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Friday, February 19, 2010


President Prathiba Patil, president of India, presents the prestigious award to Dr Naidoo.

South African cultural icon with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in New Delhi.

Dr Tholisiah Perumal Naidoo, one of South Africa’s top Indian cultural icons and founder/director of the Indian Academy of SA, was presented with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in New Delhi in January this year.

The Samman Award is the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians – ie non-resident Indians or persons of Indian origin. It is conferred on those who have made a significant contribution towards a better understanding abroad of India and support India’s causes and concerns in a tangible way. Also recognised is a significant contribution for the welfare of Diaspora, notable contribution in philanthropic and charitable work and for social and humanitarian causes in India and abroad, significant contribution in building closer links between India and its Diaspora in the economic, cultural and scientific fields, eminence in one’s field for outstanding work which has enhanced India’s prestige in the country of resident or has achieved outstanding eminence in his skills which has enhanced India’s prestige in that country (for non-professional workers).

Presently there are 26 million Indians living outside India in some 122 countries. The award was presented to 14 outstanding luminaries and the moving ceremony was presented at the culmination of the 8th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Conference presented in New Delhi from January 7 to 9 under the auspices of the Union Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan, South Africa’s Minister of Finance, was also among the 14 recipients from around the world.

In an interview Dr TP Naidoo said “The presentation of the Award was truly a breathtaking event. Some 4,000 guests backed the huge auditorium including 1,500 delegates from 122 countries, chief ministers and ministers in foreign governments of Indian origin who took part in the conference were present to watch the presentation. The conference was inaugurated by Mr Manmohan Singh, prime minister of India, on January 8 and Lord Khalid Hameed of England CBE was the chief guest. President Prathiba Patil, president of India delivered the address and presented the awards the following day.

“It was an awe-inspiring experience to receive this award from the head of the largest democracy in the world,” continues Dr Naidoo. “The award is held in great esteem and wherever I went after receiving the award, people treated me with dignity and congratulated me. The media had splashed the news overall major networks on radio and TV. I dedicate this award to the South African Indian community who despite tremendous trials and tribulations continued to triumph against all odds to hold their own on the world stage.”