Venkat Raman –
New Delhi based India International Friendship Society (IIFS) honoured two Aucklanders with a prestigious award at their annual meeting held in the Indian Capital on January 8.
Kapan Pratap Singh, Governor Punjab State presented the ‘Bharat Gaurav Award’ (‘Pride of India Award’) to Jeet Suchdev and his sister Roopa Suchdev at a ceremony held at Le Meridian Hotel. Among those present were Federal Minister of Rural Development Choudhary Birender Singh, Members of Indian Parliament and other dignitaries.
Hamilton based Suman Kapoor and her husband Pradeep Kapoor also received the ‘Bharat Gaurav Award’ at the ceremony. Ms Kapoor was honoured by the Uttar Pradesh government with the ‘UP Pravasi Ratna Award’ at the ‘UP Pravasi Bharatiya Divas’ held in Agra on January 9, 2016. A separate story appears under Businesslink.
The Bharat Gaurav Award is given to people with proven accomplishments in public service, private sector, businesses and those involved in humanitarian causes, community welfare development of youth and promotion of Indian culture.
They are respectively Chairman and Secretary and founders of the Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust, which since its establishment in 1995, has also been promoting campaigns to contain family violence and bringing solace and relief to victims of immigration fraud and other migrant exploitation.
The Trust works mainly for the welfare of the Indian community and took the initiative to establish, ‘Aashirwad,’ what it calls a ‘culturally appropriate home for the aged’ within the David Lange Care Home in the South Auckland suburb of Mangere East (Indian Newslink, December 15, 2012).
As far as we are aware, the Suchdevs and the Kapoor couple were the first from New Zealand to receive the ‘Bharat Gaurav Award,’ although a similar award was presented to Dr Ajit Swaran Singh (a Judge at the Auckland District Court) at a ceremony held in New York on June 9, 2012 (Indian Newslink July 1, 2012 and November 15, 2012).
A panel of judges led by former Director of Central Bureau of Investigations Joginder Singh selected the winners of the Awards.
A citation given to Jeet and Roopa Suchdev said, “It remains our considered opinion that you have given a fight in life and your worthy example does inspire others towards certain remarkable achievement. We have, therefore, chosen to honour you with globally reputed ‘Bharat Gaurav Award’ and a Certificate of Excellence.”
Both siblings were honoured by the New Zealand government with a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) in the New Year Honours List of 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Jeet Suchdev is a Justice of the Peace, a Trustee of the Auckland Regional Migrant Centre and a former Member of the Ethnic People’s Advisory Panel of Auckland Council. He received the ‘Hind Rattan Award’ at 25th International Congress of NRIs held at New Delhi, India.
Roopa Suchdev has been championing the cause of women victimised by family violence and extends extensive support to affected sections of the community through her ‘Jaagriti Family Support Group,’ a branch of ‘Roopa Aur Aap Charitable Trust.’
Known for her broadcasting skills, she was among the first programme presenters at Radio Tarana when it began in 1995. She presented her own television programme called, ‘Roopa Aur Aap’ and began working for Humm FM Radio in 2012.
A conference on ‘Global Participation in India’s Development’ preceded the Awards ceremony.