He signs a petition at the Limca Book of Records – People of the Year felicitation ceremony

  • Limca Book of Records announces that it will join forces with the Accessible India movement
  • Dedicates its 2016 edition to the People with Disabilities (PwDs)
  • Introduces the first ever Braille edition of the record book
  • Coca-Cola India – the publishers of the book – announce several programs to contribute to the Accessible India movement

New Delhi, April 14, 2016Celebrating the power of the human spirit and the virtues of inclusivity, on a day that marked the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and also Baisakhi festivities, Limca Book of Records galvanized forces towards making India an inclusive and accessible society.

At the event hosted at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Center, the Record book’s editorial team, following its long established tradition, announced a list of 15 PwDs, as the “People of the Year (PoY)” 2016. By doing so, Limca Book of Records wanted to showcase examples of people who did not allow physical disability to become an impediment to success. Shri N R Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys Ltd, honoured the POYs along with Mr Venkatesh Kini, President, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia and Mrs Vijaya Ghose, Editor, Limca Book of Records. A jury comprising of former Parliamentarian, Mr H K Dua; Radhika Alkazi, Founder & Managing Director – Aarth Aastha; and Merry Barua, Founder Director – Action for Autism, chose the POYs.

The People of the Year 2016 include Mr. Akbar Khan – first visually impaired candidate to qualify in the SSC Hindi shorthand and stenography examination; Ms. Arunima Sinha – the first specially abled woman to climb the Mount Everest; Dr. Suresh Advani – Oncologist who performed the first successful bone marrow transplant on a leukemia patient; Mr. Javed Ahmad Tak – winner of the National Award for outstanding contribution towards welfare of Persons with Disabilities; Mr. Ramsurat Majhi– a  messenger of peace who journeyed 23,000 km across India for national harmony; Ms. Ashwini Angadi – winner of the United Nation’s Youth Courage Award for Education; Ms. Aayushi Pareek – youngest and the first visually-challenged woman admitted to the Bar Council of Rajasthan; Mr. K S Rajanna – Paralympic Gold Medalist, entrepreneur and the first differently abled Commissioner of the State Department for Disabled in Karnataka; Major Devender Pal Singh (Retd.) – war hero and an inspiring marathon runner; Ms. Saylee Nandkishor Agavane – Bronze medalist at Global Olympiad Dance Competition; Mr. Ranveer Singh Saini – Gold medalist golfer at the World Special Olympics; Mr. Zameer Dhale – advocacy activist for multi-sensory impaired persons in India; Mr. Rajive Raturi – crusader for legal rights of the specially-abled; Mr. KY Venkatesh – first Indian athlete at the World Dwarf Games to win 6 medals and Ms. Radhika Chand– an accomplished painter and an award winning teacher to the specially-abled

At the felicitation ceremony, Shri N R Narayana Murthy, said, “It is difficult to imagine India becoming a strong economy without becoming an inclusive economy – an economy which is inclusive in gender, ability, ethnicity and all other social parameters. People with disabilities have to be integrated with the mainstream.  Corporates, civil society and governments must come together to accomplish the vision of an accessible India.”

Mr Narayana Murthy also co-signed a petition at this event, addressed to the Prime Minister of India and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment urging them to make “sign language”, an official language of India by including it in the Eight Schedule. The other signatories to the petition included Venkatesh Kini, President Coca-Cola India and South West Asia and all the POYs 2016. The signed petition read “we appreciate the government’s efforts of leading the way in academic developments, teaching, training, technology-integration, and propagation of sign language in India. However, the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s dream of ‘Accessible India’ can only be fulfilled if sign language is included in the Eighth Schedule, as an official language of India. This will bring millions of people to the mainstream and further enable our society to become an inclusive society.”

One of the highlights of the event included the launch of the first ever Braille edition of the Record book, which will enable the visually challenged to browse through the existing records and challenge themselves to improve on them and/or create new records. Limca Book of Records is a platform that belongs to the People of India and the editorial team has now made it more accessible and inclusive. The first copy of the Braille edition was presented by Venkatesh Kini and Shri Narayana Murthy to Mr. Rajpal, Managing Committee Member and Officer, the Blind Relief Association, at the JPM School.

Speaking at annual event of Limca Book of Records, Mr. Venkatesh Kini, said, “As publishers of Limca Book of Records and as a responsible corporate, we are committing ourselves to tutor introductory sign language lessons to 10,000 people. We along with our partners will also conduct sensitization and awareness sessions about PwDs equivalent to 1,000 man-hours of training. Coca-Cola India will work with its allies, partners, vendors, suppliers, key accounts to make buildings, inclusive and disabled friendly. We all need to come together in this movement for PwDs.”

In order to educate and sensitize the audience, the event included a short module on sign language training. The record book also broke its own tradition and presented the People of the Year with a shawl procured from MESH, (Maximising Employment to Serve the Handicapped) – MESH is an organization that practices Fair Trade with disabled and leprosy affected crafts artisans for their rehabilitation.

The event also showcased the talent and passion of specially abled, through the recital of the National song, ‘Vande Mataram’ in sign language. The felicitation ceremony included an uplifting musical performance by the Udaan Orchestra Band, concluding the event on a note of positivity and hope.

 

About Limca Book of Records

Limca Book of Records is an extension of the Limca brand. Launched in India in 1990, it is the second book of records in the world after Guinness Book of World Records. From then on there has been no looking back. Today, in its twenty-seventh edition (2016) the book has not only achieved this objective but also become a ready-reckoner for those who intend to break limits.

The book has successfully identified people who have the spirit to excel and follow their goal with single-minded passion. It lays emphasis on unique achievements of our citizens and is a salute to all those people who want to do something different and be remembered for their distinctive deeds. Being the first of its kind in the country, this book has been an instant hit with people from all generations.

The book has been well received over the years and the proof can be seen in the ever-increasing number of record-holders and record-breakers that approach the book each day. With this special edition, it has yet again charted another era of human innovativeness and excellence within its covers.

For more information, please visit: www.limcabookofrecords.in

About Coca-Cola India
Coca-Cola India, the Company that owns the Limca Book of Records trademark, is one of the country’s leading beverage companies, offering a range of healthy, safe, high quality, refreshing beverage options to consumers. Over the last 20 years, ever since its re-entry in 1993, the company has gone on to establish an unmatched portfolio of beverages; refreshing consumers with its leading beverage brands like Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Thums Up, Fanta, Limca, Sprite, Maaza, Minute Maid range of juices, Georgia and Georgia gold range of hot and cold tea and coffee options, Kinley and Bonaqua packaged drinking water, Kinley Club Soda and BURN. The Company along with its bottling partners, through a strong network of over 2.6 million retail outlets, touches the lives of millions of consumers. Its brands are some of the most preferred and most sold beverages in the country – Thums Up and Sprite – being the top selling sparkling beverages.

 

With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and contribute to the development of the communities where we operate. Some its Company’s flagship community development programs include the “Support My School” program, the “Parivartan” retailer training program, women empowerment program as a part of the global 5BY20 campaign etc.

For further information on the company’s India operations and its products, please visit: www.coca-colaindia.com.

 

Limca Book of Records People of the Year (POY) 2016:

Akbar Khan

Born visually impaired in a poor family in Rajasthan, he managed to continue his studies with the support of his elder brother who was also visually impaired. He excelled in his studies and was the first visually impaired candidate to qualify in the SSC Hindi shorthand and stenography examination. Currently a Senior Manager with Punjab National Bank, Khan is also a singer and composer with many stage performances and over 50 music compositions. He has been invited in the panel of judges at national level music competitions for visually impaired persons. He received the National Award for the Welfare of Persons with Disabilities in 1989.

Arunima Sinha

A national volleyball player from Lucknow, UP, she lost one of her legs when some robbers pushed her out of a moving train in 2011. Two years later, with a prosthetic leg on, she became the first woman amputee in the world to climb Mount Everest on May 21, 2013. She went on to conquer the highest peaks on other continents too. Her book titled Born Again on the Mountain was launched in 2014. She was awarded Padma Shri in 2015.

Dr Suresh Advani

Wheelchair-bound since eight years due to polio, he rose to become a prominent oncologist who introduced Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in India with the first successful bone marrow transplant on a leukemia patient. His contributions in the field won him many awards, including the Dhanvantari Award and Padma Shri in 2002 and the Padma Bhushan in 2012.

Javed Ahmad Tak

Bruised and maimed by a militant attack in Kashmir in 1996, which left him a wheelchair bound paraplegic with 100% disability and a host of other related problems, Javed turned his adversity into a mission. He started Humanity Welfare Organization Helpline, an organisation that caters to the needs of people with disabilities and creates awareness through sensitisation programmes. His legal activism has restored several rights of the disabled in the state. Javed received the national award for working for ‘Welfare of Persons with Disabilities in 2004’ and many other honours.

Ramsurat Majhi

A polio victim with 90% disability, Ramsurat of Jalpaiguri, West Bengal travelled 23,000 km by tri-cycle visiting various territories of India as a messenger of peace. He started the challenging journey on Feb 16, 2010 and completed it on Feb 10, 2011. In 2012, he established an NGO, Adarsh Viklang Kalyan Samiti. He was honoured with the State Handicap Award as a role model on Handicap Day in Kolkata on Dec 3, 2013.

Ashwini Angadi

Born visually-challenged in a poor, rural family in Karnataka, Ashwini experienced discrimination and physical and mental abuses as a child due to her disability. Despite these odds, she graduated in 2012 at the top of her class. For her work with disabled people, she received the UN Special Envoy for Global Education’s Youth Courage Award for Education in 2013. After working as a National Facilitator for the Young Voices Project, she set up the Ashwini Angadi Trust under which she runs Belaku Academy for young visually-challenged girls.

Aayushi Pareek

Despite 100% permanent sight disability, Aayushi completed her LLB at 19 years and LLM at 21 years and became the first visually-challenged advocate enrolled at the Rajasthan High Court. She achieved the virtually impossible in November 2012, at 21 years, also becoming the youngest and first visually-challenged woman to be admitted to the Bar Council of Rajasthan.

K S Rajanna

Rajanna who lost his limbs to polio in his early childhood became the first differently-abled Commissioner of the State Department for Disabled in Karnataka in September 2013. As a paraplegic sportsperson, he had won the gold medal in discus throw at the 2002 Paralympics and also a silver medal in swimming. As a diploma holder in Mechanical Engineering, he also had started his own enterprise providing employment to 350 persons, including the physically challenged.

Major Devender Pal Singh (Retd)

Major D P Singh who lost his right leg during the Kargil war and suffered partial hearing loss and internal derangement of his left knee, has been finding joy in running marathons with blade prosthetics since 2009. Starting with his first half marathon in Delhi on Nov 1, 2009, he has participated in many such races including the 3rd Himalayan Running and Living XC marathon (21 km) at high altitudes (8,700 ft) in Kinnaur, HP on May 2, 2014. He has also achieved a feat by trekking up to 10,000 ft (from Batseri Village to Mastrang ITBP Camp and back in 3 hr).

Saylee Nandkishor Agavane

Saylee was diagnosed with mild mental retardation at birth but completed her studies. She had started learning Kathak at the age of nine. Later she joined Shiamak Davar’s dance institute in 2007 and trained in contemporary dance forms. She has been performing in various dance competitions, starting with Akhil Bharatiya Sanskrutik Sangh’s Multilingual Dance and Drama Competition. In 2010, she won a bronze medal at the 8th Global Olympiad Dance Competition in Bangkok.

Ranveer Singh Saini

The 14-year-old Ranveer, autistic by birth, is one of the youngest golfers at Special Olympics Bharat. He, along with his Unified partner Monica Jajoo, won the gold medal in Golf (Level 2) at the World Special Olympics held at Los Angeles in 2015, becoming the first Indian to do so. He also won two gold medals in his first representation in the Special Olympics Asia-Pacific Golf Masters at Macau in 2013 and another gold in 2014 (team).

Zamir Dhale

Zamir is a deaf-blind person who cannot see, hear or talk but, through years of toil and by sheer grit he has overcome the disabilities to work as effectively as any other. Highly tech savvy, he communicates using a special software on his laptop/mobile. Working as a consultant with Sense International-India, he is actively involved in developing and implementing advocacy plans. He also heads Udaan, a national network for adult deaf-blind and multi-sensory impaired people in India.

Rajive Raturi

Whilst working in the corporate sector in Kenya, he suffered a bullet injury which left him with a visual disability. He rejoined the corporate sector. He then moved to the disability sector and has been working for 13 years with disability rights as his core area of work. He has worked towards building legal knowledge of rights of persons with disabilities, supporting their advocacy by providing legal services and aid. He has challenged systemic violations by filing PILs in High Courts and the Supreme Court. He has authored a compendium titled Disability and the Law. In 2010 the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment nominated him to an expert committee constituted to draft a new disability law. He is now Asia Pacific head for the Disability Rights Promotion International.

KY Venkatesh

Venkatesh is 4 ft 2 inch tall and due to his short stature had to face lot of difficulties but he braved all and decided to excel in sports and started off with chess in school. In 2005 he became the first Indian athlete to represent India at the IV World Dwarf Games. He won six medals in the Games – two gold, one silver and three bronze – in athletics and badminton games (singles and doubles). He is also the secretary of the Dwarf Sports Association of India.

Radhika Chand

Born with Down’s syndrome, Radhika studied in special schools in Delhi, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Sydney. In Sydney, she started painting using a combination of water colours and acrylics. She has had 10 solo exhibitions since 1992 and participated in several group shows. She has been associated with the Vasant Valley School, Delhi for over 20 years – 15 years in the junior art department and later in the arts and crafts department for special children in the senior school. In 2012, Radhika was conferred the NCPEDP-Shell Helen Keller Award for ‘helping to create opportunities for employment for persons with disabilities’.