” said the Chief Guest Shri. S. Gurumurthy, Academician and renowned Commentator on Economic and Political Affairs, giving away the 19th Mahaveer Awards in a high-profile function organised recently (on September 29, 2016) in the city by Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation.
The Chief Guest presented Dr. R.V. Ramani, Sankara Eye Care Institutions, Coimbatore, an award for Excellence in Medicine. Dr. R.V. Ramani is among the four recipients of the 19th Mahaveer Awards and he was recognised for his dedicated and persistent service, especially benefitting economically and socially backward sections of the society. The Award carried a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh, a commendatory citation and a memento.
Chennai-based Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation, since 1995, has been bestowing the prestigious Mahaveer Awards on outstanding personalities and organisations in recognition of their excellence in propagation of `Non-violence & Vegetarianism’, `Education’, `Medicine’ and `Community & Social service’.
Other awardees of the 19th Mahaveer Award are – Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Bengaluru, under the Non-violence & Vegetarianism category; Dr. Sapam Nabakishore Singh of Assam for excellence in Education and Mrs. Shamshad Begum of Chhattisgarh for Community & Social service. A Cash Prize of Rs. 10 lakhs was given to each category along with citation and a memento.
“A survey among one lakh families in India in 2001 underscores this value of our family system with the findings that 2 out of 3 individuals in our rural India in a habitual courtesy are involving themselves in helping others in one or some other way. It is to be noted that 25% of these families have members who have literacy not exceeding third standard,” he remarked.
“On the contrary, in the nations abroad such as America, having more literates, do not enjoy such family system. People there instead of saving, spend a lot – evident from the fact that there are 120 crore credit cards in use among a population that is just 23 crores in America,” he added.
“Charity should be seen as `sharing’ and not `giving’ because `sharing’ makes us feel humble than getting proud of `giving’. This is how our rulers of ancient times lead themselves. They did charities humbly and whole heartedly making the receivers feel great of having it got through such a benevolent gesture. I see the same kind of quality in Sugal Chand Jain who founded the Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation,” concluded Shri. S. Gurumurthy.
Former Chief Election Commissioner of India Shri. T.S. Krishnamurthy presided over the event and released the 19th Mahaveer Award Day Brochure. In his Presidential Speech, he recalled the valuable contribution of the community and said, “The Jain community has been doing excellent work. At a time when violence is spreading across the world, this community is spreading non-violence and love. Non-violence is the theme of India but sometimes violence is needed to eliminate terrorism. I salute our Armed Forces for the work done to defend our borders.”
The awardees were selected based on the magnitude and the impact their services had made in the society for the betterment of lives of the needy and the underprivileged. The Selection Jury comprised eminent personalities representing different domains and headed by Justice Shri. M.N. Venkatachaliah, Former Chief Justice of India.
Including the present 19th Mahaveer Award, the Foundation has so far identified, recognised and honoured 59 individuals and institutions doing selfless service for the welfare of the needy, the weak and the voiceless across the said categories and covering 17 states of India including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh in the north-east to Tamil Nadu in down South. Among 59, South Indian states have so far bagged 20 awards including 13 from Tamil Nadu.
About Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation :
Shri N. Sugalchand Jain and a few of his friends felt that something should be done to ensure that this clan of good Samaritans are identified, nurtured and encouraged not only with a view to focus public attention on their activities, but also to encourage others to take up community and social services as a worthwhile exercise. This initiative took concrete shape in the form of the setting up of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation as a public charitable trust by Shri Jain and the institution of annual awards, namely the Mahaveer Awards to be given away to individuals and institutions whose service to the needy sections of the humanity met the exacting standards of evaluation prescribed by the Foundation. The awards carry a cash component of Rs.10 Lacs each with a memento and a citation.
The cash component, at Rs.10 lacs for each award was, till recently, the highest award given away by an NGO. The Foundation have so far received thousands of nominations since inception for the Awards from all over the country and given away 51 awards valuing Rs 3.35 Crores to various individuals and institutions in Arunachal Pradesh (1), Andhra Pradesh (1), Assam (1), Bihar (2), Gujarat (1), Jharkhand (2), Karnataka (4), Madhya Pradesh (3), Maharashtra (9), New Delhi (2), Orissa (2), Rajasthan (7), Tamil Nadu (11), Tripura (1), Uttarakhand (2), Chhattisgarh (1) and West Bengal (1). Also thousands of sponsors take interest in identifying such agencies and sponsor to the Foundation from all over the country.