Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,
Since its inception in March 2010 Overman Foundation aims to recognize the invaluable contribution of the scholars, writers, researchers and workers of the Aurobindonian movement in various fields. For this purpose, the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ was initiated to felicitate the ‘true children’ of the Divine, who, as defined by the Mother, are those few who have consecrated all of themselves and all they have—soul, life, work and wealth. In 2010, the recipients of the first ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ were K. D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran, Prof. Arabinda Basu and the late Jugal Kishore Mukherjee.
Today, on behalf of Overman Foundation, I take the opportunity to announce the names of the recipients of the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ for the year 2011. This year the award will be given to Shri Robi Gupta, Dr. Kireet Joshi and Dr. Prithwindranath Mukherjee for their outstanding contribution in the field of literature, education, philosophy and research.
Shri Robi Gupta (b. 1926) is the youngest son of the late Nolini Kanta Gupta. He became an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1944. He is one of the foremost poets of Sri Aurobindo Ashram whose works were appreciated by Sri Aurobindo himself who gave him the title of ‘Tagore of the Ashram’. A linguist and the recipient of the prestigious ‘Sri Aurobindo Puraskar’, Shri Robi Gupta’s published works in Bengali include ‘Swapani’, ‘Sarani’, ‘Mandakini’, ‘Mormomoral’, ‘Geeti-arghya’ and ‘Shiulijhora Bhorer Bela’ to name a few.
Dr. Kireet Joshi (b. 1931) studied philosophy and law at the Bombay University. He was selected for I. A. S. in 1955 but in 1956 he resigned to devote himself at Sri Aurobindo Ashram to the study and practice the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. He taught Philosophy and Psychology at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education at Pondicherry and participated in numerous educational experiments under the guidance of the Mother. In 1976 the Government of India invited him to be the Educational Adviser in the Ministry of Education. In 1983 he was appointed Special Secretary to the Government of India and held this post till 1988. From 1987 to 1993 he was the Member-Secretary of Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan. From 1987 to 1990 he served as the Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO Institute of Education, Hamburg. In the Ministry of Education, he was in-charge of Higher Education, National Commission on Teachers, Languages, Youth Affairs and UNESCO affairs. He was also the Chairman of Auroville Foundation and Indian Council of Philosophical Research. His published works include ‘Sri Aurobindo and Integral Yoga’, ‘Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’, ‘Education for Character Development’, ‘Education for Tomorrow’, ‘Education at Crossroads’, ‘Glimpses of Vedic Literature and Veda and Indian Culture’ and ‘Philosophy and Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and Other Essays’.
Dr. Prithwindra Nath Mukherjee (b. 1936) is the grandson of the famous revolutionary Jatindranath Mukherjee alias Bagha Jatin. He came to Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1948, studied and taught at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. He was mentioned by the Sahitya Akademi manuals and anthologies as a poet before he attained the age of twenty. He has translated the works of French authors like Albert Camus, Saint-John Perse and René Char for Bengali readers, and eminent Bengali authors into French. He shifted to Paris with a French Government Scholarship in 1966. He defended a thesis on Sri Aurobindo at Sorbonne. He served as a lecturer in two Paris faculties, a producer on Indian culture and music for Radio France and was also a freelance journalist for the Indian and French press. His thesis for PhD which studied the pre-Gandhian phase of India’s struggle for freedom was supervised by Raymond Aron in Paris University. In 1977 he was invited by the National Archives of India as a guest of the Historical Records Commission. He presented a paper on ‘Jatindranath Mukherjee and the Indo-German Conspiracy’ and his contribution on this area has been recognized by eminent educationists. A number of his papers on this subject have been translated into major Indian languages. He went to the United States of America as a Fullbright scholar and discovered scores of files covering the Indian revolutionaries in the Wilson Papers. In 1981 he joined the French National Centre of Scientific Research. He was also a founder-member of the French Literary Translators’ Association. In 2003 he retired as a researcher in Human and Social Sciences Department of French National Centre of Scientific Research in Paris. A recipient of ‘Sri Aurobindo Puraskar’, in the same year he was invited by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for the world premiere of Correspondances, opus for voice and orchestra where the veteran composer Henri Dutilleux had set to music Prithwindra’s French poem on Shiva Nataraja, followed by texts by Solzhenitsyn, Rilke and Van Gogh. In 2009 he was appointed to the rank of chevalier (Knight) of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Minister of Culture of France. He has penned books in English, Bengali and French and some of his published works include ‘Samasamayiker Chokhe Sri Aurobindo,’ ‘Pondicherryer Dinguli’, ‘Bagha Jatin’, ‘Sadhak-Biplobi Jatindranath’, ‘Undying Courage’, ‘Vishwer Chokhe Rabindranath’, ‘Thât/Mélakartâ : The Fundamental Scales in Indian Music of the North and the South’ (foreworded by Pandit Ravi Shankar), ‘Poèmes du Bangladesh’, ‘Serpent de flammes’, ‘Le sâmkhya’, ‘Les écrits bengalis de Sri Aurobindo’, ‘Chants bâuls, les Fous de l’Absolu’, ‘Anthologie de la poésie bengalie’ and ‘Les racines intellectuelles du movement d’independence de l’Inde (1893-1918)’ ending up with Sri Aurobindo, “the last of the Prophets”.
It will be our privilege to hand over the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’, named after Sri Aurobindo, to three of his most faithful followers.
With warm regards,
Chairman and Chief Executive,