Mumbai: Union minister for Home and Cooperation Amit Shah on Sunday hailed Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for conferring Maharashtra Bhushan upon Dr Dattatreya Narayan aka Appasaheb Dharmadhiokari and said that it is expression of “gratitude towards the selfless service”.
Maharashtra Bhushan, the highest civilian award of the state of Maharashtra was conferred upon the founder president of Dr Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari Pratishthan and veteran spiritual and social activist Padma Shri awardee Dr. Appasaheb Dharmadhikari at a mammoth gatharing at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai. Shah was addressing a huge crowd of around 20 lakh people who had gathered for the function from nook and corner of Maharashtra.
“By the way of this act of conferring this award on the person behind such a service oriented spiritual organization, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Dy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have ensured inspiration to millions to lead a selfless life,” Shah said.
Amit Shah praises Dr Appasaheb Dharmadhikari
While hailing the social and spiritual work done by Dr Appasaheb through his foundation, Shah said, “It’s for the first time in my public life I’ve seen such a huge crowd gathered to witness felicitation of a selfless social and spiritual worker who is miles away from any kinds of publicity.”
Referring to the scorching heat Shah said, “Even while the temperatures have touched 420C, the fact that so many people are sitting here under open sky in a very disciplined manner shows the respect and sense of gratitude they hold for Appasaheb. This kind of respect comes only with selflessness, tireless service and complete devotion to the cause.”
Appasaheb’s father Nanasaheb also got MB award
The Maharashtra Bhushan award was conferred upon Appasaheb’s father Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari in 2008. Referring to the fact, the union home minister said, “One finds several examples where families are blessed with goddess Lakshmi for generations together. Some families have a great tradition of outstanding gallantry. However, I’m seeing a family engrossed in selfless service for three generations together. First Nanasaheb, then Appasaheb and now Sachinbhau and his younger brothers are seen carrying the Samskar of Seva to the next generations.”
“The teachings of Nanasaheb and Appasaheb are eternal. They have brought change in the lives of millions of people on the basis of the mantra of “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah” and taught them to live for others when the country was in need. This is the reason why the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi honoured Appasaheb with the Padma Award,” Shah added.
While CM Shinde, whose family happens to be followers of Nansaheb Dharmadhikari, narrated how he himself too had received emotional support and strength to stand up again in life in moments of utter despair, DCM Fadnavis elaborated on the huge work being carried out by the organization and its impact. Maharashtra Minister for Cultural Affairs Sudhir Mungantiwar and Guardian Minister of Raigad Uday Samant along with several of their cabinet colleagues too attended the function.
Appasaheb to donate ₹25 lakh to CM's relief fund
Appasaheb said, the award has given him strength to carry out the work with a greater resolve. He also announced that the sum of Rs 25 lakh of the award money would be donated back to the CM’s relief fund.
Elaborate arrangements were made for the mammoth gathering. Planning was done to ensure availability of drinking water, clean toilets, parking facilities, and smooth transportation for over 20 lakh of Appasaheb’s followers who gathered for the function. Buses were arranged for citizens to travel from nearby railway stations to the location.