Presenting the award, the chief guest, Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, former ambassador and currently secretary of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, quoted a popular Urdu sher by Majrooh Sultanpuri to emphasise that the courage of one individual can change the course of history: “Main akelaa hi chalaa tha jaanib-e-manzil, magar / log saath aate gaye aur kaarvan bantaa gayaa.”
Accepting the award, Mr. Naba Kumar said, “I am a practitioner, I work in the field, I’m not very interested in theory. I have seen the spirit of youth at work in different areas, different places.” Mr. Naba Kumar’s wife, Tandra, received sustained applause for standing by her husband when he decided to leave his well-paid job and work with the Trust.
Youth Division members of the BSG Choir roused the whole hall to sing the SGI song ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ along with them. Speakers at the event included Prof. Sankar Kumar Sanyal, chairman of the all-India Harijan Sevak Sangh; Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, chairman, Indian Council of Gandhian Studies, New Delhi; and Mr. N. Vasudevan, director of the Indian Council for Gandhian Studies.
Dr. Akash K. Ouchi, BSG honorary deputy chairperson, said the award was constituted to foster youth in the spirit of mentor and disciple and enable them to become capable leaders in the future. “We all need someone by whom we are inspired. Dr. Ramachandran was inspired by Gandhiji, and Ikeda Sensei by his mentor, Toda Sensei.”
In closing, Mr. Vishesh Gupta, BSG chairperson, said: “There is a lot in common between Dr. Ikeda and Gandhiji in their ideology, their aspirations for mankind and their struggles for peace. One thing that stands out is their love, hope and expectations from the youth.”
In his vote of thanks, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, “There have been umpteen awards in the name of Gandhi but this award is special for Raha who has admired from a distance the educational ideas and the value creating culture fostered by Dr. Ikeda.”