The idea is to nominate and select citizens from all sectors. These awards are given to Individuals, and not to any organisation or company. Our NOBLE LAUREATES practice true democracy by fighting for social justice and value the Power of ONE to light the candle and dispel the darkness. Our NOBLE LAUREATES are caring and concerned citizens who have gone beyond business as usual, to be and lead the change with an “I CAN” attitude, by taking stands and speaking out against social wrongs.
Our past NOBLE LAUREATES include Dr. Verghese Kurien, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan and Late Major General. R.S. Pannu for the Lifetime Achievement Karmaveer Puraskaar and various other eminent and little known common citizens (refer awardees list on website), who have performed extraordinary and exemplary tasks to promote social justice through citizen action. Over the past few years the Karmaveer Puraskaar have been fondly referred to by the people as the NOBEL and / or OSCAR for Social Justice & Citizen Action’
Last year we also launched the "KARMAVEER CHAKRA" - the national medallion for proactive voluntary action, which shall be given to citizens who are proactive volunteers and work selflessly for a cause dear to their heart, not just by donating money but by being involved with the cause, understanding the issues and actively advocating for the cause.
We, at iCONGO, are proud that we have managed to create a ripple effect with our thoughts and ideas and have triggered other movements through our networks/ partners. The discussions at our forums have led to larger movements like Lead India, Teach India and No criminals. Various international organisations and institutes like University for PEACE, UN Conference and other forums have taken our knowledge as reference material for their case studies and white papers.
How did the KARMAVEER movement begin?In 2004 the founders of iCONGO and KARMAVEER were facilitating the Prince of Wales visit to India wherein we took him to shelters for the homeless women and later had a small ceremony at YWCA - Delhi. At this ceremony we had some street plays to highlight issues related to homelessness, sex work and other issues of street children living on railway platforms. We also felicitated the Prince of Wales as a "Karm Mitra - Friends in Action" and got him to award other Karm Mitras (Invisible Leaders of Society) who were the real unsung heroes. That day the Prince of Wales recognised the work of 4 little know unsung heroes. Mogalamma, a 22 year old woman who built community based organisations despite being affected by Polio. Saddam Basha, an auto rickshaw driver, who gave up his livelihood to go to the Gujarat camps after the 2002 riots to work on peace building initiatives. Mahadev Rajmane, who was working for the legal rights of poor prisoners after having been denied his rights and completed a prison term that was much longer than expected. The fourth Friend in Action was Mangala Khillo, a bonded laborer, who after freeing himself was working for the release and rehabilitation of others in similar plight. YES BONDED LABOUR STILL EXISTS. So these were the real life unsung heroes who shared the stage with Prince Charles in October 2003 and that was when the seed of the KARMAVEER concept was sown.
Around this time the founders had also begun work on the Vision of India, a TV series to showcase the Vision of India as perceived by citizens from different walks of life. In this series various Captains of Industry & Media, Musicians, Spiritual Gurus, Sport stars, Celebrities, NGO leaders, and filmmakers were showcased and the TV series was launched with an awards program at the Taj West End in Bangalore. Various people and the who's who of Bangalore/ India attended. While the program itself was well attended and had the necessary glamour with all sponsors contributing to make it happen, the founders of iCONGO were not too happy with the outcomes. That is when we thought of creating an austere and simple ceremony where the recognition would be paramount and not the venue or the glamour of the program. We decided that the Recognition program and awards should be done at a simple, austere but highly dignified ceremony where we brought people from all walks of life together on the same platform to work together for the larger public good. We also decided that the program should be designed to create maximum interactivity between people from different walks of life and thus work towards BRIDGING THE GAP between communities that needed a life with dignity and people who had the ability to stand up and speak out and say YES TOGETHER AS ONE WE CAN RIGHT EVERY WRONG. The idea was to have street children, sex workers, dalits, tribals and other people from the poor and underserved communities to give away the awards to captains of Industry, celebrities and all awardees. Thus began the saga of the KARMAVEER PURASKAAR, an award and recognition program to showcase inspiring CITIZEN ACTION stories under the aegis of iCONGO's flagship RIGHT every WRONG movement.
Now into its fifth year, the KARMAVEER PURASKAAR is a highly coveted award and is given only to Individual Citizens (Individual social responsibility is vital for us) from different sectors. The ceremonies in the founding years were held at Satyagraha Mandap in Gandhi Darshan with very simple, austere and frugal arrangements. Various media houses partnered and promoted the initiative and in the past 2 years we have managed the ceremony without any sponsor (after losing our sponsorship contract due to the recession) as we do not want to be supported by just any brand/ company, which would weaken the values, dignity and ethics of the award. The integrity of the awards is paramount.