NEW YORK (TIP): The Nargis Dutt Foundation organized its 31st annual fundraising event at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Uniondale, Long Island Sunday, September 30.
Member of Parliament Priya Dutt, daughter of the late Dutts-Nargis and Sunil, was the keynote speaker along with Ambassador Prabhu Dayal, Consul General of India in New York.
The occasion saw a number of Indian Americans being honored for their excellence, services and contribution to community. They included Haridas Kotahwala (Lifetime Achievement), Kamlesh C. Mehta (Lifetime Achievement), Dr. Parag H. Mehta (Excellence in Medical Care), Sudhir Vaishnav (Excellence in Media), Gurdev D.P. Singh (Business Entrepreneurship), Dr. Tanveer Mir (Excellence in Medical Care), Ravi Chopra (Business Entrepreneurship), and Gurdip Singh Narula (Dedicated Service to the Foundation).
Mrs. Priya Dutt spoke about the vision and work of the Nargis Dutt Memorial Foundation which was founded by her late father Sunil Dutt and Inder Bindra. She said during the last more than thirty years, the Foundation has taken up 57 projects at a cost of more than $5 million. She spoke feelingly about the vast population of India that suffers from cancer. She said the journey was long and the effort had to be kept on.
And Consul General Prabhu Dayal underscored the importance of taking people along in the noble work that the Foundation was doing when he said, ” If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you go together.” He praised the work of the Foundation and the Indian American community for their generous support to the cause espoused by the Foundation.
Inder Bindra, founder and past president of NDMF explained the method that goes in to funding a project. He spoke of four basic conditions: 1. The Foundation gives financial assistance to only charitable hospitals in India. 2. No cash is given; only equipment is provided. 3. The assistance should be used for treating the poor and the needy. 4. All equipment sent to a charitable organization has to be installed in the hospital for the care of the cancer patients.
He added that the Foundation also sponsors doctors and volunteers for training in US to render better service in India.
A cricket bat with signatures of Indian Cricket team that has been with Inder Bindra was auctioned for $20,000. There were three to bid – Harry Bola, Peter Bheddah and Gurdev DD.P. Singh. However, finally, the bat went to Gurdev D.P. Singh.
A dazzling Fashion Show was presented by Ginny Jaggi that added color to the event.
Before the event began Priya Dutt addressed a press conference, with Board members by her side. The Press Conference was conducted by The Indian Panorama Editor Prof. Indrajit S. Saluja
“I am overwhelmed with the response from the Indian-American community to the charitable work we at the foundation are doing,” Mrs. Dutt said in her opening remarks. “Though there are several non-profit bodies working for the relief of pain caused by cancer, ours has a special place in society as 100% of all donations go towards our projects and other work we are doing with various organizations.”
Recalling the charitable acts the foundation has undertaken over the years, Ms Dutt said one of the most important things was that it funded the entire expenditure of a teen-age girl who lost her right hand. “Now that woman is leading a near-normal life with an artificial hand,” the MP noted.
According to her, the foundation is No. 1 in India in doing cancer-related service to the needy-both in rural areas and urban centers. She lauded particularly the services of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai; Indore Cancer Foundation, Madhya Pradesh; Karnataka Cancer Institute, Hubli; and Indo-American Cancer Institute, Hyderabad. The foundation’s work in Punjab was also praised.
She said the foundation ensures the supply of equipment and medicines to several of the centers and hospitals. “Spreading awareness is important. What causes it and how to prevent it. For instance leukemia/blood cancer can be cured and one has to stay away from carcinogens,” Ms Dutt pointed out.
In her special message to the souvenir released on the occasion, Ms Dutt said, “It is my ambition to be decent. This shall be my doctrine. One that I will try and pass on to all who I deal with.”
She added, “I am writing this message to congratulate you [all officeholders of the foundation] on completing three decades of fruitful service to improve cancer hospitals for the benefit of poor people in India.”
Members of the foundation were praised by none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself. In his brief message on the great occasion, the prime minister said, “The commitment to the cause of cancer and the missionary zeal with which the Nargis Dutt Memorial Foundation has been helping those affected by this disease is indeed commendable.”
The foundation has financed cancer-focused hospitals and organizations across the country in states such as Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
The nonprofit, charitable body whose donations are tax-deductible is based in New Hyde Park on Long Island, New York state. It is formally known as Nargis Dutt Memorial Cancer Foundation Inc.
The foundation was set up in 1981 in memory of Nargis, a noted film star in India. Though she entered the movie industry in mid-1940s, it was only in late 1940s she became widely known. She was probably best known for her film “Mother India”, which was nominated for an Oscar in 1957.
She was a caring woman and her dream was to see that the underprivileged in India should have access to quality medical care. Despite the fact that she receive world-class treatment in New York, Nargis passed away in 1981-the year in which the foundation was established in her memory. She was 51 at that time. Her husband Sunil Dutt and her children, particular Priya Dutt, have since then embarked upon on the mission of helping cancer-stricken patients in India. Sunil breathed his last in 2005 serving the nation in the position of Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs.
DJ Kucha and Mala Bakshi did well to manage the ceremonies.