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President gives away communal harmony awards


New Delhi : President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Wednesday presented the National Communal Harmony awards to social activist from Assam Rabindra Nath Updhayaya and Delhi-based Institute of Socialist Education.

Social worker Ram Babu Singh Chauhan from Uttar Pradesh was conferred the Kabir Puraskar for his contribution in promoting communal harmony.

Upadhyaya is a freedom fighter and is currently working in the communally disturbed areas of the northeastern region while the Institute for Socialist Education, headed by its founder Shashi Bhushan, has been working to keep alive the values of the freedom struggle.

Giving away the awards at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here, Kalam said the education system should lay the foundation stone among the young for evolving a conflict-free happy life.

Referring to a novel education scheme called Jeevan Vidya, the president said that it addresses the basic causes of major problems of violence, corruption, exploitation, domination, terrorism and war.

"It has been found that violent and anti-social behaviour, unless dealt with intensive care and with professionalism, could aggravate the extreme behaviour," Kalam said.

"I understand Jeevan Vidya is a 'teachable human value based skill' that can address inherent conflicts within the mind of the individual, within families, in organisations and in public life. Inner conflict is the very essence of violence," he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: "Each one of them (awardees) is a source of inspiration for us all. I wish them well in all their future endeavours. In honouring them, we reaffirm our nation's commitment to the value system enshrined in our constitution."

"The founding fathers of our republic were firm in their belief and convictions to promote communal harmony and amity and goodwill among all sections of the population."

Among those present at the function were Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal.