New Delhi [India]November 27 (ANI): Sonam Wangchuk, the engineer from Ladakh whose life story inspired the Bollywood film 3 Idiots, on Tuesday was awarded the seventh Dr Paulos Mar Gregorios Award by the President Deputy Venkaiah Naidu.
Organized by the Sophia Society of the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church, the award is given annually in memory of the first Metropolitan Diocese of Delhi and the learned scholar Dr Paulos Mar Gregorios.
Wangchuk was presented with the award for outstanding contribution to Creative Innovation and Sustainable Development at a ceremony held at St Thomas School in Indirapuram, Ghaziabad.
Addressing the event, Venkaiah Naidu appreciated the role of social and religious organizations in ensuring sustainable development of the world we live in.
In his speech after accepting the award, Wangchuk pointed out that environmental changes, especially air pollution will contribute to many diseases in the future. He emphasized that air pollution alone kills more people than any other effect of climate change.
Wangchuk said, “Every time we drive our big cars to make them look clean, we emit a bomb of about 4 kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilometer. Now, this is the violence we need to fix. About seven million people die from air pollution alone in the world…”
“…because of the way we live we eat, sometimes we don’t eat at home but now we have stopped working. Housing and agriculture are said to be the two biggest contributors to climate change…If we don’t set our air conditioners at 18 degrees instead of 45 degrees, Delhi will be colder than Ladakhi in hot summer in Delhi. We can change things. So I am asking you all today as always from the mountains of Ladakh, I mean to live, in the big cities so that we can live in the mountains.”
Meanwhile, at the award ceremony today, former Union Minister Salman Kurshid delivered the keynote address.
Catholicos Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews III, Supreme Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in India and Dr Youhanon Mar Demetrios, Metropolitan of Delhi Diocese, attended the award ceremony.
A book about the life and thoughts of Paulos Mar Gregorios, an ecumenical leader dedicated to interfaith dialogue and spokesman for the Orthodox Christian faith worldwide, who is also the President, i send the World Council of Churches that program.
Born in 1966, Wangchuk, an engineer and Director of the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL), is a recipient of the Magsaysay Award in 2018.
Wangchuk’s character inspired the fictional character Phunsukh Wangdu portrayed by Aamir Khan in the 2009 film.
The Ladakh engineer is known for founding his new school, the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), whose campus runs on solar energy and does not use fossil fuels. for cooking, lighting or heating. He founded SECMOL in 1988 with the aim of supporting Ladakhi children and youth and training students who were considered failures by the system.
In 1994, Wangchuk launched Operation New Hope to bring about reforms in the government’s school system.
He was also instrumental in designing low-cost solar-heated houses made of mud to retain heat in Ladakh’s winters. The Ice Stupa was also one of the first efforts to solve the water problems faced by the mountain regions. (ANI)
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