Dr Achyut Godbole, an eminent Maharashtrian, is a truly accomplished and gifted son of the soil.
This chemical engineer from IIT Mumbai who is an internationally respected software developer with three decades of experience, has also written six books on such diverse subjects as music, economics, science, psychology and literature. IBM World Trade Corporation has awarded him twice for performance excellence. Three of his books (on information technology) are used worldwide by students.
Among a long list of honours and awards he has received are the Distinguished Alumnus by IIT, Udyogratha by the Indian Economic Council for his contribution to information technology and the Kumar Gandharva Award by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi for his contribution to music and computers. He has also helped start a school for mentally challenged children.
Dr Godbole is on the jury of eminent Maharashtrians who will select eight winners for the Lokmat Maharashtrian of the Year award for 2011 instituted by Lokmat Media. These winners will be felicitated by the President of India, Smt Pratibha Patil in Mumbai on 21 December.
Dr Godbole shared some thoughts on the awards and the state of affairs in Maharashtra. Excerpts:
You are on the eminent independent jury for the Maharashtrian of the Year Awards 2011, from Lokmat Media. What is the role and contribution of these awards?
These awards recognize and encourage outstanding individuals who have made exemplary contributions in various fields to the growth and development of Maharashtra. I consider such an initiative essential today. And the selection process has been very fair, open and transparent. The awards will go a long way in setting examples and role models for the rest.
What is your view on the fact that President Pratibha Patil is flying to Mumbai to give away the awards?
It is great that she is coming to personally felicitate the winners. It is a wonderful gesture. The presence of the President will obviously add a lot prestige and credibility to the event.
What inspiring stories from amongst the various nominees have remained in your mind?
I have found the story of Dr. Bavaskar from Mumbai, who has done pioneering work on relieving the agony caused by scorpion bite, very impressive. I am also deeply moved by the activists who came from outside Maharashtra and have committed themselves to the uplift of the needy people of this state.
I feel all media leaders, celebrities and intellectuals must come together to support an initiative like this; it will enhance the credibility of the awards and give a massive boost to the confidence of the participants.
What is your special message to the people of Maharashtra, and to the final shortlist of 39 nominees of these awards?
To the people of Maharashtra, and indeed, to every Maharashtrian, I would like to say: Be innovative and entrepreneurial, and always cherish humane values.
As for the shortlisted nominees of the Lokmat Maharashtrian of the Year Awards, well, I would like to thank them for their great work for the progress of the state and say: You have done us proud. Keep it up and all the best!
Anything else you that you would like to add?
These awards are now in the second year, and are helping to make such a difference overall, that I would like to see them expand through the inclusion of separate categories of awards within the broad areas of science, technology, education, health and music. Such an initiative deserves to grow.