Daan Utsav Samman honours true spirit of ‘giving’

Kolkata: Eight schools and six housing societies of Kolkata received the second Daan Utsav Samman at a befitting ceremony at G D Birla Sabhagar, Kolkata, for notable contributions in the areas of Environment, Healthcare, Education and Community Welfare, among others.

The Samman honoured the true spirit of contributing to society arising from the desire to see positive change in the life of people. Special honours were conferred on Bharat Tirtha Vidyapeeth, for the most innovative contribution to its chosen areas and overall contribution in bettering the lives of people. The Samman comprised trophies and cash rewards.

The decade-old Daan Utsav is a festival and not an NGO or an organization. It belongs to the people, just like Diwali, Christmas, Eid, World Elders’ Day or Mother’s Day. A large number of socially conscious citizens volunteer their time across the country to encourage more and more people to celebrate the “Festival of Giving”.

In celebrating the Utsav, some people donate money, some their time, some materials and some just love. One can celebrate Daan Utsav the way one wants. Individuals do small acts of giving across the country. Corporate Houses organise volunteering and ‘Giving’ activities, with their employees and customers, NGOs organise awareness or fund-raising events, housing societies visit or invite orphanage inmates or elderly homes or throw a party for their drivers, maids and watchmen. Schools and colleges encourage students to volunteer and many individuals, including celebrities, do their little bit in whatever way they can.

Daan Utsav Samman, a unique initiative, has been recognizing, since the past two years, significant ‘Giving’ events, organized by schools and housing societies in and around Kolkata, in these categories- Daan Utsav Sarvottam Saarvik Samman, Uttam Saarvik Samman, Arogya Samman, Shiksha Samman, Harit Samman, Kalyan Samman, Navin Samman and Ujjwal Samman.

While Laxmipat Singhania Academy has been awarded the Daan Utsav Sarvottam Saarvik Samman this year, the Uttam Saarvik Samman has gone to Delhi Public School Megacity, Kolkata. Special mention need to be made of Bharat Tirtha Vidyapeeth, which has received the Daan Utsav Ujjwal Samman, introduced this year to honour the most “Inspiring Giving” initiative. This small school, being run with individual initiative, has set an example of the maxim, “where there is a will, there is a way”.

Among the housing societies, Golf Green Sarodotsava Committee has received the Daan Utsav Sarvottam Saarvik Samman this year and Ultadanga Sangrami has got the Uttam Saarvik Samman. Westwind Residents Welfare Association has received the Harit Samman for the second year this time.

A large number of schools and housing societies were encouraged this year to organize ‘Giving’ events. The Daan Utsav Samman(the only Samman that recognizes ‘Giving’ efforts among schools and housing societies) has been instituted to recognize charity work by schools and housing complexes towards the community, environment, education and health and hygiene.

More than 35 schools and 90 housing societies took part in this year’s celebration of Daan Utsav. A distinguished panel of judges, comprising Sanjay Budhia, industrialist, Alokananda Roy, danseuse and social reformer, June Dutt, educationist, and Dr. K M Mandana, senior cardio-thoracic surgeon, selected eight schools and six housing societies for the award, conferred today.

Daan Utsav is celebrated every year for a week, starting 2 October, Gandhi Jayanti. The Prime Minister of India, in his Mann ki Baat address, had asked people to take part in Daan Utsav and bring happiness to those around us. This year, more than four million people from 120 cities and towns and 50 villages across India took part in Daan Utsav in various ways, giving their time, money or material. More than 1,200 ‘giving events’ were registered on the Daan Utsav website.

In addition to the unique Samman initiative, more than 300,000 people took part in Daan Utsav in and around Kolkata only. More than 30,000 children from prominent schools of the city collected and distributed clothes, medicines, food, toys, blankets and mosquito nets. Students also volunteered their time in old age homes and helped in cleaning neighbourhood areas. More than 1,500 people, living with HIV, received new clothes for the Puja.

More than 10,000 blankets, mosquito nets, saris, slippers and bed sheets were distributed among the flood-affected in the Sunderbans. Nicco Park hosted more than 1,100 children from rescue homes around Kolkata for a day of fun and laughter. Under the ‘Pujor Jaama’ programme, more than 2,500 underprivileged children were provided with new clothes. Volunteers prepared food and, on Gandhi Jayanti Day, more than 2,500 people were fed across the city. The Ambuja Neotia Group hosted 200 under-privileged children for an evening of fun, food, magic, jugglery and gifts.

The M P Birla Planetarium gave a peep into our universe to more than 400 children. The children were given food and gifts. A premier eye hospital conducted several free camps, organized cataract operations and distribution of spectacles. (ANI)