SwachhAbility Awards 2017 – Honouring the Heroes
It was a morning full of anticipation and excitement. As the day proceeded, the SwachhAbility Award Ceremony unfolded into one of the most memorable events of the whole SwachhAbility journey till date. The Ayurvigyan Auditorium of Army Referral & Research Hospital came to life with the presence of our Chief Guest, Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, several honourable dignitaries, war heroes & the ever-enthusiastic school children. The presence of one of the most favourite Indian cricketers, Gautam Gambhir was a cherry on the cake and a pleasant surprise for one and all present.
Captain Shalini Singh, the anchor of the event, welcomed the guests with her benign words. Her life story, narrated by Major DP Singh left everyone spellbound. She was just 23 when she lost her husband (an army officer), and was left with a 2 year old son. It was then when she decided to join the Indian Army as a tribute to her martyred husband. She served the army for 6 years and went on to become Mrs. India 2017. It was just the beginning of the day, and every single individual present in the auditorium was a source of inspiration to many.
All the honourable dignitaries were welcomed by Major DP Singh, and he further shared his experience of the SwachhAbility journey. To showcase the spectacular 2nd edition of the SwachhAbility movement, the gathering was presented with a soul-stirring audio-visual which aroused the feelings of patriotism for the nation, empathy towards the divyangs and solidarity as Indians. The watery eyes were a proof that it was successful in touching the right chords and urging them to contemplate the present condition of the Indian society.
We had 3 real life heroes amongst us, who, inspite of their disabilities, have given back so much to the society. The first one to be honoured was Divyanshu Ganatra who lost his eyesight at the age of 19 due to Glaucoma. Though disheartened initially, he bounced back in life through adventure sports and became the first blind solo pilot to fly a paraglider in 2014. Today he is a blind psychologist, scuba diver & Advocate For Disability Rights. He further decided to bring persons with disability out in open and founded Adventures Beyond Barriers with the same motive.
The second braveheart was Ajay Raj who sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident and his entire body below the neck lost complete sensation. But the desire to be independent and support of his family, kept him moving. Hence, instead of becoming dependent on others, he leads an independent life with the help of his motorised wheelchair. He did not limit his capability to himself, but has been motivating others in the similar situation to deal with the trauma and go for a new beginning. The third and the most cherished one was Ranpal. Inflicted with polio at a young age, he cannot walk properly. But the physical disability never created a mental block for him to do something for the society. He is a regular blood donor since 2005 and has been donating blood in association with Can & Will Foundation since 2008. He was inspired by what he saw on the TV and read in newspapers and had an earnest desire to save lives and do something worthwhile in his life. Owing to his noble intentions, he has donated blood over 30 times which has helped save 90 lives till date.
These stories moved everyone tremendously and inspired each one of the people present to shun all the apprehensions and obstacles so that nothing stops them from doing something good and noble for the society. The Hon’ble Chief Guest, Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, addressed the gathering and appreciated the initiative of Major DP Singh. He said, “What he (Major DP Singh) is doing and what all of you are involved in, is nothing short of something which will introduce a paradigm shift in the way we approach the Swachh Bharat Mission.” He extended his whole hearted support to the mission, which he believes is really transformational and will bring the desired change in the nation. Ms. Shivani, representative of Flags of Honour Foundation, also addressed the gathering and briefed them about the organization and its association with the SwachhAbility Movement.
Mr. Raghavpat Singhania, Special Executive JK Cement Ltd. extended his vote of thanks to all the sponsors and partners who supported the mission wholeheartedly and made it even stronger with their contribution. The event culminated with the recitation of the National Anthem which never fails to instil in every Indian, the feelings of immense pride and selfless love for the country.
The Award Ceremony ended on a positive note with a motive to keep spreading the message of clean intentions across the nation and will soon be seen taking the action and leading by setting an example in its even more aggressive and powerful 3rd edition.