The Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for the year 2010 was awarded to Dr Mohan Dharia on Monday, for his yeoman work in promoting and preserving the spirit of national integration in the country.
Heaping praise: Dr Mohan Dharia receives the Indira Gandhi Award
from Congress President Sonia Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh
The 86-year-old environmentalist, lawyer and former union minister, currently runs the Vanrai NGO in Pune. The award was presented to Dr Dharia by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and consists of a citation and cash of Rs 5 lakh. Also present at the commemoration were PM Manmohan Singh and Senior Congress leader Motilal Vohra.
The award is presented to individuals or institutions, which uphold the cause of national integration and understanding that was dearest to Indira Gandhi's heart. The Indian National Congress in its Centenary year had instituted the award, which is held every year on October 31, the martyrdom day of Indira Gandhi.
Receiving the award from Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Dharia said he has had differences with the late Indira Gandhi for some time but he cannot forget her indomitable courage, contribution and sacrifice for the country.
Sonia said in her speech that even those who disagreed with Indira Gandhi on many issues used to respect her from the inner core of their heart and accepted her qualities. "Our political ideologies may be different but there can be no scope for any difference when it comes to national unity and integrity. The country belongs to everyone," she said.
Stating that one who remains firm in his values makes history, Sonia said the late Indira Gandhi had certain principles and values for which she even sacrificed her life.