Beyond the Horizon
By Pradeep Kumar
Few foreign nationals working for greater interest of India were given due recognition with present central Govt deciding to confer Padma Award on them. Indonesia social worker Agus Indra Udayana is among the 108 Padam Shri awardees announced on January 25 last.
A noted Gandhian running an ashram in Bali Island has been consistently promoting Gandhian values by taking part in various national and international forums on nurturing democracy, religious harmony through inter-faith dialogue and education. He frequently attends various events in different parts of India with a cultural team for his love for Bharat responding to call of Mother India.
He has been disseminating Gandhian ideologies, particularly those relevant to prevailing social concerns, through seminars, workshops, competitions, camps and prayers. He has also translated Gandhian writings into Indonesian language. Prompted by a serious concern for the spiritual, cultural, social and economic life in Bali, he instituted Gandhi Puri Ashram in 1997 to promote enduring interfaith dialogue to create cultures of peace, justice and healing. The Ashram offers free education with food and lodging to 27 students regularly while over 250 students have passed out to become nation builders for which he had earned the sobriquet of Guruji in Indonesia for his selfless services.
He regularly takes part in social work activities in India, Indonesia and other parts of the world working in close coordination with NGOs promoting Gandhian values and Hinduism. International students from Universities in America visit the Ashram to learn about its activities under Gandhi Vichaar Studies and for interacting with Balinese youth promoting Gandhian values and ideals. The students from various Indonesian universities also visit the Ashram for research/doctoral projects.
He was in Rishikesh (Uttarakhand) in March 2019 as a member of Indonesian parliamentarians’ delegation as coordinator of provincial Bali Govt to set up a Balinese temple and Bali Dwipa Pura Cultural Centre in Rishikesh. He had expressed his happiness, by saying: “Indonesian love to come to banks of Ganga. Now our sisters and brothers will have yet another reason to visit and have a beautiful space to call their home away from home”.
He maintains close contacts with India’s prominent Gandhian scholars and also New Delhi’s Gandhi Smriti, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Bangalore’s Sarvodaya International Trust, among others.
He was instrumental in reviving ancient Indonesia-Kalinga maritime relations on a visit to Bhubaneswar in September, 2019 on a cultural exchange programme at the invitation of Odisha Govt. Odisha had ancient trade relations with Indonesia. Kalinga or Odra Desha (present Odisha) had emerged as a maritime power in 1st century CE and its traders used to sail in boats to faraway South East Asia, like Indonesia, Bali, Java, Borneo, Sumatra and Ceylon for trading besides maintaining socio-cultural ties.
The team had called on Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and gifted an Indonesian sword to the CM besides and unfurling national flag at KIIT cricket stadium.
It may be recalled that leading a five-member group, he had arrived Naharlagun by train on his maiden trip to Arunachal Pradesh to attend a week-long International Youth Leadership camp at Kalaktang in West Kameng district during September 12-19, 2018. About 250 youth of both sexes from across India had attended the camp.
Yoga experts Komang Edi Susanta and Herawati were in the team. They were then pursuing post graduation in yoga and health, but winners of many laurels including topping in all Indonesia yoga completion in 2016 and left the campers enthralled with their excellence in yogashans. This was 15th NYP-AP camp in the state organized by president H P Biswas and vice president Pradeep Kumar, but unique as many foreign delegates for the first time were campers.
Awards: Guruji’s good deeds also had won him Dr Abdul Kalam Awards-2018, Jamanalal Bajaj Award-2011 for promoting Gandhian values outside India, Pemuda Pariwisata Harapan Award-1999 for his contribution towards promoting tourism and culture through youth, Remaja Dewata Award-1990 for promoting art and culture.
‘Sultan of Music’Adnan Sami
The Padma awardees also included noted singer Adnan Sami, born in London to a Pakistani Air force veteran Ashrad Sami Khan and Indian mother Naureen, a diplomat of Pashtun origin, originally from Jammu & Kashmir state. He was granted Indian citizenship in January 2016. An Indian singer, musician, music composer, pianist, and actor, he sings Indian and Western music, including for Hindi movies. His most notable instrument is the piano. He has been credited as the first musician to have played the santoor & Indian classical music on the piano.
A review in the US-based Keyboard magazine described him as the fastest keyboard player in the world and called him the keyboard discoverer of the 90’s. The Times of India had called him the ‘Sultan of Music’.