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Sadbhavana Sandesh ~ lnHkkouk lUns‘k No. 001/2013

Peace, Harmony, Shared Security & Prosperity

August 2013



Message from the Secretary


deem it a great privilege and honour to have been entrusted with the responsibility of functioning as Secretary of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH), an autonomous Organization with the Ministry of Home Affairs. I assumed charge of this position on 17th April, 2013. Prior to this assignment, I served as Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia. In addition, in my 34-year long career in the Indian Foreign Service, I have been fortunate to have represented my country in several significant assignments in various capitals including Washington DC, Moscow, Brussels, Tehran, Bangkok, Dhaka and Geneva, as well as at Headquarters in the Ministries of External Affairs, Commerce and Industry etc. The National Foundation for Communal Harmony of which the Secretary is the Principal Executive Officer, is mandated to promote communal harmony and national integration through a large gamut of events and activities. These programmes seek to make a tangible and perceptible difference to the lives, particularly of the children who have been seriously and adversely affected by incidents of communal, ethnic, caste or terrorist violence. It is a matter of immense satisfaction for all of us at the Foundation that several of these children have acquitted themselves with great credit, notwithstanding the difficult and harsh conditions and circumstances that they have had to endure. In addition, the Foundation conducts many extension activities, frequently and regularly, to spread the message of peace, love and harmony that all religions and philosophies preach and promote. The Foundation recognizes and rewards the outstanding contributions and achievements every year of individuals and organizations in this field by conferring Awards which carry a substantial monetary value in addition to the significant symbolic value attached to them. The Foundation brings out several publications to create better understanding and promote cooperation amongst different religions and ethnic communities and for strengthening bonds of friendship, brotherhood, amity and concord. There are innumerable other organizations and stakeholders who are contributing significantly in diverse ways to preserve and expand the harmonious social fabric of the country. Numerous individuals too are working tirelessly to ensure that the country emerges as a stable, peaceful, prosperous and democratic role model for the world. Notwithstanding all these efforts, much more can and needs to be done. Through this regular publication, we will strive to bring to the attention of our esteemed readers the efforts of the Foundation as well as of other organizations and individuals to realize the Mission and noble objectives that we have set for ourselves. I believe that our initiative in the form of this Newsletter will go some way in realizing our goal. It will be our endeavour to share our experiences about our activities and programmes, stories on communal harmony and other relevant national events through these pages. We keenly look forward to receiving your comments and feedback on this publication. These will go a long way to help us in improving the quality and content of subsequent issues. I take this opportunity to wish all our readers good health, happiness and success on the festive and joyous occasion of India’s 67th Independence Day.

Ashok Sajjanhar Secretary, NFCH

NFCH plans to significantly expand its outreach for peace and harmony The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) observes the Communal Harmony Campaign and Fund Raising Week every year from 19th to 25th November. The last working day of this week is observed as the Flag Day.

During 2013, the Foundation has planned to send publicity materials to more than one lakh units to spread the message of peace and communal harmony.

On this occasion, publicity material like Flag stickers, wrappers, posters, NFCH brochures etc. are distributed to all States / UTs, Ministries/Departments, Central Public Sector Undertakings, para-military organisations, universities, selected educational institutions, and Indian embassies & missions abroad, etc. to observe and promote the spirit of Communal Harmony.

The Foundation is receiving encouraging and enthusiastic response from its supporters and patrons in the form of reports of programmes/ activities being organized by them, photographs as well as donations ranging between Rs.3 to Rs.5 crore every year to support needy children and perform other activities for this noble cause.

During the Communal Harmony Campaign week, a few child victims affected by violence from different States, assisted by the Foundation are invited by NFCH to Delhi to share their experiences which promote communal harmony & national integration.

An appeal is also made to all stakeholders to organize specific programmes in their organizations during the Campaign Week to promote the theme of communal harmony and national integration and raise funds to help children rendered orphan/destitute in different kinds of societal violence. They are encouraged to observe the last working day of this week as Flag Day. During 2012, publicity materials were sent to about 99,000 units all over the country as against 95,000 units during 2011. NFCH is continuously making all possible efforts to increase the number of entities it reaches out to spread its message.


These children also pin flags on the person of dignitaries such as Hon'ble President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and the Home Minister. The children are also taken for local site-seeing in Delhi and nearby historical places.

Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, renowned activist, social reformer and scholar is no more Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, the renowned advocate of peace and communal harmony, breathed his last on 14th May 2013 (Tuesday) in Mumbai and left this world at the age of 73. Dr. Engineer was reportedly ill for the last few days. Born in a Maulvi family of Bohras at Mumbai, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer was honoured with the first National Communal Harmony Award (1997) instituted by the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH). He also had the distinction of serving on the Board of the Governing Council, NFCH for nine years from Oct. 2000 to Oct.2009. Dr. Engineer had a liberal and scientific education. He took up the task of enquiring as to why two communities clashed with each other on so called religious grounds even after partition and concluded that political and economic factors are more important than anything else in any communal clash.

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar, Secretary, NFCH visits Shanti Ashram, Coimbatore for Interfaith Round-Table Amb. Ashok Sajjanhar, Secretary NFCH visited Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu on 4th May 2013 and participated in an Interfaith Round Table (2013) organized by Shanti Ashram, a Coimbatore based Gandhian Center working for rural development, learning and interfaith collaboration.

In addition to NFCH, the other partnering organizations included Day of Prayer and Action for Children (DPAC), Arigatou International, Bharitya Vidya Bhawan, Swami Vivekanand University and some Gandhian institutions. Some of the major issues debated at this Roundtable covered positive parenting & non-violent child rearing, child protection and prevention of early marriage of girls.

Dr. Engineer actively and with conviction represented the country at different fora. He was one of the prominent members of the National Integration Council chaired by Hon'ble Prime Minister of India. His Mumbai based organization, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism has been acclaimed for promoting peace and communal harmony by organizing different activities and for conducting research & studies and bringing out significant publications. Shri Engineer's writings reflect a rare sensitivity, originality and excellent comprehension of the ethics of all religions practiced in the country. His research & literary contribution has helped in removing misgivings about different religions. He published more than 60 books including his own authored/edited publications on the subjects cognate to religion and their rituals besides hundreds of articles published in various newspapers and magazines. Some of his publications include ‘Communalism in India’, 'Communal Riots after Independence : A Comprehensive Account', ‘Sufism and Communal Harmony’, etc. His recent autobiography 'A Living Faith – My Quest for Peace, Harmony and Social Change' was released by the Hon'ble Vice President of India Shri Hamid Ansari at New Delhi on 20th July 2011.

In his address, Ambassador Sajjanhar spoke of the essential spiritual unity of all faiths and religions. He underscored the urgent need for promoting communal harmony in the country to enable it to assume its rightful place of a peaceful, stable, secure and prosperous country in the international community.

The event was attended by nearly 100 international and national participants including religious leaders, representatives of faith based development organizations, agencies working for children, academia and young children.


Three Award winners to be conferred with National Communal Harmony Awards The Foundation is pleased to announce that three Award winners viz. Shri Khamliana, Shri Abdul Bari and Foundation for Amity and National Solidarity will be conferred with the prestigious National Communal Harmony Award in a function to be organized at New Delhi. While Shri Khamliana of Mizoram and Shri Abdul Bari of Odisha were jointly selected for the National Communal Harmony Award for the year 2011, the Foundation for Amity & National Solidarity, Delhi has been selected for the year 2012 by the Jury headed by the Hon'ble Vice-President of India. Individual Award winners will be given cash amount of Rs.2.00 Lakh each besides a citation while the winning organization will get an amount of Rs.5.00 Lakh plus a citation. Shri Khamliana, aged 57, is the Founder President of the Mizoram Youth Club which was established in 1990. The Club is a well known voluntary organization rendering social service and strengthening national integration in Mizoram. Shri Khamliana has organized musical concerts, essay competitions and cultural exchange programmes through his organisation to promote unity and peaceful coexistence among diverse ethnic groups. He played an active part in organising a social function in 2000 in the Army campus to build a civilian-military relation in the state and received fulsome appreciation. He actively participated and organized national integration camps by affiliating with the Nehru Yuva Kendra. Shri Md. Abdul Bari, aged 73 from district Bhadrak of Odisha, is a social activist and associated with at least eight social organisations and has selflessly helped the police and local administration from time to time to maintain peace and communal harmony. Shri Bari reportedly played a significant role in restoring peace and communal harmony after the communal riots in Bhadrak (1991) and at the times of Babri Masjid demolition (1992), serial blasts at Mumbai (1993), burning of Sabarmati Express at Godhra (2002) and after the inhuman killing of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati at Kandhamal district (2008). Recently in 2011, he helped in effectively controlling the communally violent situations at Bhadrak town on the occasions of Id-Milad-un-Nabi and Ram Navami festivals.


Formed in 1984, the Foundation for Amity & National Solidarity (FANS) is a Delhi based Trust which works for spreading amity and communal h a r m o n y. I t h a s organized numerous seminars, workshops, symposiums, inter-religious meets, youth camps, sadbhavana sabhas and rallies to promote social amity. The Foundation has instituted the 'National Amity Award', which is given every year to an eminent personality. A serial 'Yeh Gulistan Hamara' produced by the Foundation on national integration was telecast on Doordarshan. It has awarded numerous scholarships under its Amity Scholarship Scheme to promote education amongst the economically backward students. Fresh nominations invited for National Communal Harmony Awards 2013 NFCH has invited nominations for National Communal Harmony Awards, 2013 from individuals and organisations for their outstanding contribution for promotion of communal harmony and national integration. The Awards consist of a citation each and cash award of Rupees Five Lakh for an 'Individual' and Rupees Ten Lakh for an 'Organisation', on the basis of outstanding contribution over a period of ten years for an individual and five years for an organization. These are essential pre-requisite eligibility conditions to apply for this award. As in the past, the Award scheme has been given wide publicity throughout the country to invite the maximum number of nominations. Specific Award advertisement has already been published in leading national and regional newspapers throughout the country on 5th May 2013 to invite nominations. About 3800 Award brochures have been sent to sponsoring authorities competent to recommend names for this Award. Letters of request from Additional Secretary (CS), MHA have separately been sent to all the Chief Secretaries. All UTs have also been suitably requested to sponsor nominations. Doordarshan has been requested to give wide publicity to the scheme. Details of the National Communal Harmony Awards are available on the website of the Foundation

NFCH help reaches more than 11,000 children for their effective rehabilitation NFCH is making concerted efforts to help the needy orphan or destitute children affected by different kinds of societal violence. Under its Flagship scheme viz. Project Assist, the Foundation has been rendering financial assistance for care, education and training of children rendered orphan or destitute in various communal, caste, ethnic or terrorist violence since the inception of this scheme in 1992.

educational institutions gets evaluation of Project 'Assist' conducted to assess the real impact of the scheme on the lives of children. Based on the findings and recommendations of such studies, efforts are made from time to time to improve the scheme. Research proposals invited by NFCH under Project 'Research’ Proposals for research studies are invited from universities, research organisations, schools of social work, autonomous organisations, media personnel, renowned institutions for undertaking empirical, participatory and action oriented research and studies having relevance to promotion of communal harmony and national integration. Financial assistance is extended for undertaking research studies to cover expenditure on remuneration and allowances, travel, consultancy, printing, tools and equipment, tabulation cost, contingency and overhead charges as per requirements assessed. So far, the Foundation has sponsored six research studies on different specific topics. Two of them have also been published as monographs entitled (i) Religious Violence and youth - A Study of the Urban-Slum Youth in Mumbai, 2004; and (ii) 'Social Processes and Communal Tension: A Case Study of Vadodara City, 2006.

As on 31st March 2013, 11,198 children are covered under this project. They belong to 19 States and one Union Territory. A sum of Rs. 5.10 crore was released as assistance to 4103 children during 2012-13. A cumulative amount of Rs. 48.98 crore has been released so far as assistance. During 2012-13, a total of 165 new children/beneficiaries were assisted under the scheme. In addition, assistance was also released to 3938 existing beneficiaries. The scheme is being implemented successfully throughout the country with the help of concerned district administrations which identify and recommend cases of such children from their districts to the Foundation for sanction of assistance. The assistance released by the Foundation is disbursed to beneficiary children/youths through the concerned district administrations. As a new initiative, NFCH plans to deposit the funds directly to the accounts of children. The scheme has already been implemented in some districts. Relevant details are being collected from other districts. NFCH either on its own or through the help of reputed

Agencies and individuals desirous of undertaking research and having sufficient research experience in the relevant field are eligible for sanction of assistance. Faculty members in universities/colleges may send proposals (along with biodata of Project Director/in-charge) through the Registrar of universities. Other eligible reputed organisations, institutions may send proposals directly to the Foundation. Individual applicants will have to affiliate their research proposal with any UGC accredited research institute or university for carrying out research/ study, which will be responsible to manage the funds and oversee completion of research study. Further details of scheme and guidelines etc. may be seen at the Foundation's website


Some activities of NFCH 1. A Symposium on National Integration & Youth was organized by the All India Women's Conference in collaboration with the National Foundation for Communal Harmony at Maharajas College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram on 21st March 2012. The seminar highlighted the role of youth in promoting the idea of national integration through various cultural programmes, sports etc. 2. The Council for Rehabilitation of Widows, Orphans, Handicapped & Old Persons, Social Welfare Department, Govt. of J & K organized four awareness generation programmes on 'Communal Harmony and Relief and Rehabilitation of Militancy Hit Victims' with active participation and collaboration of NFCH. The programmes included workshop cum seminar and awareness generation camps which were held at different places viz. Poonch, Jammu and Rajouri in the State from January to April 2013. These programmes were well attended by about four thousand people from the State including dignitaries from the government, college students and citizens of the country. 3. AAROHAN, a Delhi based NGO organized a programme 'Abhivyakti' in collaboration with the National Foundation for Communal Harmony on 26th May 2012 at Nigam Pratibha Vidyalaya (Kanya) MCD School, New Delhi to promote the spirit of communal harmony. The event featured folk & fusion dance and stage play followed by a peace march. The event was witnessed by several hundred children and their parents. Dr. Lalit Kumar, former Secretary NFCH and Mrs. N u t a n K o c h a r, Councilor of the area also attended the programme and addressed the participants. 4. Shiv Charan Mathur Social Policy Research Institute,


Jaipur organized a one day Seminar on 'Role of Women in Mohalla Committees' on 10th October 2012 at Jaipur with cooperation and support of NFCH. The Seminar was inaugurated by Shri Wajahat Habibullah, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities and addressed by eminent speakers including Shri Julio F. Ribeiro. Dr. Lad Kumari Jain, Chairperson, State Women Commission, Rajasthan presided over the Seminar. Rajasthan Police Academy also collaborated with the Institute in organizing this programme. It was well attended by social scientists, intellectuals, social workers and other stakeholders.

5. A one day Programme on general awareness of Project ''Assist'' and promotion of communal harmony was organized by Aashwas, a unit of Assam Police in collaboration with the NFCH at Kokrajhar on 19th October 2012. The programme was attended by numerous children, financially assisted by NFCH, along with their guardians. Senior police officers from Assam Police, DCs/SPs, Resource persons, representatives of various NGOs, volunteers from village organizations, etc. also actively participated in the programme. Former Secretary NFCH and Assistant Secretary, dealing with the Project 'Assist' in Assam also attended the programme. Discussions focused on dissemination of information about the constitution of NFCH and its activities as well as on highlighting the importance of communal harmony for the prosperity of the nation.

Nation celebrates 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda India and the world is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of renowned social reformer, activist and peace worker Swami Vivekananda this year. Swami Vivekananda (originally Narendra Nath Dutta) was born on 12th January 1863 in Kolkata. Narendra excelled in music and gymnastics. By the time he graduated from Calcutta University, he also studied Western Philosophy and History. He had a yogic temperament and practiced meditation from his childhood. He got associated with the Brahmo Movement for some time. Swami Vivekananda was deeply inspired by Saint Sri Ramakrishna and considered him as his Master. He travelled all over India and felt that the appalling poverty and backwardness of the masses was due to neglect of the masses which was the real cause of the downfall of the country. He believed that the essence of Vedanta was life giving which would, in effect, not only improve the economic condition of the people, if adopted by them, but would also strengthen their moral fibre. Few years later, Swamiji founded the Ramkrishna Mission to promote his ideals. Swamiji was the first Indian to attend the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in September 1893. Later, he spent a few years in USA and London to preach and propagate Vedanta. He returned to India in January 1897 and delivered a series of inspiring lectures throughout the country to create religious consciousness for preserving our cultural heritage and to unify Hinduism by pointing out the common basis of its sects. He focussed the attention of educated people on the plight of the downtrodden masses, and expounded his plan for their upliftment by the application of principles of Practical Vedanta.

Before leaving this world, he wrote to a Western follower:

“It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body, to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere until the whole world shall know that it is one with God.” In 2005, the Ramkrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekananda received the prestigious National Communal Harmony Award instituted by NFCH for its outstanding contribution towards promotion of communal harmony and national integration. [Readings:] Promoting Communal Harmony through Education Education is the most important and meaningful thing. Education develops the feelings of socialism in people and teaches how to live in society making this earth a better place to live. Communal harmony means living in society with long term adjustment with peace. Simply, communal harmony means communal peace. It teaches how to communicate and understand each other. India is largely a diversified country with various religions, regions, castes etc. There is inequality in society and it is classified into ‘haves' and ‘have nots’. To overcome this problem, education is the best thing which must be promoted amongst all. First recipe of developing communal harmony is education. Education fulfils the needs of a person. It develops critical thinking and makes a person aware about the society. It also develops diversity and inequality. Illiterates must be educated so that they know everything about communal harmony. Education also helps in the overall development of the country which is possible through communal harmony. Education enables people to think that 'diversity is waste and communal harmony is the best. Communal harmony makes the people work unitedly since unity is strength'. Society will become more powerful and this can lead to development of a country. Few tips to make education a powerful instrument to promote communal harmony: - Value education must be given to children - Free education must be given to poor people, so that they could become literates - Vocational education must be part of our educational system

On 1st May 1897, he founded the Ramakrishna Mission, wherein monks and common people would jointly undertake to propagate Practical Vedanta, and contribute various forms of social service. Later, he got the Ramakrishna Math registered in late 1890s.

- Lessons on communal harmony should be part of text books

For his whole life, Swami Vivekanada preached and guided people to live a monastic life and serve the people. His health kept on deteriorating and he left this world for his heavenly abode on 4th July 1902.

(This edited essay received commendation in a competition organized by Sree Vidyanikethan International School, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh during Communal Harmony Campaign Week held in November 2012. NFCH does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the essay.)

G. Naveen Kumar, Class-10


‘I am not alone’ Thirteen years ago, a Muslim housewife Rasiya Beevi from Kerala had stopped an old and destitute Brahmin widow Antharjanam from jumping in front of a train and ending her hopeless life. Rasiya, then 34, took the 76-year-old highcaste Namboothiri woman home, gave her shelter and sowed the seeds for an unusual relationship that bloomed despite their religious and cultural differences.

Antharjanam and has also been spending time with the old woman every night for the last year-and-a-half. Antharjanam is now 89. When she was healthy, Beevi used to take her to the nearby temple, wait outside the temple when she went inside for darshan. Several Muslim organisations wanted Antharjanam to embrace Islam. But Beevi's reply was a firm no. She said that “I would live my religion and Amma her Hindu religion,". Their story of affection and harmony inspired Malayalam Producer-Director Babu Thiruvalla's film Thanichalla Njam (I am not alone), which went on to win the National Award for 2012 for best feature film on national integration. (Taken from The Indian Express, Alappuzha, dated 25.03.2013, slightly edited)

Two Muslim students win all three Sanskrit medals in Gujarat University

On 22 January 2000, Rasiya Beevi, also a Congress member of Ambalapuzha Village Panchayat in Alappuzha District, spotted an old, frail frame woman standing near a deserted railway track, waiting to jump in front of the next coming train. Antharjanam had chosen this spot so that no one would spot her and stop her. Rasiya Beevi approached her and had a brief interaction. Antharjanam belonged to a prominent Namboothiri family in Central Kerala and was married to a man with psychiatric problems who died five years after their wedding. For about 25 years after that, she worked as a domestic help and returned to her brother's house as age caught up with her, only to be thrown out. Distraught, she tried to kill herself several times until Beevi found her. Beevi took the Brahmin woman home and got her to stay with her family comprising her husband, who is a small businessman and her three children. She bought a traditional Hindu lamp used in Kerala and other items Antharjanam needed to do pooja and allowed her to recite Hindu prayers in her Muslim home. In 2004, Beevi managed to get Rs 55,000 from a housing scheme for the homeless from her Panchayat, chipped in with some of her savings and built a two-room house for Antharjanam. Political rivals accused Beevi of using Antharjanam as a front to pocket Panchayat funds and even demanded her resignation. But the two women held a press conference in 2006 to tell their story and silenced them. Beevi also built a structure to grow Tulsi plant at Antharjanam's new house and ensured a regular supply of Rudraksha chains, sandal sticks and materials for worship. Beevi cooks vegetarian food at her house and takes it for


Indian society is mostly misunderstood by a myth that Urdu is language of the Muslims and Sanskrit is language of the Hindus. Defying such stereotypes, a news item published in the Indian Express dated 07.03.2013, is evidence that languages can't be linked with religion. The news item mentions that a Muslim boy and a Muslim girl have bagged all three medals instituted for the BA course in the ancient Indian language by the Gujarat University. Two of the medals for Sanskrit were won by Taiyab Sheikh, a student of YS Arts and Commerce College in Devgadh Baria in Panchmahal District. The third went to Yasminbanu Kothari of the Adiwasi Arts and Commerce college in Santrampur in the interior of the state's tribal belt. Taiyab Sheikh was reportedly inspired to learn Sanskrit after hearing stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharat in his school days. Sheikh wants to be a post-graduate in Sanskrit and pursue teaching it as a career. However, Sheikh, who is a son of a farmer, completed BA degree with Sanskrit as main subject but failed to get a teaching job in a primary school after doing a teachers training course. Taiyab Sheikh is now pursuing B.Ed. from a Godhra College. Yasminbanu Kothari, daughter of a fruit seller, developed a liking for Sanskrit when she was in class 12th. Yasmin could study up to class 12 and did not face any opposition to her choice for Sanskrit. She was encouraged to study Sanskrit by her father and one of her father's friend who is also a college teacher. Yasmin is now a primary school teacher at Santrampur and like Taiyab Sheikh wants to obtain a Master's degree in Sanskrit and work as a teacher. (Taken from The Indian Express, Ahmedabad dated 07.03.2013, adequately edited)

Unity in diversity Amity between different communities in the country and absence of any friction or tension among them is known as communal harmony. In India, communal harmony is a precondition to internal peace, which is very much essential for its progress and development. Since the world is versatile in nature, we find different kinds of people who belong to different communities and follow different religions. God created us but did not create different castes and religions. It is the human beings who created differences among the people. Every religion teaches to live in peace, then why there are differences. Christianity states that 'Love thy neighbour as you love thyself'. Hinduism teaches 'sarve bhanvantu sukhinah' meaning every person in this world should live happily and with bliss. Mutual tolerance and regard for other religions is an age-old tradition of the country. Still the vested interests are always active to create disharmony. There was, however, not a single instance for some years back where obstruction in religious performance has been cause of communal disharmony. This pehenomenon in the Indian context is politically motivated and engineered by vested interests. Communal harmony as such is highly sensitive issue and cannot be soft pedaled anymore in view of our traditional values, cultural heritage and secular character of our state.

For the sake of maintaining communal harmony, Akbar started a new religion called 'Deen-e-Ilahi. He made a Rajput lady his princess and gave equal respect to all religions. During the time of last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, a function 'Phool walon ki Sair' used to be organized regularly in Delhi where people of both religions i.e. Hinduism and Islam, participated together with equal enthusiasm. The founders of our Constitution also underlined the need of communal harmony and strongly promulgated for equal rights to all Indians irrespective of caste, race, religion and gender. Today it has been more than six decades since we got independence, still we are facing the problems of discrimination amongst the people belonging to different castes and religions. We are a secular nation, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari - we all are like different flowers of different colours in a bouquet. In essence, India has unity in diversity. Ms. Priya J. Aradhya Class XI (This slightly edited essay won 1st Prize in a competition organized by Police Modern School, Ghaziabad during Communal Harmony Campaign Week held in November 2012. NFCH does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the essay.)

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P. Prudhvi Class - 9th (2012) Jawahar Navoday Vidyalaya Veleru Krishna Distt.

Prathiksha Class 7th (2012) CS Academy, Erode TN

Lumina Sharma Class 10th (2012) Kendriya Vidyalay, Jaipur


V. Tarun Class - 8th (2012) Kendriya Vidyalaya Jyothinagarh, A.P.

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar assumes charge as Secretary, NFCH Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar assumed charge as Secretary, National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) in April 2013. Earlier, he served as Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia and held several significant positions in Indian Embassies in Washington, Moscow, Brussels, Geneva, Bangkok, Teheran and Dhaka.

Institute, New Delhi from 1992 to 1994. He was Deputy Chief of Mission as well as Deputy Permanent Representative of India to UN-ESCAP during his assignment in Bangkok from 2000 to 2003.

He joined the Indian Foreign Service in July 1978 and retired as Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India in July 2012. Prior to joining the Indian Foreign Service, he worked as Staff Officer and Manager in Bank of India for three years.

Ambassador Sajjanhar was an active negotiator in the IndiaThailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as well as the IndiaAsean FTA discussions. The US-India Nuclear Deal was signed by Indian PM Dr. Manmohan Singh and US President Bush during his term in Washington in 2005. He was Deputy Chief of Mission to European Union, Belgium and Luxemburg from 2005 to 2007. The EU-India Strategic Partnership as well as negotiations for EU-India Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement were launched during his tenure in Brussels. Ambassador Sajjanhar was decorated by the Government of Kazakhstan the Kazakh President's Medal for 'his invaluable contribution and in providing unprecedented impetus' to bilateral ties between the two countries. He was decorated with the National Award by the Government of Latvia for strengthening and expanding bilateral ties and friendship. Both these Awards were conferred upon him after his retirement from the Government Service.

Ambassador Sajjanhar negotiated for India in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and made vital contributions to outcomes in several areas. He participated as a Resource Person and Speaker in several Conferences on the Multilateral Trading System and Doha Round in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Papua New Guinea, Seoul, Geneva, etc. A keen proponent of Indian culture, he held the post of Director of Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre in Moscow where he was instrumental in ushering in a new paradigm in cultural diplomacy. He also worked as Director, Indian Foreign Service

Currently, Amb. Sajjanhar is a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Chandigarh and Member, Governing Board of several Educational and Foreign Policy Institutions. Amb. Sajjanhar is fluent in English, Hindi and Russian and has working knowledge of French and Persian. His interests include reading, music and Indian culture.


About NFCH

The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. It was registered in 1992 as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Major activities of the Foundation include providing assistance for the rehabilitation of child victims of different kinds of societal violence, promoting communal harmony and national integration either independently or through state governments or NGOs, etc., and conferring Awards to Individuals and Organizations for their outstanding contribution towards promoting communal harmony & national integration. Besides these, the Foundation also sponsors and conducts research studies and brings out publications on the theme of communal harmony and national integration. The Governing Council, headed by the Union Home Minister determines the Foundation's broad policies, suggests measures for achieving its objectives and exercises overall supervision over it. The management and administration of the Foundation rests with the Executive Council. Its ex-officio Chairman is the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs. The Secretary of the Foundation is its Principal Executive Officer. The activities of the Foundation are carried out through interest received on its investments made out of its corpus and donations received. The Foundation is actively networking & partnering with concerned State Governments, different ministries and departments, educational institutions, NGOs and voluntary organizations etc. to effectively implement its schemes. Public Sector Enterprises and other organizations and individuals are generously supporting NFCH to work for this noble cause.

Kindly deposit your donations in the following NFCH Bank Accounts :

Central Bank of India A/C No. : 1065439058 IFSC Code : CBIN0280310 State Bank of India A/C No. : 10569548047 IFSC Code : SBIN0000583 All donations are eligible for 100% deduction under the Income Tax Act 1961


Advisors SURINDER MOHAN Joint Secretary cum FO REKHA DWIVEDI Editor-Director (Documentation)

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NFCH Newsletter August 2013  
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