President of India Awards Prizes to Top Essay Writers
26 September 2003
Upon the conclusion of his address to the more than 100,000 youth assembled in the Amritavarsham50 stadium, Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam handed awards to the authors of the top essays in the Celebration’s essay-writing competition.
More than 150,000 students from 1,200 schools throughout India participated in the competition, writing on the theme: “Spirituality, Human Values & The Environment.”
They were vying for cash prizes totaling Rs. 550,000. The competition was held at various centres throughout India on 20 July 2003.
In the presence of Amma, the President handed awards to five of the six top essay writers. However, the second-prize winner in the junior category—Indrani Dasgupta—asked if it would be okay for Hindi film star Jackie Shroff to hand over her award. Mr. Shroff was one of a handful of celebrities onstage alongside the President to make short inspirational speeches to the youth as well.
Dhanashree Vinay Renge (class X, Mount Carmel Girls School, Nagpur) and Jayasree S. (class X, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir, Trichur, Kerala) shared the first prize in the senior category. Third prize was taken by Varsha R. (class IX, Kuriakose Elias English Medium School, Kottayam).
In the junior category, the first prize was won by Gauri Manoj Sattigeri (class VII, M.V. Herwadkar English Medium High School, Belgaum, Karnataka). Second prize went to Indrani Dasgupta (class VII, Kerala Samajam Model School, Jamshedpur, Bihar). And third prize went to Fareya Ozair (class VII, Delhi Public School, Jharkhand).
Students were judged in two categories—senior level (classes 8 to 10) and junior level (classes 5 to 7)—with similar prizes being awarded in both categories. First Prize: Rs. 100,000; Second Prize: Rs. 50,000, Third Prize: Rs. 25,000; 10 Merit Prizes: Rs. 10,000 each. Apart from this, 100 certificates were awarded as Consolation Prizes.
Expert panels were established to judge the essays. Judges for the Senior Level students included Dr. Vijay P. Bhatkar, the architect of India’s first supercomputer, Param 10000; Dr. Vandana Shiva, environmentalist, and Dr. Ashok Ganguly, CBSE Chairman. Judges for the Junior Level included Dr. Rajasekharan Pillai, Chairman UGC; Justice Shri. Venkatachellaiyah and Shri. Sanjay Gupta, Editor of Dainik Jagran.