New Delhi: As the nation celebrates birth centenary of noted ideologue, thinker and founder of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the late Dattopant Thengadi, New Delhi-based Dr Mangalam Swaminathan Foundation has instituted a Rashtriya Sewa Samman in the memory of the great leader. Instituted by former editor of ‘Organiser Weekly’ Dr R. Balashankar in the memory of his wife Dr Mangalam Swaminathan, this year’s Sewa Samman was presented to Kerala Sewa Bharati for its excellent rescue and rehabilitation work during the two devastating floods in Kerala last year and this year. The Samman was presented by former Union Minister and veteran BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and working president of Bharatiya Janata Party Shri JP Nadda on November 29.
Presenting the award, Dr Joshi lauded the initiative by Dr R. Balashankar in the memory of his wife. He said there are very few husbands who pay such a meaningful tribute to their wives. “Dr R. Balashankar is fulfilling the unfulfilled dreams of his wife Dr Mangalam Swaminathan,” he said.
Shri JP Nadda recalled the contribution of Dr Mangala and Dr R. Balashankar in the field of journalism. He extended full support to the activities of the Foundation. “Standing with full might even after facing a trauma should be learnt from Balashankarji,” he said.
On this occasion, four other awards were also presented. Dr Mangalam Swaminathan National Award for Excellence in Journalism was presented to Ms. Rajana Narayan for her lifetime achievements, commitment, and exceptional skills. She is a senior editor with ‘India Abroad News Service’. The National Award for Excellence in Science Reporting was given to Shri V.D. Selvaraj, senior editor, Kalakaumudi, a Malayalam literary, academic political weekly. He has been writing a series on the Indian Scientific experience tradition and personalities who made a mark in the area of scientific research. The National Award for Excellence in Art and Culture was conferred on SPIC MACAY, which has revolutionised the world of music by taking it to schools, colleges and academic institutions of higher learning like IITs, IIMS and NIITs. It has made classical music learning a national movement. The National Award for Excellence in Medical Malpractice Investigation was given for exposing the medical malpractices and mafia, killer drugs and overpricing. This award is at the heart of the Foundation’s commitment. ‘The Indian Express’ serial stories on Johnson & Johnson by Kaunain Sheriff made a big change in the practice of medical behaviour and cost in the country.
Dr Mangalam Swaminathan was a celebrated journalist, writer, academic and lover of arts, literature and culture. Her last work was a highly acclaimed curation of an exhibition on M.S. Subbulakshmi, renowned Carnatic singer, on her birth centenary. “This exhibition was inaugurated by Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu on September 15, 2017 at IGNCA auditorium, New Delhi. Dr Mangalam was in the process of taking this exhibition to Chennai, on the Vice President’s suggestion, when she was admitted to Max Hospital, Saket, New Delhi with a minor stomach upset on the night on October 2, 2017. Due to criminal medical neglect and misconduct we lost Dr Mangalam within four days, at the age of 52 on October 7, 2017 and the whole world of a great dream, a life devoted to the world of art and culture, fell shattered around us,” said Dr. R. Balashankar, husband of Dr Mangalam.
Dr Mangalam Swaminathan Foundation is a family effort, a humble offering to retrieve and rekindle the vibrant mission Dr Mangalam had to leave halfway. This foundation has mainly been set up from her own lifetime savings; we have promised to continue and complete whatever she pursued in the fields of journalism, science reporting, art and culture and exposing medical malpractices and neglect that take away human lives. She was involved in a lot of social activities and her life was a mission to serve the needy. She wanted to help poor, physically challenged children to go to school and she often used to go to slums to give free education training to deprived children. She was a humanist and her concern was to extend a helping hand to the needy around her. All that needs to be revisited in her memory, Dr Balashankar added.