Dr Agar conferred Pravasi Bhartiya Samman in Varanasi

Dr Nihal Agar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

President of India, Shri Ramnath Kovind conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman  awards on 28 eminent personalities and two organisations of the Indian diaspora for their contributions and achievements in various fields, in Varanasi on Wednesday, 23rd of January, on the concluding day of the three-day diaspora conclave.

President Kovind at the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award ceremony

According to a list provided by the External Affairs Ministry, the awards were conferred in the fields of social, community and public service, business, business management, entrepreneurship, chartered accountancy, training and simulation, science, medical science, engineering, technology, architecture, academics, arts and diplomacy.

Dr. Nihal Singh Agar, known for his services to the Hindu  community in Australia, was conferred the award under the category of social service. Dr. Agar retired as the Professor and Head of the Department of Physiology, University of New England. He is among the 28 recipients of the this prestigious award this year that the Government of India confers every year during PBD.

Dr. Agar is the founding member of one of the largest organisations dedicated to the Hindus of the world. Dr Agar also founded the Ekal Foundation Australia in 2007 and joined the Hindu Council of Australia in 2010. In 2015 he was honoured with Order of Australia Medal for his sheer dedication and helping to promote cross cultural cooperation. Hinduism is a growing religion in Australia and the Hindu community which is now over 400,000 strong. Hindu Council of Australia under Dr. Agar has always been consulted for his views as a head of Hindu organisation in the successful multicultural, multireligious community in Australia. Under his stewardship very popular Diwali Melas are conducted with over 400 volunteers who handle record crowds and celebrate the festival of Diwali in Sydney. Dr. Agar was also the leader of the team that helped organise a gathering when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sydney in 2014 and spoke to 16,000 Sydneysiders.

This year at the PBD, two organisations Indian community Association of Egypt and Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha and Swami Saradaprabhananda of the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa, got the award for community service.

Himanshu Gulati, a Member of Parliament in Norway, and Shamim Parker Khan of UAE were honoured for public service.

Under the business category, Ramesh Chotai, of Canada, Amit Waikar, of China, Bitthal Das Maheswari of Italy, Bhavdeep Singh Dhillon of New Zealand, Vinodan Verambally Thazhikuniyil of Oman and Girish Pand and Surender Singh Kandhari of the UAE were honoured.

Malini Ranganathan of France and Gita Gopinath of US were honoured for their contributions in the fields of academics and arts.

Veteran South Africa n diplomat Anil Sookal was conferred the award in the field of diplomacy.

The 15th edition of the PBD was organised by the External Affairs Ministry in partnership with Uttar PRadesh government.

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