Sri M was presented with the first Interfaith Harmony Award at the Silver Jubilee celebration of the Temple of Understanding India, an institution inspired by Juliet Hollister and currently chaired by Dr Karan Singh.It was attended by Shri Hamid Ansari, Honourable Vice President, who was the Chief guest of the evening.
Before handing Sri M the award, Dr Karan Singh said, “A most remarkable man, Sri M has walked 6000 Km from Kanyakumari. He has interacted with lakhs and lakhs of people and that’s real grassroot work. We can talk theory about Interfaith, but how do you put that into operation, how do you project that on the ground? That’s what Sri M has done. So we think there’s no better person that Sri M to be the recipient of this award”.
Sri M accepted the award and started by introducing himself and why he’s called Sri M, “Above all, I love it when I’m called M because it is the first letter of Manav or Manushya. When we end a Satsang, we say ‘Om shanti shanti’, when two Muslims meet they greet each other with ‘Salaam Alaikum’, may the well being of the Lord be on you. Jews say ‘Shalom’, in the Jain system of thought, ‘Ahimsa Paramo Dharma’ is paramount, you see this everywhere in essence.”
Sri M said, “After Kabir, I feel like I’ve somehow taken on the mantle. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not a rebirth. I want to work towards unity where human beings are looked at as human beings. And this country is respected as a garden with different kinds of flowers. Hon Vice President asked me what will you do after the Walk? All people who have undertaken such walks, have stopped somewhere and started working. So, we also have to do this. The Temple of Understanding has given us this Award. It is for all of us. I’m very thankful. I feel encouraged to go further and this walk will achieve its purpose some time or the other, God willing”.
The Hon Vice President spoke next and said, “This is a joyous happening. We have gathered here to celebrate the conferring of an important award to a very distinguished person who has contributed his bit so meaningfully for making our world a better place. I felicitate Sri M.”
In a touching gesture, one of the members of the Temple of Understanding, Smt Vimla Lalbhai presented each of the padayatris with a wonderful memento, which depicts the walk pictorially, footsteps along the Walk of Hope route from Kanyakumari to Kashmir!