Indira Gandhi award: A skewed vision of history is being imposed, says Congress president Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi on Thursday criticised Modi government for “spreading a skewed vision of our history and society”. Chandi Prasad Bhatt, noted environmentalist, has been awarded the Indira Gandhi award
Chandi Prasad Bhatt, noted environmentalist and social activist, has been awarded the Indira Gandhi award for national integration for the years 2017 and 2018.
The award, instituted by the Congress in the memory of the former Prime Minister, was presented to Bhatt today by Congress President Sonia Gandhi at a function at Jawahar Bhawan.
"The 31st Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for the year 2017 and 2018 has been awarded to Chandi Prasad Bhatt for his services in promoting and preserving national integration in the country," a statement from the party said.
This award consists of a citation and Rs 10 lakh in cash.
Bhatt (85), who hails from Uttarakhand, had founded the Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS) in Gopeshwar in 1964, which later became a mother organisation to the Chipko Movement, in which he was one of the pioneers.
He has earlier been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 1982, followed by the Padma Bhushan in 2005. He has also been a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize.
Speaking on the occasion, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said: “National integration was one of Indiraji’s many passions. But unlike those in the ruling establishment now, she did not equate unity with uniformity. On the contrary, she was deeply conscious of and proud of India’s many diversities. She was profoundly sensitive to India’s many cultural traditions. She was fiercely wedded to strengthening the bonds of political and cultural unity. She believed in accommodating, respecting and celebrating our many diversities.”
”Chandi Prasad Bhatt has been a beacon for many across our country for the courage of his convictions, for the force of his ideas and actions and for the manner of his living and working. He has influenced so many, not only in India but elsewhere as well. May he continue to illuminate our path ahead during these troubled times,” she added.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, present on the occasion, said: “The award is a tribute to the memory of Indira ji. It is also a token of our appreciation and respect for the work of the awardee person. It was therefore only befitting that the award we have instituted in her memory should in fact be to celebrate the contribution of our countrymen to our national integration.”
“ It is most appropriate that this year’s Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration is being given to Chandi Prasad Bhatt ji. In honouring Shri Chandi Prasad ji, we honour a long and venerable tradition of public service, in the best of the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi,” said Manmohan Singh.
Some prominent recipients of the award in the past include Rajiv Gandhi, APJ Abdul Kalam, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Swami Ranganathananda, Aruna Asaf Ali, Beant Singh, Bharat Scouts and Guides, PN Haksar, MS Subbulakshmi, Shyam Benegal, Javed Akhtar, AR Rahman, Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Gulzar, MS Swaminathan, T M Krishna.
- Manmohan Singh
- Sonia Gandhi
- social activist
- Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration