President Pratibha Patil on January 9, 2010 conferred the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award to 14 distinguished members of the Indian diaspora for their achievements in life and contribution to the welfare of the Indian community and enhancing India's image overseas.
The awards were presented at the valedictory function of the concluding day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2010 in New Delhi.
Following are the brief profiles of this year’s award recipients:
Mohinder Singh Bhullar, a successful businessman in Brunei Darussalam, is instrumental in the formation of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Brunei Darussalam. He has assisted the Indian community in that Southeast Asian nation and has acted as a bridge between India and Brunei Darussalam.
Yanktesh Piramal Reddy, an Indian origin businessman in Fiji, has promoted tourism to India in a big way from the entire south Pacific region. He has also worked relentlessly for the protection of the interests of the Indian community in Fiji.
Ryuko Hira, a successful Indian entrepreneur in Japan, is the director of the prestigious Japan-India Association. A leading philanthropist, he has supported several projects for the underprivileged in India. He has also sponsored and supported the translation and publication of the Mahabharata, Vedas, Upanishads and books on Hinduism, Busshism and Sikhism into Japanese.
Dr. Ruby Umesh Pawankar has focused on the furtherance of India-Japan medical collaboration for a number of years. Recognised in Japan and worldwide for her outstanding contributions to science, she is the first Indian and first woman to be nominated as president of World Allergy Organisation.
Suresh Kumar Virmani, a successful engineer, entrepreneur and businessman, is a founder member of the Indian Cultural Association in Oman. He has worked relentlessly for the welfare of the expatriate Indian community in Oman and has helped establish a number of Indian schools in Oman.
Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan, finance minister of South Africa, has distinguished himself as commissioner of the South African Revenue Service. He was a political activist who took active part in the anti-apartheid movement of that country, organising and leading student movements.
Tholisah Perumal Naidoo is a publisher, journalist and founder of the Indian Academy of South Africa in Durban. He has been promoting Indian culture in South Africa for the past 25 years organising regular events like the Tyagaraja Music Festival and Festival of India and introducing the Nataraja Golden Peacock Award for Indian classical dances there.
Rajni Kanabar is a philanthropist who initiated the Tanzania Heart Babies project wherein Tanzanian children suffering from congenital heart defects are sent to India for open heart surgeries.
Over 1,300 surgeries were performed in the last 27 years with the support of the Indian High Commission in Tanzania, Air India and Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore.
Deepak Mittal, an industrialist and financial expert, has successfully set up and operated many large state-of-the-art Indian joint ventures in Thailand. His efforts led to expanded trade between India and Thailand. He has also been involved in charity and social activities for the welfare of people in Thailand including the Indian community.
Lenny Krishendath Saith is minister in the Prime Minister's Office in Trinidad & Tobago. A strong advocate of bilateral ties between India and Trinidad & Tobago, he has consistently promoted the cause of the Indian diaspora in that Caribbean nation.
Dr. Azad Moopen is a physician turned entrepreneur who manages one of the largest healthcare networks in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. His group conducts free health camps for Indian labourers in remote locations in the GCC countries. He has also worked for the welfare of the Indian community in the United Arab Emirates.
Mani Lal Bhaumik is a scientist, author, educator and philanthropist whose books and lectures at prestigious institutions has significantly contributed towards a better understanding of the cultural and spiritual heritage of India. He sponsors an annual award for Indian children in California who excel in science and mathematics and has worked for the welfare of the Indian community in the US.
Ashok Kumar Mago has worked actively for the promotion of Indo-US political and economic ties through his association with a variety of boards and commissions in the past. He is chairman of the Indo-American Political Forum in Dallas, which seeks to educate youngsters to participate in the political process.
Dr. Sudhir Parikh is Publisher, India Advocate, and is a philanthropist and physician based in the United States.