Sonia Gandhi presents Srimanta Sankardeva Award

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Guwahati, Jun 13 (UNI) The prestigious Srimanta Sankardeva Award was conferred on eminent journalist B G Verghese and noted Vashnivite scholar Dr K D Goswami at a function here today by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Mr Verghese received the award, the highest civilian award constituted by the Assam government for the year 2005, while Dr Keshavananda Deva Goswami was awarded for the year 2006.

Ms Gandhi, presenting the award which carries a cash prize of Rs three lakh and a citation, stressed on the greater importance and relevance of Srimanta Sankardeva's teaching's in the present world.

She underlined the need to build up a movement to preach peace and brotherhood through the ideals of the great man and highlighted the role of the 'namghars' (place of worship) to resolve strives.

Mr Verghese, accepting the award, paid tribute to the preaching of Srimanta Sankardeva and highlighted their significance in ushering in peace in North East.

Pointing to his long association with the region, he said NE should emerge as the capital of India's growing business with the South Asian countries, rather than remain a peripheral partner.

The noted journalist stressed on accelerated development of NE for the region to catch up with the national average and stressed that peace and development should go hand-in-hand for it to happen.

Eminent Vashnivite scholar and Satriya culture exponent Dr Goswami, in his acceptance speech, appealed to the state government for greater assistance to the Vashnivite institutions to conserve and preach the teachings of Srimanta Sankardeva.

He said government patronage was necessary to take the Mahapurush's teachings, which are of immense importance in preaching tolerance in today's conflict-ridden world, to the world stage.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Central ministers Santosh Mohan Dev and B K Handique, Assam Cultural Affairs Minister Gautam Bora, AICC leader Verappa Moily, APCC chief Bhubaneswar Kalita and Assam Chief Secretary PC Sharma were also present on the occasion.

UNI SG KK RN1818

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