Five NRI entreprenuers who have immensley contributed to the development and humanity causes of Indians in India and all over the world were recognised by the Indian Club – Bahrain during its centenary year celebration held here on Thursday, February 5.
Former President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam conferred the Indian Club Centenary Awards on Mangalureans – noted NRI entrepreneur and philanthropist Ronald Colaco and NMC and UAE Exchange chaiman Dr B R Shetty – as well as on Lulu Group founder Yusuf Ali, Bahrain-based entrepreneur Dr Ravi Pillai, and Dr Varghese Kurien.
The colourful centenary ceremony was held under the leadership of Anand Lobo, who is also a Mangalurean and current president of Indian Club Bahrain.
Hundreds of people were seen outside the venue wating to catch glimses of Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, who arrived with full state security amidst loud cheers from the huge crowd that had gathered.
Over a 100 women dressed in traditional attires welcomed the former President with ‘arati’.
Ram Singh, first secretary, Embassy of India, Bahrain, Mala Mohan Kumar, wife of the Ambassador of India to Bahrain, Ashok Kumar, vice-president of Indian Club Bahrain, Mathew Joseph, former president of Indian Club Bahrain and general convener of the Indian Club Bahrain centenary celebrations were present.
The music band of Indian High School, Bahrain rendered the national anthems of both Bahrain and India.
Anand Lobo in is presidential address said that India – Bahrain relation has reached a new height with the arrival of Dr Kalam for the Indian Club centenary celebrations. He thanked all the former presidents, general secretaries and members for their huge contributions towards the development of Indian Club. He hailed the five achievers who have immensely contributed to the Indian population in Bahrain as well as the wider GCC. “Indian Club Bahrain will always strive for the betterment of its members and the Indian citizens in Bahrain,” he said.
Dr B R Shetty and Yusuf Ali could not attend the event due to prior committments abroad. Vineesh Kumar, country manager, UAE Exchange accepted the award on behalf of Dr B R Shetty, while Juicer Roopawala, head of Lulu Group in Bahrain accepted the award on behalf of Yusuf Ali.
Ronald Colaco, who is known for his invaluable charity works irrespective of caste and creed, humbly accepting the award thanked Indian Club Bahrain for chosing him as one of the awardees. He said he felt fortunate to accept the award from legendery Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.
“Whatever little things I am doing for this society is purely on the behest of my parents, the greatest souls living on this earth, who worked day and night without getting any rewards in return, who poured continues love and care from the womb to the tomb. My mother’s advise was, son, your richness do not count your wealth, you count your richness from what you share and care with those who are around you. My father simply followed the principle of not preaching but practicing, I am just following their advice,” said Colaco in his thanksgiving address.
Colaco was hailed for initiating the Link De-Addiction Centre in Mangaluru which was built and has been maintained at a cost of Rs 40 million, and which is helping drug and alcohol addicts. The Centre has already helped over 20,000 families from around Karnataka. His contribution towards buidling churches and temples independently was also applauded and he was hailed as a role model to humanity.
Dr Kalam in his address inspired youth and children, and said, “I met rulers of Bahrain. Themessage I got from the Bahrain palace is what I am conveying to you now, and that is, 350,000 Indian people are residing in Bahrain, consisting nearly 40% of the population, and they are doing very well.”
He congratulated and lauded Indian Club Bahrain on celebrating 100 glorious years.
He read out his own inspiring poem, and the audience repeated after him, as follows:
I will fly
I am born with potential
I am born with goodness and trust
I am born with Ideas and dream
I am born with greatness
I am born with confidence
I am born with wings
so, I am not meant for crawling
because I have wings
I will fly, I fly, I fly
He urged chidren to watch less of TV and read more books. He advised parents in Bahrain to keep at least 10 good books in their home libraries. “Chldren can make a happy home,” he said, and asked children to follow what his advice, which was, “From today onwards I will make my mother happy, if my mother is happy, my home will be happy, if home is happy, society will be happy, if society is happy, Bahrain will be happy, Iif Bahrain is happy, India will be happy, if India is happy, world will be happy.” He thus inspired children amidst huge round of applause from the audience.
He further said, “After 100 years of celebration, now its time to fly.” He appreciated the founder of the Club who thought of establishing it 100 years ago for the benefit of Indians in Bahrain.
He also congratulated the five achievers on receiving the Centenary Award.