By Jacob Peenikaparambil
Indore, January 2, 2019: A movement that promotes value education for peace has awarded seven students from various parts of India for their honest way of living the core human ethical values.
“This award will always remind your conscience to be honest in what you speak and do,” said Awadesh Kumar Goswami, a police official who was the chief guest at the Honesty Award function held on December 30 at the headquarters of the Universal Solidarity Movement (USM) in Indore, Madhya Pradesh state.
The students were recommended by their school principals for the Honesty Award 2018.
While commending the awardees, Goswami recalled what his father had told him when he joined as a police officer: “Speak to yourself at the end of every day and reflect on what your conscience tells you.”
Following the advice has helped him remain an honest person for 23 years in a department often accused of corruption, he said and urged the students to adopt the same practice and remain faithful to the award they received.
The students who received the award for the year 2018 are: Devanshu Agrawal of St. Thomas School, Mandsaur, Aditya Singh of St. Antony’s School, Faridabad, Haryana, Taiba Makrani of Don Bosco Academy, Alirajpur, Soofia Khan of St. Theresa’s School, Bhopal, Siddhi Deshpande of Auxilium Convent School, Lonawala, M.S, Krishna Arjun Aachari, Convent of Jesus and Mary School, Petlad, Gujarat and Harshwardan of St. Ganelli Convent School, Nagpur, Maharashtra
Bishop Chacko Thotturmarickal of Indore, who chaired the function, told the awardees that the recognition challenges them to remain honest throughout their life.
“You walk the path of honesty and success will follow you,” the Divine Word prelate told the audience that consisted mainly of students and teachers. “To be honest is the best way to realize God because God is truth,” he added.
The award was set up by Bernado De Souza, an industrialist from Goa, who was upset over the rampant corruption in society. “Why not I do something to promote honesty instead of lamenting over the spread of corruption.” The result was the birth of Honesty Foundation in 2012 to promote honesty, especially among the youth.
Together with his wife Domino and children he decided to give back a part of his hard earned resources to society through Honesty Foundation for promoting honesty and encouraging honest people.
The method adopted by De Souza was to award a few school students every year for their honesty. He entrusted USM the task of selecting the awardees and organizing the award function every year. USM has been performing this task since 2016 on the occasion of ‘Knit India.’
Since its inception, the foundation has awarded 47 students. Due to health reasons De Souza could attend the award function.
Since 2012 the honesty award function has become a part of ‘Knit India,” a four-day live together of students, teachers and principals of various schools from different states of India.
The latest meet began on December 28, 2018, with 98 students and 27 teachers from 15 schools.
“When the divisive forces are spreading hatred and revenge and thereby breaking India, USM is making an attempt through ‘Knit India’ to build an inclusive and pluralistic India by instilling in the students the values of peace and harmony,” one of the organizers said.
The four-day event consists of sharing experience by the students and teachers, inspirational sharing by persons, who have made a difference in their lives by making a significant contribute to the society, and various group activities.
Majority of the participants of ‘Knit India’ are the members of USM who have participated in seven days Enlightened Leadership Training in USM. At the end of the leadership training the students had taken certain resolutions for transforming their lives and through them society.
During the ‘Knit India,’ the participants share with others about the transformation that has taken place in them as a result of becoming part of USM.
This year being the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi, one day is set apart for sharing and reflection on Mahatma Gandhi and his contribution to build a peaceful and harmonious India.
The program concluded on New Year eve with one hour inter-religious prayer for peace and celebrating and welcoming 2019.