1 Nov : Balraj Puri, noted journalist, writer and human rights activist, was on Saturday honoured by the prestigious Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi conferred the award on 81-year-old Puri for his contribution to peace, national unity, communal harmony and human rights, especially in Jammu and Kashmir.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lauded the key role of Puri in reconciling many differences between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah and later Indira Gandhi and Abdullah.
“Many of Balraj Puri’s efforts were low profile and have gone unsung,” Singh said speaking at the function to confer the award which comprises Rs five lakh and a citation.
The award was instituted by Congress party in 1985, its centenary year, to give recognition to outstanding contribution to national integration and understanding by individuals or institutions.
Born in 1928, Puri began his career in journalism in 1942 and since then has worked in or edited several publications.
As Director of the Institute of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs, he has focussed attention on social and economic issues facing the state through seminars and research.
He has authored or co-authored than 40 books.
Former recipients of the award include Aruna Asaf Ali, M S Subbulakshmi, Rajiv Gandhi, A P J Abdul Kalam, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Satish Dhawan, Shyam Benegal.