Sadhguru felicitates 42nd Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation Award Winners

Mumbai: The Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation honoured winners for their exemplary efforts in the field of humanitarian and social work at the 42nd edition of the Jamnalal Bajaj Awards. The four awardees were felicitated today at the annual award function in the presence of the Chief Guest Sadhguru, Founder, Isha Foundation, Shri Rahul Bajaj, Chairman and Board of Trustees of Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation, Dr. R. A. Mashelkar, Chairman, Council of Advisors of the Foundation, Members of the Council of Advisor of the Foundation and the august gathering.

Since the institution of these awards, the Foundation commemorates the birth anniversary of Shri Jamnalal Bajaj every year. As a tribute to the great man on this special occasion, the Foundation felicitated achievers in the field of humanitarian activities and Gandhian constructive programmes by presenting them with a Citation, a Trophy and a Prize amount of INR 10,00,000/- in each category. The Foundation continues to serve the ideals to which Shri Jamnalalji was dedicatedly been involved during his lifetime.

The details of the awards for this year (2019) are:

Award Category Awardee Name and Title State / Country
Award for outstanding contribution in the field of Constructive Work Shri Bhawani Shanker Kusum Rajasthan
Award for Application of Science & Technology for Rural Development Shri Mohammad Imran Khan Mewati Rajasthan
Award for Development and Welfare of  Women and Children (Instituted in memory of Smt. Jankidevi Bajaj) Sushri Shaheen Mistri Maharashtra
International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India Ms. Sonia Deotto Mexico

Shri Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation addressing at the occasion said, “There is an utmost need to identify those who unswervingly dedicated their entire existence in propagating and preserving the noble ethos and philosophy of Gandhian values. It is our privilege to honour our awardees and many such individuals for their everlasting efforts in touching the lives of the people of the deprived communities and for transforming them emotionally, economically and socially, thereby, personifying Gandhian principles with resilient conviction. The Foundation through Jamnalal Bajaj Awards strives to honor the selfless and courageous real life, unsung heroes.”

About the 2019 Winners

Shri Bhawani Shanker Kusum

Recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contribution in the field of Constructive Work – 2019

Shri Bhawani Shanker Kusum’s efforts in different fields of social service, particularly in rural Rajasthan has changed the lives of thousands of people afflicted from leprosy, physically handicapped and the poor rural and women of backward castes and tribes.

Following is a brief description of activities undertaken by Shri Bhawani Shanker Kusum:

  • He encouraged the youth to join ‘Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Vahini’ for propagating peaceful change in the society.
  • In the ‘Sarvodaya Movement’ Shri Kusum mobilized the youth to fight against corruption, work for social change and encouraged students to participate in Sarvodaya Examinations.
  • He set up Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS) in 1984 to carry out rural and constructive development work following the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan. GBS’s work being that of empowering the women, their rights and economical self-sustenance, conserving natural resources, wastelands development, serving the leprosy infected people and providing basic education to the tribal children has helped touch the lives of the people in 266 villages in Jaipur.
  • Shri Kusum organised poor rural women of backward castes in Self Help Groups (SHG), for small savings and livelihood activities, helped them combat domestic and worksite violence and made them economically self-sustained.
  • Shri Kusum has widely traveled across India and abroad, presented papers, shared his experiences and participated in the conferences and workshops related to women’s empowerment, combating desertification, developing wasteland, prevention of HIV/AIDS etc.

Shri Mohammad Imran Khan Mewati
Recipient of the Award for Application of Science and Technology for Rural Development – 2019


A self-learner and with a technology bent of mind, Shri Khan has voluntarily contributed and created educational `Apps’ to provide quality content for learning, access to education and engage school children (especially those of rural India), reduce school dropout rate and bridge the digital divide.

Following is a brief description of activities undertaken by Shri Mohammad Imran Khan Mewati:

  • Shri Khan successfully designed his first mobile app in 2011, which was on General Science (Notes and Quizzes) for primary school children. Children’s engagement was found to be encouraging and recorded around 15 lakh installs because of its user-friendly and colourful features.
  • Shri Mohammad Imran Khan Mewati donated 50 apps to the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India with a condition that it will be available to people free of cost.
  • To name a few, Project Dishari, Alwar Shakti, Digital Mewat, General Science, etc. are some of his well-known applications covering topics related to education, career and skill development, positive engagement of youth, employment and job updates, social reforms, and networking for educational aid.
  • Keeping in mind the background of the beneficiaries i.e. 60-70% of the users being rural based, Shri Khan has focused on developing apps which are rich in content, workable offline and free of complications.
  • Self-taught and self-effacing Shri Mohammad Imran Khan Mewati has helped transform rural India by bridging the digital gap with his contribution. It has facilitated access to educational and employment opportunities. Thus giving rural youth chances to live a fulfilling life.

Sushri Shaheen Mistri
Recipient of the Award for Development and Welfare of Women and Children – 2019


Born in Mumbai, Sushri Shaheen grew up in five countries.  At the age of eighteen, moved by the inequity she saw on a trip to visit her grandparents she dropped out of Tufts University and returned to Mumbai with the intention of understanding the unequal opportunities that children have.

Following is a brief description of activities undertaken by Sushri Shaheen Mistri:

  • She founded the first Akanksha Centre in 1989, enrolling 15 children and engaging college friends as volunteers. This became the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organisation to maximize the potential of children living in low-income communities through education.
  • Over the past 30 years, the Akanksha Foundation has expanded from serving 15 children in one Centre to almost 9000 children across Mumbai and Pune.
  • Sushri Shaheen Mistri founded Teach For India (TFI), with the audacious vision of providing an excellent education to all children across India by building a movement of like-minded people committed to ending educational inequity in India.
  • Teach For India runs a selective, two-year, full-time teaching Fellowship where Fellows work to transform the lives of students in under-resourced schools. Today, TFI reaches 38,000 children through the direct work of over 1000 Fellows and 250 staff members across seven cities (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Mumbai).
  • Sushri Shaheen Mistri’s work for children over three decades has mobilized thousands of people to work together for a systemic change in education and led to building a remarkable network of education change-makers in our country.

Ms. Sonia Deotto

Recipient of the International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values outside India – 2019

Ms. Sonia Deotto travelled to India to research, under the guidance of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, on the Mandala concept, universal archetype for peace and harmony. The result of the participatory research developed with different communities of India and afterwards (2001) with indigenous peoples of Mexico was the OraWorldMandala (OWM), an art project to visualize the planet as a “World Mandala” and connect its different continents through creative expressions.

Following is a brief description of activities undertaken by Ms. Sonia Deotto:

  • Ms. Deotto’s long drawn association with Gujarat Vidyapith led to her findings of the effectiveness of integration of Ahimsa and art.
  • The participatory research which was developed with the contribution of different communities of India and indigenous people of Mexico led to the formation of OraWorldMandala. It is a peace movement to promote the practice of creative Ahimsa through the `ArtScience of Mandala’ with a vision and mission of Sarvodaya – The ultimate goal, Ahimsa –  The practice, Reconciliation – The first step, ArtScience of Mandala – The medium and Truth – The first vow.
  • Ms. Sonia Deotto has deepened the work of Mahatma Gandhi by using her artistic skills to create and represent the commonness of humanity.
  • She has fostered a culture of peace through education; promotes sustainable economy and social development; propagates respect for all human rights; ensures equality between women and men; nurtures democratic participation, advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity; supports participatory communication, free flow of information and knowledge; and promotes international peace and security.
  • In the field of education, Ms. Deotto has interlinked various Mexican universities, adapted research outcomes to enlarge the scope of rural and urban educational content and has introduced Gandhian literature in Spanish language for the benefit of the Mexican commoner.
  • Ms. Deotto’s involvement in various activities seeks to promote cohesion among people through creative peace local actions for community unity, constructive works and satyagraha. The activities also generate interchange programmes across Mexico, Italy and India.
  • She is the co-creator of the world mapping for Sarvodaya, a digital platform developed to systematize exhaustive data on Gandhian constructive works worldwide.
  • Ms. Deotto strives to carry out innovative work by awakening moral conscience, fostering community self-reliance and bringing harmony of human life with nature.