Bharathiyar awards return to South Africa after Covid hiatus

Johannesburg, September 25 (PTI): The annual awards named after famous Tamil poet and freedom fighter C Subramania Bharati, have returned to Siva Gnana Sabay — a religious organization based in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg — after a two-year break forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization has been awarding the prizes since 2007 in September, when South Africa celebrates Heritage Month.

The awards were instituted by the late Guru Marie Pillay, one of the founding members of Sabay, who explained at the time that Bharati or Bharathiar, a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi, was one of the greatest Tamil poets, a prolific writer , philosopher and a great visionary of immense genius.

“His patriotic songs promoting nationalism, the unity of India, the equality of men and the greatness of the Tamil language have earned him the title of ‘Desiya Kavi’ (national poet),” Pillay said.

The awards are named after an Indian writer, poet, journalist, independence activist and social reformer from Tamil Nadu Chinnaswami Subramania Bharati, better known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar.

Rather appropriately, the theme for this year’s awards was “Heroes of the Covid Pandemic”, as 22 individuals and community organizations received citations for their role in helping their fellow citizens fight the pandemic.

“We received a wide range of nominations for the awards, all from people who had identified the recipients as someone who had helped them in a variety of ways, often putting their own lives at risk during the lockdown,” said Maggie Govinden of the Sabay. , adding that it was difficult to narrow down the shortlist, as there were so many deserving candidates.

In addition to Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious leaders, recipients included ambulance services, doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, funeral homes and a host of civic organizations and individuals who went above and beyond. call of duty despite the risk of ensuring that others affected receive medical care and food.

A posthumous award has been given to Thiru Seeralin Naidoo for the tremendous support he gave to others before succumbing to the dreaded disease himself.

A project launched online during lockdown to provide a platform for artists of all genres, SA Musicians Against Covid has been awarded after attracting millions of followers and participation from artists around the world.

Among the many other recipients was the Saaberie Chishty Ambulance Society, whose research department engaged the Ministry of Health as well as the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and assessed international regulations regarding Islamic burials to develop appropriate procedures for South Africa.

A team of medical experts and religious leaders then compiled a guideline on the standard process for Islamic burials which is now used not only in South Africa, but also in neighboring African countries.

The award from Pandita Lucy Sigaban of SA Hindus was for organizing a seminar to get the government to provide PPE kits to priests conducting funerals and cremation services as it placed a heavy personal burden on them.

The father-son team of Sammy and Shumarlan Naidoo from the Apple Group of printing companies received an award for providing thousands of free copies of a pocket information booklet, which was very well received by people amid the plethora of misinformation during the pandemic.

Father Raymond McQuarrie of St Thomas Church in Lenasia, who received an award alongside Deacon Kenna, said in his many decades of international and local work he had never encountered such a tight-knit community than that of Lenasia. PTI FH CK

(This story is published in the auto-generated syndicate feed. No edits have been made to the title or body by ABP Live.)

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