Dr Pathak’s work has made a critical difference in the lives of millions of severely disadvantaged and his efforts to improve the sanitation infrastructure in the country
Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the “Father of Sulabh Sanitation Movement”, is a true Living Legend who is widely recognised in India and abroad for dedicating his life to build nationwide sanitation movement spanning five decades. He has worked tirelessly for human rights of manual scavengers who clean dry latrines, come from the lowest stratum of India’s caste-based system and are mostly women.
Fiinovation conferred “The Legend Award” upon Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder, Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, at its 10th Foundation Day celebration at Hotel Hyatt Regency, New Delhi, in recognition of Dr Pathak’s efforts to improve the sanitation infrastructure and accessibility in the country.
Dr Pathak said, “I believe the person who is appreciating you is greater than the person who is being appreciated. This is because it is of great difficulty for people to appreciate and uplift the work of others. I am grateful to the Fiinovation family, especially its Chief Executive Officer Dr Soumitro Chakraborty, and its distinguished award jury for considering me worthy for this special recognition and appreciation.”
“I am deeply touched and honoured and I want to assure them that this award will strengthen my spirit and commitment to do more for the national cause and the suffering humanity,” said Dr Pathak while receiving the award.
He further added, “Based on my nuanced understanding of India’s cultural plurality, I have tried to adopt an idealistic and yet pragmatic approach to problems, and have succeeded in pushing radical things in a reformist mould, taking along all sections of society. Like Gandhi, whom I adore and follow, I am a sort of critical traditionalist—thankful for the values of tradition that enhances our love, compassion and humanity, and ashamed of its vulgarity that degrades and divides us. I think, changing the entrenched mindset and social prejudice is difficult but living in the past is dangerous. To be vibrant and creative, the individual and society need new ideas and new movements. Such thinking makes me embrace the virtuous, irrespective of its origin—ancient or modern, Eastern or Western. Thus, I am both a traditionalist and a modernist, the kind of a socially engaged person who keeps his doors and windows open while being firmly rooted to our Indian soil.
Some people say that my motto of love and compassion for all has empowered me to make impossible things—like the liberation of scavengers and freeing the widows from a life of misery—possible. Anyway, I would not have been able to do anything noble and great without love and compassion for people-in-distress. I deeply and passionately want an Indian environment that is healthy, an Indian society that is harmonious, and an Indian heart that is filled with love and compassion for all.”
Dr Pathak was honoured along with the renowned change-makers Dr MS Swaminathan and Dr Bhaskar Chatterjee.
A True Living Legend
“If you look at these three individuals, you will realise an era where there were no social media. They actually decided to carry on despite all the hindrance. That act of resistance we saw and the spirit that they showed during the course of the journey is what we celebrate today,” said Dr Soumitro Chakroborty, CEO of Fiinovation.
“Dr Pathak’s work has made a critical difference in the lives of millions of severely disadvantaged poor who cannot afford individual toilets, and those who worked as manual scavengers and faced untold discrimination in the society.
Dr Pathak believes that a social system that is not inclusive must be changed. He runs nation-wide sanitation campaigns, highlighting the plight of manual scavengers as well as the cause of the long-suffering widows whose lives had seen a tremendous change after he stepped in to ensure that the society treats them fairly as fellow human beings.”
“My Source of inspiration”
Dr Bhaskar Chatterjee in his speech praised the selfless work done by Dr Pathak in the last 50 years and said, “You were and are the inspiration throughout my journey of CSR. I feel so privileged to share a stage and award with you. He led the country in the field of sanitation. The connection of Dr Pathak with Mahatma Gandhi is almost natural. What Mahatma Gandhi started, the whole idea of taking class and caste away carrying night soil on the head is reminiscent of all of that is carried forward by Dr Pathak. He is a true Gandhian.”
Father of Indian Green Revolution
Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan (born 7th August, 1925) is an Indian geneticist and international administrator, renowned for his leading role in India’s Green Revolution, a programme under which high-yield varieties of wheat and rice seedlings were planted in the fields of poor farmers. Swaminathan is known as the “Father of Indian Green Revolution” for his leadership and success in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat in India.
Father of Corporate Social Responsibility
Dr Bhaskar Chatterjee is widely acclaimed as the Father of “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)” in our country. He was instrumental in framing and issuing the CSR guidelines for Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) in April 2010. Thereafter, he played a major role in the inclusion of Section 135 in the Companies Act of 2013 and in the framing of the rules thereafter. Today, as the DG & CEO of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), he spearheads the National Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility (NFCSR). Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. (Fiinovation) is a global consulting company operating in multiple disciplines of the social development sector with emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability.
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