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NRIs are societal envoys of India: Kalam

Making an impassioned plea to the Indian diaspora, the President in one stroke, made PBD 2006 'a great event', reports Sajjan S Thakur.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2006 20:35 IST
Sajjan Singh Thakur (
Sajjan Singh Thakur (

"Be wherever you are. But adopt one village of India, because each one of you belongs to one."

Making an impassioned plea to the Indian diaspora, President APJ Abdul Kalam, in one stroke, made the PBD 2006 "a great event" on Monday.

Kalam's speech on the valedictory session of PBD 2006 at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) will be remembered for a long time by the overseas Indians, even as the HICCresonated with Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

He conferred Pravasi Bhartiya Samman to 15 Indians, 11 of them received the award in person.

Giving some interesting anecdotes, Kalam invoked Mahatma Gandhi and said "Bapu went to study where the sun would never set; a century later, the sun never sets on his own country."

"This is the result of great efforts which all of you -- who are the societal ambassadors of India -- put in to make what we are today. All of you have done us proud by building and promoting India's image globally. Mother India is proud of you," he added.

The President traced out four phases of Indians' migration in different historical settings -- the search of knowledge, indentured labourers, partition-induced and a search for opportunities and challenges in the outside world by the vibrant and young Indians.

He said: "Till the 21st century's end, I am sure, the Indians will participate in the planetary syndication."

He further went on to say that there was a "need to increase the growth rate of the GDP by additional two per cent a year by transforming India into a developed nation".

He also awarded a certificate of appreciation for honesty to Abdullah Qadir of Oman.

He eulogised the NRIs for making a mark for themselves in different fields globally, and urged them to involve themselves in India's knowledge connectivity.

Awards distribution marred by heckler

Slogan shouting by a heckler marred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards ceremony at the end of the three-day annual Diaspora conclave in Hyderabad on Monday.

An NRI, wearing a delegate badge in the name of Satinath Choudhury was protesting the award to US-based Dr Sudhir Parikh, who was recognised for his work in medicine.

As President APJ Abdul Kalam was distributing the award to Dr Parikh, one of the 15 awardees, at the valedictory function of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Choudhury shouted from amidst the audience, "He (Dr Parikh) is a Modi supporter. He is a Godhra supporter."

He advanced to a barrier ahead of the dais on which Kalam was seated, shouting that it was a "shame" the award had gone to a man who supported the 2002 sectarian violence in Gujarat, which he termed as "genocide".

However, police arrested Satinath Choudhury, Hyder M Khan and Ataullah Khan under Section 151 of Indian Penal Code. They were locked up in the temporary control room set up at the venue and released after the function was over.

There was commotion for some time. Supporters of Chaudhury and Dr Parikh were seen arguing with the police outside the auditorium.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 11:11 IST