By Felix Anthony
New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018: A Catholic bishop from northeastern India was on December 9 conferred the eighth International Human Rights Award for his contribution to the field of education and healthcare.
Salesian Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao in Arunachal Pradesh was among a host of people from India and overseas who received the awards for their unique efforts to uphold human rights and social justice.
The All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice honored them to mark the International Human Rights Day.
The prestigious award carrying “Certificate of Excellence” is given to individuals, world peace workers and business people who show exceptional leadership in serving humanity.
The glittering award ceremony was held at the India Islamic Study Centre in New Delhi.
Former Supreme Court judge Kurian Joseph, who was the chief guest, said everyone has a moral responsibility to stand for human rights of the least, the last and the lost.
“While interpreting the provisions of the law we concentrate so much on the constitutional morality, but it is high time we concentrated on the constitutional compassion as well,” he told some 200 people from all over India attending the function.
“The greatest threat I perceive for the people to enjoy this human right is the silence, neutrality and indifference on the part of the lawmen. The silence of the lawmen do more harm to society than the violence of the laymen,” he added while congratulating the awardees.
Bishop Pallipparambil said he accepted the honors for those living in the last, least, and lost part of Arunachal Pradesh. “This award, I hope, will give some visibility to my people in the last villages of Arunachal Pradesh,” the 65-year-old prelate said.
He further said: “It has been my joy to work in this very remote eastern most corner of India with people belonging to various tribes. I accept this award with all my humility on their behalf.”
This is the second award the bishop received this year. In April, the Sanskriti Yuva Sanstha honored him with Bahrat Gaurav Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution in the field of education, healthcare, culture, environment and development of the local people of Arunachal Pradesh.
Working in Arunachal Pradesh for the last 40 years, Bishop Pallipparambil has established 46 schools, catering to the educational needs of 180,00 poor tribal children, 85 boarding for boys and girls, 17 dispensaries, one hospital, one bachelor degree college, and one vocational training center for school dropouts – all of them in the last villages of bordering Myanmar and China.
The prelate, a native of Kerala, has worked more than 40 years with the people of living in the eastern region of Arunachal Pradesh. His mission was promotion of education and preservation of the pristine culture of the people.
An example of this effort is Neotan village becoming 100 percent literate in Arunachal, way back in 2014 through the efforts of teachers and students of Newman school which he founded.
Neotan is a medium size village located in Miao Circle of Changlang district, with total 139 families with population of 840 of which 407 are males while 433 are females as per Population Census 2011.
Bishop Pallipparambil also introduced protection and preservation of environment by teaching students about the need of afforestation and protection of wild life.
These were made practical by not allowing flower bouquet being given to guests or visitors but making them plant a sapling.
Environment protection campaign was extended to water sources, and protecting catchment area was followed up with preservation of wild life in 2016 when every youth and child was encouraged not to hunt animals or shoot birds.
Protection and development of cultures was another area which Bishop George gave much importance. He promoted language by developing the dialects, promoted culture by highlighting the lives of tribal leaders of the past.
By teaching traditional art forms like weaving and wood carving to young people, he promoted sustainable livelihood.
He promoted health by teaching hygiene, and taking preventive steps and curative measurers by providing tribal people access to dispensaries and hospital which he started.
He helped women empowerment by training young girls who have not been able to attend schools by providing them adult education opportunities.