Profiles of the
Young Achievers for 2009
Pavitra Chalam is a young film maker who is pursuing the challenging vocation of making social documentary films. She studied at the Frank Anthony Public School in Bangalore and was a National level roller skater and athlete for over ten years, winning several awards. Pavitra was selected by the BBC to attend an intensive course in Broadcast Journalism soon after her under graduation from Mount Carmel College, and went on to work at the New Delhi National News.
In July 2003, Pavitra represented India at the Youth Initiative for Peace in Pakistan where she made her film debut with ‘Bus’ – a cinematic exposition of the shared ideals of the youth of both nations. In August 2003, as a journalist at the World Youth Congress in Morocco, Pavitra contributed to the creation of the Casablanca Declaration presented to the UN. She traveled in Europe in 2004 as an Ambassador of the NGO - Peace Child International and used film as a medium to reach out to the youth in France, Spain, Germany, Scotland, London and Ireland. She was invited to present a report at the Convergence Festival in Dublin and was featured on the cover of Ireland’s Life magazine as a forerunner of the ‘global sustainability’ community.
‘Anamika – Her Glorious Past’, her thesis at the New York Film Academy, tries to understand the transformation of the Devadasi from the revered patron of the arts to the wronged, fallen woman of today. She was the only woman in the course and graduated top of her class. ‘Anamika – Her Glorious Past’ won at a festival called ‘Eye Am: for the woman behind the lens’ and was shown on Manhattan cable television. The film was selected for the Sixth IAAC Film Festival in 2006 in New York. The film went on to receive critical acclaim at the Indian Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2007, a special screening in Washington at the World Bank, the American Embassy in New Delhi.
Pavitra Chalam’s work covers issues that are important, moments that are precious to the fabric of change that is constantly being woven – and brings them to the world through the powerful medium of film. She considers film an important platform to communicate the change she wants to effect.
For her change inducing, sensitive, culturally-reverent film-making; we are proud to honor Pavitra Chalam with the Brigade Group & Rotary Bangalore Midtown Young Achiever Award 2009.
Pavitra Chalam has been awarded the Ability Media Film and Video International Award by Leonard Cheshire Disability for her film Khushboo. We are delighted at her latest achievement. For details, click here.
Bangalore and swimming are related to such an extent that we can’t talk about Indian swimming history without mentioning this city. Joining the stellar league comprising of Nisha and Reshma Millet, Rehan Poncha, Shikha Tandon, Rahul Batra and Ambica Iyengar, is 17-year-old Aaron D’Souza, who, within a short span has started making waves.
He is one of India’s most outstanding swimmers. He has been participating in various major international events since 2005. Due to the lack of advanced training facilities in Mumbai when his family relocated to Bangalore with the sole purpose of getting Aaron trained at the Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre.
Aaron is currently training for the international trinity – the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Youth Games and the Olympic Games. He has a record of winning the highest number of international medals - 26 medals in all; and a total of 79 medals nationally. He has also broken 2 records internationally and 33 records nationally, having recently established a record in the 200m freestyle category at the Asian Age Group Championships in Tokyo with the timing of 1 minute 52 seconds. He won the first individual medal for Karnataka at the Commonwealth & Asian Youth Games. He also won the Sports Star Award at the Pogo Amazing Kids Awards in 2006. He was also nominated by the Indian Olympic Association to represent India at the Singapore Friendship Camp in December 2009, as a part of his preparation for the Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010.
Simple at heart, Aaron is one of those exceptional youth who strives to work harder and make India proud. Going by his performance so far, the young boy is bound to bring many more laurels to India and Bangalore.
For his determination, fervor, dedication, remarkable talent and impressive achievements, we are proud to honor Aaron Agnel D’Souza with the Brigade Group & Rotary Bangalore Midtown Young Achiever Award 2009.
Aaron D'Souza won three gold medals at the Karnataka junior aquatic championship 2009. He swam 100m freestyle with a timing of 52.48s, to better the previous best of 52.71s, for the fourth gold medal (11th South Asian Games) in 2010. He recently received the Ekalavya sports award.
Ashwin Karthik established himself as a true achiever from the very moment of his birth. He was born with a deficient supply of oxygen, which resulted in a crippling and life-long condition called cerebral palsy. He is a quadriplegic, with the severest form of cerebral palsy that affects all four limbs. But, as though to balance his misfortune, he is blessed with an indomitable spirit and the will to take on an almost impossible challenge of leading and succeeding in a world full of people without disadvantages.
From his schools days, Ashwin’s record reflects what he has been striving to do earnestly. In 1999, Ashwin scored 84% in his SSLC exams; the highest percentage ever scored by a student with cerebral palsy. In 2003, he received the National Scholarship for his engineering studies, given to just one physically challenged student across the entire country. He is the first quadriplegic cerebral palsy student in India to have become an engineering graduate.
Today Ashwin is a computer science engineer who works with Emphasis.
His choice of three heroes in life reflects his multi-faceted personality: his mother, who nurtured him and brought him up, harnessing her enormous will power, dedication and infinite love for her son. The second hero is Sachin Tendulkar, who Ashwin thinks has made a billion people happy, and has made each one of us feel proud to be an Indian. He hopes to emulate “at least a fraction of what Sachin has done for the spirit of his countrymen”. His third hero is the celebrated British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who, though crippled by a neuro-degenerative disease, has made original contributions in the field of cosmology and quantum gravity.
We can see that Ashwin’s heroes are a well thought-out selection, reflective of his deep and rich perspective and his own aspirations: they traverse from a local and intensely emotional plane—though a sporting hero and an inspiring national icon—to an international and highly intellectual plane. Only a poet would have a mind-map like this!
Ashwin is indeed a poet. He writes poetry in English, Kannada and Hindi.
For showing us what human spirit can endure and achieve, and for becoming a source of inspiration to all of us, Brigade Group and Rotary Midtown deem it a privilege and honour to award Ashwin Karthik a Special Prize as Young Achiever in 2009.
Within the extraordinary and exemplary story of Ashwin Karthik is embedded a quietly sparkling story of his friend Bharath and their friendship. Bharath has neither applied for our Young Achiever award, nor has anyone nominated him for it. Our Jury, in a laudable display of wisdom and discretion, have broken and expanded the parameters of the evaluation process by deciding to award an extra-ordinary prize to Bharath.
Bharath has been Ashwin’s close and helpful friend from their school days. Ashwin, physically unable to write, needed a scribe to do the writing for him in the engineering examinations. The rules demanded that the scribe cannot be an engineering student or an engineer. Bharath dropped out of his own studies so that he could become Ashwin’s scribe. The rest is history.
While Bharath is self-effacing and reluctant to talk about his tremendous sacrifice, Ashwin has been deeply grateful to him, and has felt guilty about Bharath’s sacrificing his own goals and aspirations for his sake. Eventually, egged on by Ashwin, Bharath himself has successfully completed his engineering!
Bharath’s selfless contribution to Ashwin’s success is a truth stranger and rarer than fiction. In these times of ruthlessly competitive and self-centered ethos, Bharath’s exemplary behaviour and attitude shine like a beacon light for all of us.
For showing what true friendship means, and for thus providing inspiration for all of us, Brigade Group and Rotary Midtown present, with immense happiness and a sense of fulfillment, a special prize to Bharath…a friend in a million!
Team Endeavour, led by Suresh Ugare includes Sagar Karur, Sagar Medikere and Ajay Bhat, is a team of students from B. V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering & Technology in Hubli.
The team is an extraordinary group of young achievers who have successfully developed a training tool that effectively treats the abnormality in the manner of walking, usually resulting from neuromuscular, arthritic or other body changes – collectively referred to as Gait Disorders. This innovative initiative of designing affordable electronic tools for the benefit of mentally challenged individuals can be of great value for aiding patients who suffer from memory loss or other neurological and cognitive disorders. The young team overcame the hurdles of obtaining sensor samples for prototype testing, achieving low-cost implementation and fundraising when The Deshpande Foundation stepped in to fund them and followed that offer with an incubation plan for the project, which is now being further developed by the team’s juniors. This effort was rewarded with the first prize at Shrishti ’09, ABVP’s state-level exhibition of projects and the second prize at the Pleiades Tech Fest in Hubli. The project was also presented at the IMA, Hubli Conference and the IEEE Conference on Technology for Humanitarian Challenges in 2009, and subsequently ended up winning the IEEE Distinguished Student Humanitarian out of a total of 200 entries and a cash prize of US$ 5000.
True humanitarians at heart, the team’s goal is to reach more schools and serve people. For their initiative, brilliance, compassion and entrepreneurship, we are proud to honor Team Endeavour with the Brigade Group & Rotary Bangalore Midtown Young Achiever Award 2009.