Report by India Education bureau, New Delhi:One of the most prominent, THE INDIA HARMONY FOUNDATION, has announced that it has chosen Mr. Prasoon Joshi, National Award winning songwriter, screenwriter and advertising copywriter, Padma Shri Alok Mehta, senior journalist and Editor of several National Hindi dailies including Hindi Outlook, Padma Shri Laila Tyabji, an innovative and talented designer and the Chairperson of Dastkar and Ms. Shabnam Virmani, an NID Ahmedabad alumni and a documentary film maker and artist, as the winners of Chishti India Harmony Awards 2013 for their outstanding contribution to the cause of building bridges between communities and making India move towards becoming ONE NATION AND ONE SOCIETY, the motto of India Harmony Foundation.
“We’re extremely happy to honour these distinguished people for their immensecontribution to the cause of promoting peace, harmony, trust and cordiality between communities in India,” said Shri Zafar Saifullah, Founder President of India harmony Foundation and former Cabinet Secretary, Government of India. “India, as a nation, needs more such sensitive people actively working towards creating an environment that is more peaceful and conducive for our youngsters. Let us all learn from their examples and take a pledge to leave our youngsters a legacy they can be proud of!”Founded by a few eminent citizens including Shri Zafar Saifullah, former CabinetSecretary, Government of India, The India harmony Foundation, in the 4 years of its existence, has instituted and conferred the annual Chishti India Harmony Awards from 2010 onwards. The Foundation has made it a point to select as its awardees, individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the promotion of greater understanding of India’s pluralistic society.”The galaxy of awardees in the last three years bear ample testimony to the care which the Foundation has bestowed in their selection. The awardees have been selected only for the work done and results achieved and not on the basis of their eminence or national status,” added Shri Saifullah.
The awardees this year, too, follow the same discriminating tradition.Shri Prasoon Joshi needs no introduction and his various works have been lauded across the nation. Through this award, the Foundation has tried to underscore the ethos of National integration which runs through his compositions such as the poem he composed on Ayodhya, which figured on national television and the various poems composed by him on national issues such as the Uttrakhand disaster, which was again on the national television. Recently, he has composed a poem on Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti on his recent visit to the Dargah.Padma Shri Alok Mehta in his personal life and work has symbolized the same spirit of national integration. He was awarded the Padma Shri for his work as an eminent writer in Hindi as well as an eminent Editor of several National Hindi dailies as well as of Hindi Outlook. His secularism is the guiding spirit of his journalistic career.
Padma Shri Laila Tyabji, also does not need any introduction. As the Founder and moving spirit behind Dastkar her work speaks for itself. Descended from a family of freedom fighters, social workers and outstanding public servants, Laila has made the country and the community proud by her outstanding contribution to the economic well being of artisans in India.Ms. Shabnam Virmani, an outstanding student of NID Ahmedabad, who in an inspired moment after the Godhra riots, has taken to propagating the message of Kabir through her travels across India, producing documentaries and singing the verses of Kabir. Through this she has motivated a large number of groups and individuals to adopt the path of love and understanding cutting across barriers of caste and religion.Since its inception, The India Harmony Foundation has organized a large number of major cultural events across the country in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Amritsar and Jammu & Kashmir showcasing the rich multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual fabric of India.In 2010, The Chishti Harmony Awards were presented by Shri Salman Khurshid, then Hon’ble Union Minister for Minority Affairs to Shri Siddharth Vardarajan, then Resident Editor of “The Hindu” and Pandit Ghulam Dastagir, an Urdu, Arabic and Sanskrit scholar for his work of translating the Holy Quran to Sanskrit.
The second Chishti Harmony Awards, 2011, were given by the Hon’ble Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari to Begum Bilkees Latif for her excellent work in building bridges between communities in Asia’s largest slum cluster, viz Dharavi, Mumbai; and Pandit Yugal Kishore Saran Shastri of Ayodhya, who has worked tirelessly and successfully for the cause of amity between the Hindu and Muslim communities in Ayodhya, after the demolition of the Babri Masjid.The third Chishti Harmony awards in 2012 were presented to Shri Harsh Mander, eminent social worker & member, NAC and Begum Hamida Habibullah, founder of SEWA and former Rajya Sabha MP by Kumari Selja, Hon’ble Union Minister for Culture, Government of India.