Swarajya Awards 2017: Celebrating And Honouring The Best Minds Of India  

Swarajya Awards 2017: Celebrating And Honouring The Best Minds Of India  Swarajya Awards 2017

Following a successful two-year run, the third edition of Swarajya Awards will be held in Goa during a special session of the annual India Ideas Conclave organised by the India Foundation, this month. Vice President Sri Venkaiah Naidu will present the awards to the winners and felicitate them.

Swarajya, in collaboration with India Foundation and Indic Academy, has instituted Swarajya Awards to recognise individuals and institutions doing stellar work in various walks of life while being largely committed to advancing values like open market, freedom of enterprise, national interest, innovation, entrepreneurship and celebrating richness of India’s vast cultural heritage.

Selected by an eminent panel and attractive prize money, this award is well positioned to emerge as a prestigious annual event. Four awards (named after illustrious individuals) encompassing economics, politics, society and cultural spheres will be presented every year.

Dr B R Shenoy Award, named in honour of a great Indian free market economist who challenged the Nehruvian dirigisme, will be presented to an individual who has consistently advocated the value of open market, stood for a reduced role for government in enterprise and thereby made a significant contribution to advance human freedom.

Dr S P Mukherjee Award, instituted in honour of a great Indian statesman – politician and an intellectual progenitor of a uniquely Indian political philosophy, will be conferred on an active politician who has consistently strived to uphold values that Dr Mukherjee epitomised – commitment to constitutional values, and thoughtful interventions to enrich the quality of public life.

Sree Narayana Guru Award, named in honour of the great Hindu Social reformer from Kerala who worked for social equality, spiritual freedom and economic empowerment of underprivileged, will be bestowed on individuals or institutions engaged in fields such as transformational social work projects, inspiring grassroots activism in rural education healthcare, tribal welfare, empowerment of marginalised communities and rural entrepreneurship.

Ustad Bismillah Khan Award, instituted in honour of one of India’s greatest musicians who embodied the essence of India’s cultural syncretism and shared civilisational heritage, will be presented every year to an individual who has achieved the highest level of excellence in fields like arts, culture, literature, philosophy and folk tradition.

Each award will carry a citation, a specially designed trophy and a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.

Here’s a list of last year’s winners and a description of their work:

Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda - Winner of the Dr S P Mukherjee Award For Politics

Sri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda
Sri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda

Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda is a leader who complements his ideas of good governance with relentless action. He has been a distinguished parliamentarian; he first entered the Parliament as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2000, then again in 2006, and then got elected to the Lok Sabha from the Kendrapara constituency in 2009 and 2014. In this time, he has made valuable and enlightening interventions in debates on issues of national importance both inside and outside the Parliament, and has emerged as one of the most respected opinion-makers in the Indian public discourse.

In the twenty-first century, India needs a political culture which is driven by both the force of ideas and the force of action. Such an association of thought and work was seen in the life of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, and, a similar association is now seen in the efforts of Sri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda. With his perceptive ideas of governance, and his unflagging efforts behind them, Sri Panda is today an inspiration to all Indians who wish to make a productive contribution to the unceasing project of nation-building.

T C A Srinivasa-Raghavan - Winner of the Dr B R Shenoy Award for Economics

T C A Srinivasa-Raghavan
T C A Srinivasa-Raghavan

The B R Shenoy Award is in honour of India’s bravest free market economist who dared to challenge Nehruvian socialism. Eminent journalist T C A Srinivasa-Raghavan, the second recipient of this award, is also someone who has dared to tilt at the windmills of socialism when it was not fashionable to do so.

Though most of his extended family comprised of bureaucrats, he turned away from the civil services and stepped into the world of publishing, joining Macmillan India as economics editor in 1975. Five years later, he turned to journalism. After three months of reviewing films for the Free Press Bulletin of Mumbai, he joined The Eastern Economist. He has since worked in Financial Express, Economic Times, Business Standard and The Hindu Businessline.

TCA’s razor-sharp mind and deep contacts in the bureaucracy have made him one of India’s most insightful writers on the political economy, showing how even the most well-meaning of programmes get hijacked by bureaucrats and vested interests. His writing has a light touch that makes economics easy for lay persons as well. He was the first to use the term TamBrahm in the Times of India and popularise it. TCA is the author of an e-book, The Crown of Thorns: The Governors of the RBI. In a research project he did for ICRIER in 1988, he was the first to suggest that India should focus on services.

Temsutala Imsong - Winner of Sree Narayana Guru Award For Social Work

Temsutula Imsong
Temsutula Imsong

Temsutula Imsong blazed a trail in the Swachh Bharat campaign and single-handedly turned around abhorrent conditions in one of Varanasi’s famous riverside ghats – the Prabhu Ghat.

Determined to make a difference, Ms Imsong along with her friends mobilised support using the social media. Her team also chipped in with money to buy essential cleaning and protective gear for volunteers. The team spent their evenings clearing the ghats, removing all the dirt accumulated over the decades. The team would work hard in the evening only to find the ghats dirtied again during the course of the next day. The stench of garbage cleared could sometimes get so bad that many of Ms Imsong's team members were unable to eat or even drink water. The pictures they shared of a clean Prabhu Ghat at the end of the day, three of which went viral over social media, won them praise from millions of followers across India, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself.

Mission Prabhu Ghat was a grand success. Ms Imsong’s team had roped in locals, tourists, volunteers and even students to make this possible. After Prabhu Ghat, Ms Imsong’s team cleaned the Babua Pandey Ghat. They have also adopted two small reservoirs, Sonebhadra Kund and Gauri Kund, which have been desilted and cleaned up. Her work now attracts many volunteers, mainly students, who participate in the shramdaan to make their city a little more cleaner.

Ms Imsong’s extraordinary efforts in mobilising and sustaining a team of volunteers to clean up a part of the city she resides in, embodies the true spirit of the Swachh Bharat campaign.

Jaya Jaitly – Winner of Ustad Bismillah Khan Award For Culture

Jaya Jaitly
Jaya Jaitly

Jaya Jaitly is provocateur of a silent revolution in the traditional arts and crafts of India. She has inspired the kaarigars who in turn have inspired her, tirelessly, for decades. Through Dastakaari Haat Samiti, she has created viable platforms for artisans, craftsmen, and weavers, echoing the need to build a market for their work and saving the dying arts.

She has worked at the Gujarat State Handloom Development Corporation, nourishing the old embroidery art in drought-struck Kutch in Gujarat, where stories of economic success and financial sustenance sprouted amidst despair, owing to her determination and efforts.

Smt Jaitly's passion for cultural expressions has infused life into a number of efforts and initiatives meant to preserve and promote our cultural heritage. Her deep understanding of the dedicated community of artisans and their complex social fibre is exemplary. It stems from her seamless interactions with their arts at the grassroots.

She has written several books including Crafts Atlas of India and Vishwakarma's Children, showcasing Indian arts. She has helped evolve the language of arts and crafts by blending them with other facets in her seasoned engagement with culture.

Having worked with three generations of craftsmen, she has encouraged a chain of confidence-driven collaborations between them, generating in the process, several opportunities for the makers of beautiful arts. In her journey as a cultural impresario, she has worked constantly, opening knots of gender, caste and other identities compartmentalising artisans, their traditional skills and ideas.

Event: Swarajya Awards

Venue: Goa

Date: 16th December, 2017

Time: 4 P.M. - 5 P.M.

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