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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
pu 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.

Conclave

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.

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