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Navya Shastra awards inaugural Recognition Award to two students from Karnataka

Troy, Michigan--August 15, 2007--On the occasion of India's Independence Day, Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform organization, is awarding two inaugural Awards of Recognition to Abhinanda and Praneetha, students at Bantwal College, Karnataka.

The Awards of Recognition will be presented to young women who have courageously spoken out against anachronistic social practices that continue to harm the lives of millions of Indians.

Abhinanda invited a Dalit student to her home to watch television, risking the censure and sanction of caste Hindus. Dalits face manifest discrimination throughout India , and often face physical violence when over-stepping their socially sanctioned roles.

Praneetha took a firm stand against dowry by publicly pledging never to marry into a family stipulating dowry as a requirement.

"These two young women have demonstrated that by challenging outmoded institutions and customs in a personal way, one can have an impact on society at large. To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, it is important for our youth to 'be the change' they want to see," said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman.

The award comes with a cash prize of Rs. 4000 for each of the students. They were nominated by Dr. Bhamy Shenoy, the visionary convener of the "True Education" seminar series, which seeks to instill progressive values in young students.