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Dougherty honoured for promoting Gandhian values abroad

Saturday, 7 November 2009 - 1:32pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

Father Peter Dougherty from Michigan received the 'International Award for promoting Gandhian values outside India' from the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation.

A 75-year-old American national, who has been promoting Gandhian principles and ideals outside India for more than three decades, was honoured at the 32nd Jamnalal Bajaj Awards in the metropolis.

Father Peter Dougherty from Michigan, a Catholic priest, peace activist and a specialist in non-violence received the 'International Award for promoting Gandhian values outside India' from the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation last evening at the YB Chouhan Centre here.

"I am honoured and humbled...This is an incredible privilege," said Doughtery, who has devoted almost 33 years of his life in support of abolition of nuclear weapons and forming a Shanti Sena to go into conflict zones in Bosnia, Middle East and Central America aiming at world peace.

The awards constitutes a trophy and a cash prize of Rs5 lakh.

Speaking on the occasion, Minal Bajaj, director Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation, said, "It feels good that people living in both India and western countries follow Mahatma Gandhi's principles and ideologies."

Other recipients who were felicitated on the occasion include Lavanam from Vijaywada, Ayyappa Masagi from Bangalore and Dr Jaya Arunchalam from Chennai.

The awards were presented for valuable work in four categories – constructive work, science and technology for rural development, development of welfare of women and children and for promotion of Gandhian values outside India.

Masagi, who worked with L&T as a mechanical engineer for 24 years received the award for his contribution to science and technology in rural development.

In 1994, Masagi conducted his first experiment on water conservation mainly to save his own farm in his native village Veerapura in Karnataka. Later, he developed several innovative and cost-effective sub-surface water conservation structures to ensure guaranteed crop even in scanty rains in the traditionally drought-prone areas of North Karnataka.

Dr Arunchalam, president of Working Women's Forum (India), a social organisation, working to develop potential of poor women workers in the informal sector was presented the award for development of welfare of women and children.

WWF enhances the social and financial independence of poor women, provides low interest loans to encourage entrepreneurship, facilitates poor women in their struggle to fight for labour, land housing rights for themselves and their children.

Lavanam (79), another Gandhian who was honoured with the Constructive Work Award, has worked for settlements of criminal tribes in Andhra Pradesh, counselled them and provided alternative methods of livelihood to them.

Some of them were also given soft interest loans to open small shops, tea stalls, bicycle repair shops, he said.

The septuagenarian said that his interest in social work began when he was 12 and since then he has continuing with his endeavour to change lives.

All the awardees said they were privileged to receive such an award and it drives them to do more work.

The Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation was established in 1977 in the memory of Jamnalal Bajaj, a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Foundation promotes Gandhian constructive programmes and assists people who have devoted themselves to the national cause.

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