Bengaluru: Social Worker and Cancer Care activist, Dr Kameshwari Devi has received Pullokaran Manavaseva Award of Bangalore Christian Writers’ Forum (BCWF) at a function in Bengaluru on Sunday (Feruary 11). She has received the award for her selfless service to thousands of cancer patients. The Award comprised a plaque and cash. Fr Francis Thonippara, the chief guest, presented her with a shawl. Davis Pullokaran handed over the specially prepared plaque as the Award. And president, BCWF, gave away the cash.
Fr Francis Thonippara, president, Dharmaram Vidhyakshetra, speaking on the occasion said Bible and nature are the two scriptures. Dr Kameshwari has become a Devi to people around us. Fr Francis who was earlier Provincial, Calicut Province and lecturer in Christ College in 1980s said we have in our midst one Bhagavati –personified God – Dr Kameswari Devi. Other people also may have compassion, but tainted by Rajas or Thasmas or both. In the Christian religious tradition mercy is the core value. In Old Testament we read what the Lord says: “I do not want sacrifice, but I want mercy.” The inspiring verse in the New Testament (Mt 25:40) in the last Judgement we see: when you did it to the least of my brothers, you did it to me’. Getting inspiration from this, we have before us thousands of examples. St Damien and St. Teresa of Kolkatta, did exactly this -seeing God in the marginalized and poor. When Pope Francis took over he insisted that the face of God is mercy and he declared a Year of Mercy.
The greatest contribution of India to the whole world is that Buddhism popularized the words such as Karuna, Anukampa, Kripa, Daya. Karuna in Buddhism and Jainism means reflections of universal friendship; Vasudaiva Kudumbakam (family of God), compassion to animals and compassion to nature. The core value of all religions is mercy and compassion. In Islam, Allah is addressed as Al-Rahman-most merciful or Al-Rahim-compassionate. In the Hindu tradition, the virtue of compassion can be divided into three types; pure, impure and dark according to the pre-dominance of Guna, namely, Sattva, Raja and Thamas. Those have Sattva, show selfless, unhindered compassion to all. They are called Bhagavatas or Bhagavatis or servants of God.
Fr Francis who was also parish priest in a city parish acknowledging the good gesture of BCWF said writers are the custodians of the conscience of the world. They are the teachers of the world. I congratulate and appreciate the BCWF for recognizing and honouring personalities who render unique services to the society. “Today we have in our midst Dr Kameshwari Devi and her family. She through her committed services to the cancer patients has already found a place in the hearts of many and true to her name she has become a Devi to many around her.”
Fr Thonippara, himself a social worker, reminded the gathering that when we speak the language of the heart, there is no boundary, there is no limit. Dr Kameshwari Devi is the face of God for thousands when she served in a world where we have calculative ethics. Dr Kameswari Devi, through her selfless services, speaks the language of the heart, transcending all limitations humans build. We should remember her parents and above all her husband and children who are her constant support. Let the exemplary committed services of Dr Kameshwari Devi enkindle our hearts and destroy our egos. Let us wish her all success in the narrow path which many dare not to travel and let us extend all our support in her efforts to console the hearts broken by the deadly cancer. Fr Francis repeatedly congratulated the BCWF for recognizing the great services of Dr Kameswari Devi.
Metty Grace, one of the committee members, presented a brief background of Dr Kameshwari Devi. She was born on July 4, 1975 in Hyderabad. Her Father was C Pandari Nath and Mother Sukh Bhai. She received many awards for selfless service for cancer patients. During her school days, She was interested in extracurricular activities besides studies. She served at Kidwai Cancer Institute and WHO as active participant in research.
Her motto was prevention of cancer and to impart education and make awareness among patients and the general public regarding the disease. Her husband, Rajashekhara Reddy and daughter Vasista and son, Uday were the real support to her. (They were present on the occasion).
Dr Kameashwari received a Degree from Osmania University in 1997 and Post-Graduation from Ambedkar University in 1999. She had done MSW from Bangalore University in 2003 and Doctorate from Global International Colombo. She had also done communication and Journalism besides Yoga Therapy. During the 14 years, she had taken ‘preventive health care‘and spent three years at Kidwai Institute of Oncology social work Centre. From 2006 to 2008, she served at WHO Bangalore Health Urbanization as a Project Research Analyst.
From 2008 to 2012, Dr Devi was a Coordinator of Bangalore Heath Urbanisation Project of BBMP and from 2012 to 2016, Dr Devi worked at St. John’s Institute‘s Saukhya Project Psycho Social Consultant . Dr Devi also conducted Sumangali Seva Ashram’s cervical cancer camp as per the need. She took up and created awareness about cervical cancer, breast cancer and oral cancer in villages and rural areas. Dr Devi conducted classes on the necessity to avoid tobacco and its danger. She is always at the side of the helpless poor patients and give financial assistance, direction and consolation.
Aims: Dr Kameshwari ‘s ambition is to start a Pamsmier centre and the Government of Karnataka has allotted 2000 sq ft of land for the purpose. The work for the project is in progress. In fact, Dr Devi began her own institute - cancer care India from 2012. Through Pamsmere tests, cervical cancer can be detected 10 years in advance and precaution for women against cancer is possible which helps the women to detect cancer is her aim. She accepts any financial assistance without asking for it but she accepts voluntary financial help after seeing her work. However, Dr Devi expects no profit or remuneration for her work.
Through simple exercise, she gives advice to all on breast cancer which is to make all on how to prevent it. She also helps to overcome cervical, breast and oral cancer, and preventing it for the new generation is her great aim and ambition.
Awards: Dr Kameshwari received Kirti Mahila Sanga, Kirti Seva Ratna Award in 1911 and in 1915, Bangalore West, Thanal Veel Club Kalasa Award . Also received Bangalore Rotary Club Family and Community Award . Dr Devi is the winner of Guinness World Record for screening 716 participants for Cervical Cancer. The latest Award she received was BCWF Pullokaran Manava Seva Award for her unconditional commitment and dedicated service for cancer patients.
Davis Pullokaran, patron of BCWF and sponsor of the Award speaking on the occasion said among other things, the causes of cancer, according to him is the modern life style, lack of exercise and absence of sunlight. He said, “I admire and support her for her great humanitarian and noble work.”
In her response to the Award and speeches, Dr Kameshwari expressed gratitude to all concerned. She gave a bird’s eye view of her life from younger days and her achievements. She always stood first in school and college, scoring 90 out of 100. She was determined to get the maximum. Her husband encouraged her to study further after her marriage. She took MSW after other studies. Academic excellence was her forte.
Dr Kameswari spoke of precautionary measures and non-communicable diseases. Quit BBMP job and formed a Trust. She had to help Government instead of getting help from government. She exhorted those present to think that what we can do for our country. She was free to study, research and work as her husband had given her full freedom. She always gave positive energy to the patients. Dr Devi urged all to live for society (Samaja Goskara) and change the life style of society. She appealed to all to give love and affec tion to the people to change the society. She said through Pasmere test, cancer can be detected ten years early.
Others who spoke and felicitated Dr Kameshwari Devi were T A Calistus (president, who at the outset, welcomed the guests and others), Philip Mathew, Dr Mathew Manimala, Dr Rajan, C D Gabriel (General Secretary, BCWF),Francis Antony ITS, C V Jose (vice president, BCWF), A V Thomas, P L Sunny (who also sang songs), Dr A N Radhakrishnan (last years award winner) and V K Johny who compered the function.
Earlier, both Dr Kameshwari and her daughter Vasistha performed dance for the guests, members and invitees. Vasistha went to NASA representing India as a Class 9 student with her project. If something hits earth and destroys it, how to make use of other planets to live (to make it suitable for life). The Project name was – Raksha (savior. Out of 360 participants, she won third price for India. She was also honoured and felicitated during the award-giving function with bouquet and cash. She spoke briefly on her project and her trip to US.
A moment of silence was observed for the diseased members – Dr C D John, Jose Pullan and Sr Olivia. The award-giving function came to a close with a vote of thanks by C V Jose.
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