Prahlad, Sardjoe among Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awardees

January 9th, 2009 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha PatilChennai, Jan 9 (IANS) Thirteen eminent overseas Indians, including noted management guru C.K. Prahlad and Suriname Vice President Ramdien Sarjdoe, were Friday conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman at the conclusion of India’s three-day annual convention to connect with its diaspora.President Pratibha Patil presented the medallion and citation to them during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Following is the list of awardees with brief profiles:

Ramdien Sardjoe: The vice president of Suriname, he founded the Hindustani Navyuvak Sabha in 1953 and has been the chair since 2001 of the United Reformed Party, the main party of Indians in the country. He is also patron of several cultural and philanthropic organisations in Suriname.

Angidi Veeriah Chettiar: The vice president of Mauritius, he has been closely associated with the Labour Party in the country. Chettiar was also a close confidant of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the father of the Mauritian nation and its first prime minister. He also served the post-independence governments as a minister.

Soman Baby: Associate editor of Gulf Daily News, he has been recognised for portraying India in a positive light in the Gulf through his writings. Baby is also the founder-member of the Bahrain-India Society and involved with several philanthropic and cultural societies in Bahrain. He is also the author of “Shukran Bahrain” that records the progress made in the Gulf nation over the past 25 years and the contributions made by Indians in the development.

Deepak Obhrai: Member of Canadian parliament and parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, he was instrumental in setting up the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group in 2003. He has also been recognised for his contributions in strengthening Indo-Canadian ties and in serving the interests of the Indian community in the North American country.

Ylias Akbaraly: A prominent businessman in Madagascar, he has been a strong lobbyist for India in the African island nation. He also set up a charitable institution called the Akbaraly Foundation which focused on promoting education and health not just among members of the Indian diaspora but also the Malagasy people.

G. Vadiveloo: The only Malaysian-Indian to be elected president of the country’s Senate, he chairs the disciplinary committee and serves as a permanent speaker of the Malaysian Indian Congress. He was instrumental in implementing the Bukit Cheraka Land Scheme in Subang for displaced estate workers and obtained land for poor and landless Indians in the country. He has always fought for the rights of workers and has been legal advisor for several large trade unions, besides being a patron of the famous Sri Mahamariamman Temple.

Ram Lakhina: His efforts and networking at bringing intellectuals among the Indian diaspora on various platforms in the Netherlands has resulted in institutions like the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin, Foundation of Critical Choices for India and the Netherlands-India Chamber of Commerce and Trade. He is also chairman of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation in Amsterdam and served the Indo-Dutch Chamber of Commerce from 1979 to 2001.

P.N.C. Menon: A noted philanthropist, he is engaged in several charitable and social projects in India, which include a skill development project in Kerala for the economically weaker sections of the society. He has also built a home for senior citizens and widows, a healthcare centre and an exclusive educational institution of global standards for underprivileged children.

Parmananthan Prema Naidoo: A leading figure in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, he upheld the Gandhian principles of truth and non-violence. Naidoo is a member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment in Johannesburg. Post-apartheid, he has been at the forefront in giving a political voice to the Indian community in Johannesburg and neighbouring areas.

J.R. Hangaramani: Founder of the Indian Business and Professional Group in Abu Dhabi, which promotes trade between India and the UAE, he has also been involved in various philanthropic and charitable activities. He has also been involved in getting employment of thousands of Indian workers, sponsoring social and cultural activities and promoting awareness among the Indian workers in the UAE. His R.P. Gangaramani Charitable Trust in Mumbai provides assistance for education and vocational training to the downtrodden.

Baroness Shreela Halther: A member of the British House of Lords, she is the first ethnic minority woman to become a councilor in UK and the first woman to become the mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead in 1986. She has also been vocal in protecting the rights of ethnic minorities and has forceful in projecting India’s viewpoints in various national and international fora.

C.K. Prahlad: Professor at the University of Michigan’s Business School, he is considered among the best thinkers in the area of business. Prahlad has been prolific in the areas of management, perceptions and strategies. He has also maintained his deep interest in the world’s poor and has authored “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”. He was named one of the top 10 teachers in the world by the Wall Street Journal.

Sumit Ganguly: Professor of political science at Indiana University, he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Strategic Studies, Asian Affairs, Asian Survey, Current History and Security Studies. He also made a significant contribution to a better understanding of India in the US with his columns in newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Newsweek. He is also member of the Council of Foreign Relations in New York.

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