“This award felicitates people with extraordinary excellence in their fields and make India proud,” says Pt. Suresh Mishra President of Sanskriti Yuva Sanstha, an NGO working with the vision of promoting Indian culture and society.
“You are one of the iconic personalities of our nation who always encouraged each and every one to bloom into a next idol of tomorrow. You are the pride of our country and we feel privileged to recognize your contribution with Bharat Gaurav Life Time Achievement Award 2018,” the citation read.
Started in 2012, the Bharat Gaurav Award” is in its sixth year.
In a colourful ceremony that was graced by eminent personalities from around the world, including National Award winning Film Director Shri. Madhur Bhandarkar, Bishop George moderated a seminar on “Rich Indian Culture” prior to the award ceremony.
In his award acceptance speech Bishop George underlined his lifelong commitment and concern for young people’s education and health; promotion of indigenous methods for envirornment conservation, and upholding of traditional tribal values of valour, dignity and honest work.
Alumnus of Salesian College Darjeeling Class of 1977, Bishop George, 63 years, heads the remotest diocese in northeast India.
Born in Kerala south India, Bishop George has been working in northeast India for over 40 years. From 1979 to 1982 Brother George organised the migrant tribal students from Arunachal and Tripura who were in Shillong to get admissions, find rented facilities and mediated with the landlords to help them.
After his priestly ordination, in 1983 Fr George started the first residential school at Tinsukia to train tribal youth from neighbouring Arunachal state in schooling habits.
In 1990 he started Seva Kendra, an NGO for developmental activities. He also started the first private school and hostel in Borduria village in 1992.
Fr George held many rounds of discussion with Arunachal tribal leaders to eliminate the killings of babies born with any physical or mental defect and to avoid keeping the dead bodies in the villages on platforms. Mother Teresa's help was taken to look after the children born with deformities. “It worked very well to educate people on hygiene helped to initiate burying of the dead,” Bishop George recalls with a tinge of pride.
In 1997 Fr George started economic and developmental activities like providing water pipeline in Ngissa village, tea saplings in Neotan area, and promoted dairy farming by giving animals.
Fr George provided medical help, held health camps, and trained village level health workers. Today there is a network of 17 rural dispensaries and one hospital coordinating all health care in the region with more than 80 volunteer health workers.
Many tribal women who could not have formal schooling have found employment through skills training in tailoring and beautician courses.
Ordained Bishop of Miao in East Arunachal Pradesh in 2006, the remotest diocese in northeast India, Bishop George helped make giant strides in the education field with the establishment of 47 schools in the remotest corners, as well as many hostels. In 2014 the Venerable Uktara Bethany College was started at Namsai.
The construction of the cultural centre at Miao to preserve, protect and promote indigenous culture was started in 2017.
Negotiations are on to start a university in Borduria area and a College in Kanubari area of Longding district.
Bishop George has set up several NGOs to deal with education, environment, preservation and promotion of local cultures and dialects, and hopes to set up a cultural centre in Miao by the end of 2018.