As an Awards evening, it was quite special. To have so many Overseas Indian
(OI) luminaries present at the same time at the splendid Venetian, Regal and Edward halls of Ramada Plaza on January 10 was a terrific privilege. To have the Awards presented by our chief guest, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar
Ravi, and having the gracious presence of our guest of
honour, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, was elevating. Without doubt, the evening lifted the spirits of those present, and the Awardees went back with memories they’d treasure for a very long time.
The evening was made possible because of the very healthy response we received online. Nominations came in from all parts of the world, and in no way did that make our task easy of selecting the eventual Awardees. But we were able to select the very best, thanks also to the guidance received from friends in key positions in credible global NRI organizations across the world. The awardee for Community Leadership in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Krishnamurthy Kumar from the
UAE, acknowledged that the level of transparency maintained at the Awards was indeed very high. The awardee for Community Leadership in the African Region, Logie
Naidoo, surprised us by saying that the prestige and honour he felt after receiving his award from Minister Ravi made him rank the Awards next only to the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award
(PBSA). Quite humbling, to say the least.
Four of our awardees, including Kumar, have already received the prestigious PBSA from the President of India. Two of them, the Deputy Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Lenny
Saith, and Indian-American laser physicist Mani Bhaumik, received the PBSA on January 9, 2010, a day before our Awards evening. As
OIs, each and every one of the Awardees has made a difference to the people and communities in their countries of domicile. Their achievements are staggering, and from India’s point of view, these are the men and women who can make a critical and meaningful difference to India’s engagements