MAHAVEER AWARDS 2003
SRI SIDDHARAJ DHADDA
most of us just pray for peace and non-violence, a few
take it upon themselves to make these prayers a reality.
Shri Siddharaj Dhadda is one of the few. A Gandhian
to the hilt and hence a proponent of ahimsa and non-violence,
he lives and works for his ideals. It is heartening
that this nonagenarians advocacy of peace and
non-violence have reached far beyond the shores of our
country. Leading a simple life, he practices what he
Shri Dhadda was born in 1909. Right from his student days in Lucknow University, he became interested in the Gandhian principles of peace and non-violence. Armed with a post-graduate degree in political science, he started his legal practice in Bangalore and then shifted the same to Jaipur. The practice did not hold his interest for long. Inspired by Gandhiji, he was drawn into the vortex of the freedom struggle.
1942, he plunged headlong into the Quit India Movement started
by Gandhiji, which landed him in the Varanasi prison
the other home of Nehru. As he languished in prison
for two-and-a half years, his resolve to follow the path of
non-violence became stronger.
a natural outcome of his involvement in freedom struggle,
he was made the Industries Minister for the State of Rajasthan,
after independence. When he realized that it was impossible
to adhere to his principles in a political situation, he opted
out of politics and resigned.
1951, he established a Sarvodaya Ashram in Khemal, a hamlet
in the deserts of Rajasthan. He became a Jeevandani
a person who dedicates his life to develop an ideal and peaceful
society and experimented in various ways to bring about
a peacefully co-existing community. Never one to think of
the self, but only of the peaceful co-existence of people,
he participated in the Bhoodan and Gramdan movements initiated
by Acharya Vinoba Bhave.
his concern towards the welfare of the society, he dedicated
himself to bring relief to the drought-hit Bihar in the late
sixties. For a period of two years, he served as the Secretary
General of Bihar Relief Committee.
president of All India Sarva Seva Sangh of Wardha, he raised
his voice against emergency, which led to his incarceration
in jails across the country for nearly two years. After lifting
of emergency and subsequent formation of a new Government,
he was offered the second highest constitutional position
in the country. Needless to say, he declined.
edits Satyagrah Ahimsa, a monthly magazine and
Gramraj, a weekly magazine. He has also authored
several books on peace and non-violence. Internationally acclaimed
as an exponent of peace and ahimsa, he has been invited in
various capacities by countries like UK, USA, Germany, Italy,
Switzerland, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Thailand, Lebanon
and Egypt among others, to be part of their peace initiatives.
His services have been recognized with the Jamnalal Bajaj
Award and the Padma Bhushan.
UTTARAKHAND SEVA NIDHI PARYAVARAN SHIKSHA SANSTHAN (USNPSS)
was twenty years since independence. But the hill tribes of
Uttarakhand were as good as non-existent to the rest of the
world. The slow process of nation building was slower still
as far as these people were concerned. The developmental works
had still not reached the villages in the hills. A group of
like-minded people took the matter into their hands and established
the Seva Nidhi in 1967. Started as a public charitable trust,
the scope of its activities could not be constrained to a
the activities of the Trust kept increasing, a separate
society by name Uttarakhand Seva Nidhi Paryavaran Shiksha
Sansthan was started in 1999. With a single-minded focus
and unmatched dedication, the Sansthan has brought about
an unimaginable progress in five years. Education leads
to enlightenment and a woman emancipated is a woman
empowered. With these as their motive, the organization
works in the spheres of education and womens empowerment
as the first steps towards developing the community.
Seva Nidhi Paryavaran Shiksha Sansthan (USNPSS)
specific needs of the community had to be borne in mind in
any development project that was designed and implemented.
In the field of education, the Community Education Programme
was started with a course designed to suit the needs of the
local people. The innovative approach was to have their village
as a living example of ecosystem and hence analyze and deal
with issues specific to the same. These courses were introduced
in classes 6, 7 and 8. Initially started in one school as
a non-formal and experimental method of teaching, it is presently
being offered in 1500 schools. The state government has accepted
it as a regular course and hence more than 1500 teachers were
trained to impart education by this method. This has benefited
nearly 1.5 lakh students.
was started as a tiny spark has grown into a far-reaching
flame, spreading its glow onto increasing number of children.
With 350 balwadis functioning in the villages, nearly 7000
students, most of them girls, have been trained by the pre-primary
education schemes. The education has truly enlightened a number
of youngsters. It has not only educated the girls in the academic
sense but has given them confidence and a sense of responsibility
towards their community. This is evident from the fact that
the girls who attended these programmes, have studied further
and have come back to be the resource persons for the same
programmes. Besides, girls who never stepped out of their
houses have gained self-worth and confidence and are guiding
others and helping them in attending training programmes.
works in tandem with various womens groups. It has brought
about a revolution in the mindset of the villagers, especially
the men, at the same time humbly accepting its limitations
as a development catalyst. The women are encouraged to participate
in decision-making processes that affect them at the local,
district and national levels. It did not take long for the
women to realize their collective power. Thus they have started
revolting against alcoholism and the changes are slowly emerging.
The women have also brought about a change in the attitude
of men, regarding child development. So men, who are not employed,
take care of the children at home though reluctantly
while women attend to their duties.
of land and water resources is crucial in Uttaranchal since
most of the population depends on agriculture, which in turn
depends on the forest cover and availability of water. With
the efforts of USNPSS, the villagers have learnt that shortage
in natural resources will lead to ecological poverty. The
Sansthan is working towards alleviating this ecological poverty
and achieving ecological security.
As interlinked as they are, education has improved the economic
status of the women, which in turn has improved their health.
Thus the Sansthan has changed the lives of the community of
hill people of Uttaranchal with sustained efforts. The Bhagwan
Mahaveer Foundation, conferring its award for Education and
Medicine, congratulates the Sansthans dedication.
Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement ( SVYM )
Vivekananda continues to inspire millions, even a hundred
years after he walked this earth. Inspired by his philosophy,
a handful of medical students decided to dedicate themselves
to alleviating the physical suffering of our society. To them,
the smile of a child cured meant more than millions. They
desired for their expertise to dispel the darkness from the
lives of fellow beings. Their community concerns prevailed
over personal gains. Thus was born in 1984 in Mysore, the
Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, a non-profit organization
without any religious and political affiliations.
the noble intention of providing cost-effective healthcare
to the poor-but no resources to do so - they started
with distributing physicians free samples and
graduated to conducting health camps. When the young
doctors heard about the hunter-gatherer tribes who had
been displaced from their homeland because of developmental
projects but not rehabilitated, the organization
established the Janakalyan Tribal Hospital in Bramhagiri
Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM)
the youngsters realized that their healing touch would bring
happiness but not the upliftment of the poor; so they decided
to tackle illiteracy and poverty. The selfless and patient
ministrations of the doctors made the tribes trust them with
their life, which they would not have done with anybody else.
Because they witnessed the rehabilitation of a HIV-infected
mother who had been humiliated and turned away by many hospitals
trust placed on the doctors spurred them on to do more for
the community. They saw the opportunity of moulding young
minds and grabbed at it. Education was the means to achieve
what they desired. To banish illiteracy, Viveka
Tribal Centre for Learning was started as a nonformal
education center.As the lives of the tribes revolved around
the forest, what the children learnt had to be connected to
their way of life. Hence the curriculum has been designed
with the local populace in mind, involving experimental learning
and vocational training that is relevant to their means of
livelihood. Nearly 4000 children have been benefited by Viveka
, which has been recognized School of Excellence functions
in Saragur. The SVYM has introduced a unique Vidyavahini or
Mobile Education Programme, primarily for the Jenukuruba Tribes.
The method includes pre-school centers and mobile classrooms.
The fact that nearly 100 school dropouts have come back to
school after Vidyavahini was introduced speaks for its success.
the ill health that plagued the communities was weeded out,
maintaining health devoid of malnutrition became the priority.
Safe drinking water, housing and sanitation facilities have
been arranged towards community development. The Movement
also works towards creating awareness about water and land
resource management and human rights. Training in animal husbandry,
sericulture, agriculture, apiculture and tailoring are also
imparted so as to make the tribes self-help groups that also
serve as micro-credit enterprises. The Movement has guided
and encouraged women to form self. SVYM has also founded a
Vivekananda institute of Leadership Development in
for the prime concern with which SVYM was started, namely
healthcare, various programmes are being implemented. The
Vivekananda Memorial Hospital at Saragur, a 40-bed hospital
offers specialized treatment in various fields of medicine.
With the motto of Health A peoples Movement,
Reproductive and child Health Programme, Health Awareness
Programme Jagrutha Bharatha using folk art, Tobacco
Control Programme supported by WHO, Prevention of Transmission
of AIDS and Outreach Programme involving mobile clinics, field
camps, etc. are being carried out.
the twenty years since its inception, SVYM has brought about
a significant change in the lives of the people among whom
it is working. The rewards of the movement are not just the
way doctors have shaped the lives and minds of the young and
the old, but also the way in which their work has inspired
many. For, a tribal girl who attended one of the Awareness
Programmes started creating awareness on imbibing the information
she received. She has set her mind on becoming a doctor. Another
who has enrolled herself in college is impatient to come back
to her own people and become a teacher. These are but two
instances of a bunch of children whom the doctors have inspired.
their attempt and success at making the lives of many meaningful,
recognition has come SVYMs way through the National
Youth Award from the Government of India and Babasaheb B.R.
Ambedkar Award from the Karnataka Government. The Bhagwan
Mahaveer Foundation salutes the spirit of the SVYM and is
happy to confer the award in the fields of community and Social