India’s President Pratibha Patil honoured New Zealand Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award for his outstanding achievements in public life.
Sir Anand was the Chief Guest at the Ninth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held at Vigyan Bhavan from January 7 to 9, 2011.
Speaking at the concluding session, Ms Patil said India was honoured to have Sir Anand at the event.
“We are proud of his achievements. I have had the opportunity to interact with him on two earlier occasions, when he paid a State Visit to India in September 2008, and when he came here during the Commonwealth Games,” she said.
Ms Patil said during discussions, Sir Anand had mentioned that a statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been installed in a prominent location in Wellington.
“Indeed, Gandhiji’s statues have been established in many countries across the world. “He belongs to the whole world. His birthday (October 2) is observed as the International Day of Non-Violence, as he was a true apostle of peace,” she said.
Editor’s Note: Sir Anand unveiled the Statute of Mahatma Gandhi in front of the Wellington City Railway Station on Bunning Street on October 2, 2007. The Statue was gifted by the Government of India. A detailed report with pictures appeared in our October 15, 2007 issue.
Inaugurating the event on January 8, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said Sir Anand had taken keen interest in revitalising relations between India and New Zealand.
“He has been a source of great encouragement for the expansion of our bilateral relations in all fields. His achievements in the fields of law, jurisprudence, public service and international relations, and his deep knowledge of several languages are a matter of inspiration for the entire overseas Indian community,” he said.
Speaking to Indian Newslink on his return with his wife Lady Susan, Sir Anand said that PBD 2011 was one of the best organised in its annual series.
“More than 1300 delegates from all of the world attended the three-day event. I must also record with pleasure the warmth, respect and dignity with which we were received,” he said.
Following is the list of recipients of the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award 2011:
Sir Anand Satyanand (New Zealand); Ashook Kumar Ramsaran (USA); Harindrapal Singh Banga (Hong Kong); Indian Community Benevolent Forum of Qatar; Lata Pada (Canada); Mano Selvanathan (Sri Lanka); Mohammad Munir Nazir Hassan Ansari (Israel); Mohan Jashanmal (UAE); Dr Mohiaddin Syed Karimuddin (Saudi Arabia); Dr Rajiv Shah (US); Saleh Wahid (Netherlands); Dr Sandip Verma Baroness UK; Tan Sri Dato’ Ajit Singh (Malaysia); Upjit Singh Sachdeva (Liberia) and Professor Veena Harbhagwan Sahajwalla (Australia).
See related reports in this issue.