7th GARSHOM AWARDS: AWARDEE PROFILES
Garshom Pravasi Ratna Award
Dr. P K S MADHAVAN
Dr. P K S Madhavan, founder Chairman of AWARE - Action for Welfare and Awakening in Rural Environment is a man of great standing by his own deeds. To present him briefly is a hard task but if we were to try then we could describe him as a man who leads a modest life, works 18 hours a day, meditates every day, and takes one meal a day and fasts every Thursday in memory of his mother. He draws no salary or allowance of any kind or any honorarium from AWARE Group. He has dedicated his life for helping the poor and the needy. He teaches Upanishad, Vedas, and Indian Heritage. His teachings blends development issues with ethical and spiritual aspects. Dr. P K S Madhavan is a post graduate in Anthropology. After his education he joined the civil service and worked briefly for the government for about 4 years. Dis-satisfied with his work as a bureaucrat he resigned. He founded AWARE on November 5th 1975 which is today the largest National Development Organization in India. AWARE’s activities are spread over 8760 villages throughout the State of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttaranchal, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Uttar Pradesh. AWARE’s programs are based on Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of self sustaining rural development. AWARE has made 3,000 villages self reliant and helped 2.5 million families cross the poverty line. He hails from an aristocratic family in Palakkad and is a bachelor.
Garshom Pravasi Vanitha Award
MEENA DAS NARAYAN
Mrs. Meena Narayan is a journalist described as ferociously articulate by her own fraternity. She is not only a journalist but also an art lover, art promoter, a spa owner and a philanthropist. While her roots are in Trivandrum, she has had her education from different corners of the world with her schooling in Pune, graduation from Baghdad and post graduation from Mysore. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Partner of Gulf Connoisseur, the leading luxury lifestyle magazine in the UAE and publisher of three specialist magazines. She is the Co-Founder of a charitable club for needy artistes, the Bangalore Club for Kathakali and The Arts. She has had many laurels coming her way. She has been involved in many charitable activities contributing her time and money towards charitable causes in both UAE and India.
Garshom Yuva Pravasi Award
Adv. TONIO THOMAS
Adv. Tonio Thomas is the first Malayalee barrister in the Queensland Supreme Court, Australia. He is an active presence in Malayalee social forums in Australia. He is an activist who has advocated many causes in the socio-legal areas. As a young advocate who is a citizen of Australia since the past 7 years, his efforts to highlight and bring to the attention of the authorities the sentiments of the Indian diaspora towards the violence against Indians in Australia and his legal assistance to the Indian students affected by it is highly appreciable. Adv. Tonio is a post graduate in Legal Practices from Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.
Garshom Pravasi Returnee Award
Mr. Joseph Thomas has had an experience and exposure of over 30 years living in various countries abroad including Singapore and the United States of America. Having achieved success abroad as an entrepreneur, Mr. Thomas had this inner calling to give back to his country and people, thus being an agent of change raising the standard of living by providing employment opportunities. He was appointed as a Notary Public for the State of Florida, USA, since Nov 2005 by the Governor of the State of Florida. His commitment to the society is also reflected in his business as well, as he runs an eco-friendly nature resort at Calicut. His Hill View Valley resort is unique for the responsible initiatives undertaken to cohabit with nature not disturbing it even in little ways while also putting forth efforts to let nature thrive.
Garshom Special Jury Award
Mr. Jacob Mathew has been a proactive member of the non resident Indian community, very actively involved in issues of bother to his fellow pravasi’s. His presence in Kuwait for the past 20 years has seen many issues relating to pravasi’s being handled adeptly and solutions being evolved through his intervention providing great relief to those in distress situations abroad. The most recent was the successful attempt in securing the release of a pravasi who was in the Kuwait jail waiting for the execution of his death sentence.
Garshom Best Malayalee Association Award
KELI, a Socio-Cultural Organization of Indians in Switzerland is an organisation that has been actively promoting Indian art and culture especially among the new generation of the Indian diaspora. Their activities are wide and truly reflect an organisation that stands for its intentions which are as stated, the promotion of the various cultural and traditional practices and putting forth efforts to encourage the new generation to understand and align their thought process in the ways of the rich cultural heritage of their motherland.