THE vast Metropolitan Ballroom of the Westin Harbour Castle was the venue for the Canada India Foundation’s Award Gala, which took place on April 26 to honour Infosys Executive Chairman Narayana Murthy as the 2014 recipient of the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award. Gracing the occasion, along with Narayana Murthy, were Canada’s Finance Minister Joe Oliver, as chief guest, High Commissioner of India in Canada, Admiral (Retd) Nirmal Verma, as guest of honour, federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander, Minister of State (Sport) Bal Gosal, MP Patrick Brown, Senator Dr. Asha Seth, Ontario’s Members of Provincial Parliament, Dipika Damerla and Amrit Mangat. The distinguished attendees also included former federal minister Jean Augustine, former speaker of the Ontario Legislative Assembly, Alvin Curling, and renowned hotelier, Steve Gupta. Canada’s Governor General also made an appearance via a video-taped message to the audience.
The invited dignitaries and the nearly 500 attendees were formally welcomed by the Chair of Canada India Foundation, Dr. V.I. “Lucky” Lakshmanan, National Convenor, Laj Prasher, Gala Chair Dr. Terry Papneja, CIF Co-Chair Jay Minhas and the Board of Governors of CIF, from Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa. Lucky Lakshmanan spoke of the policy objectives of Canada India Foundation, and the highly successful Canada India Forums that CIF had organized (Energy-2009, Mining-2010, Agriculture and Food Processing-2012 and Infrastructure-2014). Laj Prasher talked about the strength of the organization, as evidenced by the credentials of its members, and the strong network that the CIF had built to promote Canada India relations. He made a special reference to the Canada India Interparliamentary Friendship Group, that was represented at the gala by MP Patrick Brown.
In his address, Joe Oliver stressed the importance of Canada-India relations and his own strong interest in strengthening ties between the two countries. High Commissioner Verma lauded the Canada India Foundation for its four day extravaganza, including the three-day Canada India Infrastructure Forum, followed by the gala.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the fifth CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award to Narayana Murthy. Joining Murthy, Joe Oliver and High Commissioner Verma on the stage were the Award Endowment sponsor Vasu Chanchlani, and this year’s award sponsors, Bhim Asdhir, Surjit Babra, Ramesh Chotai, Deepak Ruparell, Lucky Lakshmanan, Ravi Subramanian, Rakesh Gupta, Ranvir Dogra, and Kashif Khan. The eye-catching trophy and the cash award of $50,000 were presented to Murthy to thunderous applause. A special citation was read and presented to Murthy by Jaya Chanchlani.
In his award acceptance speech, titled “Compassionate Capitalism”, Murthy demonstrated the personality that has made him one of the most admired Indians, and most respected business leaders anywhere in the world. Expressing his gratefulness to CIF for having been selected to be in the company of previous award recipients, Sam Pitroda, Tulsi Tanti, Ratan Tata and Deepak Chopra, he made a strong case for capitalism as the necessary recipe for global prosperity and compassion, without which the benefits of capitalism meant nothing.
“It is very easy to observe that we have not made significant progress in enhancing social capital in the world – trust, concern for the less fortunate, honesty and fairness”, he said. “The good that a corporation must do is defined in its philosophy of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), encompassing the ideas of corporate governance, sustainable wealth creation, corporate philanthropy and advocacy for the goals of the community.”