On Accepting the CCCI Excellence in Social Service Award
Your Excellency, Mrs. Margaret Alva, Governor of Rajasthan, Rev. Elias Gonsalves Bishop- Elect of Amravati, Mr. Vincent Mathias, Director, M/s Velvin Packaging Pvt. Ltd, Mr. Henry Lobo, Chairman, Christian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), all other Board Members of the CCCI, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I feel both humbled and honoured today on receiving the Excellence in Social Service Award from the Christian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
I want to say a big ‘THANK YOU’ to all concerned, for considering me worthy to receive this prestigious award.
In the type of the work I am engaged with, when one necessarily has to take on the most powerful and other vested interests, one receives more brickbats than bouquets! So when such an award comes one’s way, it is certainly a breath of fresh air and an added motivation to the work we do.
In accepting this award in all humility – I do so on behalf of the many we work with, whose human rights are violated all the time….
For me, an award is never about one’s self, (that should matter the least), but at the fact, that there are growing human rights violations in the world we live in and the victims in most cases are the poor, the marginalized, the sub-alterns who desperately need each one of us to give expression to their pains, sufferings and the de-humanised conditions of their existence.
A high profile audience, like those gathered here today, certainly do not need a talk on what is happening today to the other half of our society. What I sincerely hope is that in some small way, my coming here today would make a small difference in the lives of some, to reach out to the less privileged of our sisters and brothers. It is not without reason, that Jesus reminds us, that at the Last Judgement, we will be asked questions which are extremely simple but yet very embarrassing. None of us at that moment should in any way attempt to utter: “but when did I see you Lord….?”
Any award is a recognition not only of the person concerned but at the fact that there are so many others who ensure that the works happen! I therefore, at this ceremony want to recognize several who have been traveling this journey with me as friends, companions,mentors, volunteers and colleagues.
This evening, I would like to dedicate this award,to ALL my colleagues -those who have been with me in the past and very particularly to my colleagues today in PRASHANT: Beena, Freda, Lona, John and Joseph, who have accompanied me in a special way these past many years.
Time constraints do not permit me from saying much more. In thanking each one of you, very sincerely for this honour, I want you to join me in praying in the words of our Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore “Into that heaven of freedom my Father, let my country awake…” Let each of us awake! Thank you!!!
(This Speech was given by Fr. Cedric Prakash sj on receiving the CCCI Excellence in Social Service Award from H.E Mrs. Margaret Alva,the Governor of Rajasthan, at Hotel Kohinoor Continental, Mumbai on 22nd September, 2012)