Indian-American physician, philanthropist and publisher, Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir M. Parikh of Parikh Worldwide Media, LLC, was honored with the Vishwa Gujarati Samaj’s top award for a non-resident Indians Feb. 1, in Ahmedabad.
Gujarat Governor O. P. Kohli presented the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratibha International Personality Award 2017 to Dr. Parikh on behalf of the Vishwa Gujarati Samaj (VGS), at a ceremony held in the Gujarat Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and attended by more than 300 people from the business world, professionals, academia, and government, as well as leading Gujaratis from United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany.
The Governor also awarded VGS’s Kanjibhai Desai Gujarat Pratibha Award 2017 to Dr. Ashok Vaidya, a Mumbaibased physician engaged in research popularizing Ayurveda and other systems of medicine.
Besides the citation, a memento and shawl, the award to Dr. Parikh included and a check of Rupees 250,000, which Dr. Parikh donated to the Vishwa Gujarati Samaj for carrying on its children and women’s empowerment projects. “You have been doing excellent work in helping underprivileged children and women find a better footing in life. I hope my donation will help further this cause. So please accept this with my deepest regards,” Dr. Parikh said in his speech at the awards function.
Congratulating the award winners, Gov. Kohli praised them for their social work and dedication to uplifting the poor. He exhorted those present to not only to help their children get a higher education but teach them to use their talent in the interest of society at large and repay the debt to the nation.
Krishnakant Vakharia, president of the Vishwa Gujarati Samaj, in welcoming the Governor and others, outlined the VGS’s social welfare and other activities.
Dr. Parikh expressed his gratitude and said he was proud to be in the company of other non-resident Indians who have received the award in the past, like U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams, and Chicago businessman Sam Pitroda, Raj Mohan Gandhi, Lord Meghnad Desai, and Lord Bhikhu Patel.
“When you think of Gujarat and Gujaratis, it’s the entrepreneurial spirit of the community that comes first to mind. Wherever the community has settled, created roots, they have been admired for their business acumen,” Parikh said. He praised the Vishwa Gujarati Samaj for its work. “Not only are they helping provide a platform for Gujaratis globally, they are ensuring that the next generation stays in touch with their roots, heritage and traditions,” he said.
Parikh, who has received the Padma Shri in 2010, the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman award before that in 2006, as well as the Knight of the Ecumenical Hospitaller Order of St. John Knights of Malta, in 2012, said he cherishes the Vishwa Gujarati Samaj award because “it comes from the topmost Gujarati organization in the world, to a fellow Gujarati.”
Besides his chain of newspapers, Dr. Parikh recently launched the think tank, Parikh Foundation for India’s Global Development, aimed at discussing and spreading awareness about India’s emerging global role, and to discuss U.S. and India policy issues, as well as relations with other countries. He also disclosed that he will soon launch a new television news and entertainment channel in the U.S.
“He has done a lot of services not only for the Gujarati community but humanity at large,” Vakharia, president of the VGS, told Desi Talk, referring to Dr, Parikh. “He helped at the time of the earthquake, the tsunami, and he has done humanitarian work in other countries,” Vakharia added. He also credited Dr. Parikh for furthering U.S.-India relations. “In our view, the United States is the only great power now, and that relationship is very important for any country,” Vakharia said.
Dr. Vaidya, in his speech, dwelt on spiritual development being an intrinsic part of any development work, and Gujarat with its historical links to leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Dayanand Saraswati who were born in Gujarat.
Some other noted guests who attended the ceremony included Krishna Pujara, leader of the National Congress of Gujarati Organizations in the U.K., and eminent architects Hemant Naik and Kalpana Naik from Brisbane, Australia. Himanshu Patel, representative of the Germany Gujarati Samaj, also attended.
Parikh Worldwide Media LLC is the largest Indian-American print media publishing group in the United States, Dr. Parikh’s noted. The group publishes “News India Times,” a national weekly newspaper; “Desi Talk in New York,” a weekly newspaper serving the New York- New Jersey-Connecticut region; “Desi Talk in Chicago,” a weekly newspaper serving the Greater Chicago area and the Midwestern states; “The Indian American,” a national bimonthly feature magazine; “Gujarat Times,” a Gujarati language weekly. It also recently launched the magazine U.S.-India Global Review (usindiaglobalreview.com).