Fiji’s Mahendra Chaudhry announced as next recipient of Krishna Menon Award

LONDON May 7: Rt. Hon. Mahendra Chaudhry, leader of the Fijian Labour Party and the first Indo-Fijian to serve as the island nation’s Prime Minister is to receive the V K Krishna Menon Award to honour his contribution to the Indian diaspora.
The award was announced during an event to mark V K Krishna Menon’s 122 nd birth anniversary hosted by the V K Krishna Menon Institute (VKKMI) on 3 May.
VKKMI Director Dr Cyriac Maprayil welcomed guest speakers including Professor Philip Murphy, Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and MR J P Fernandes, General Secretary of the Indian YMCA in London to the well-attended event at London’s Nehru Centre.
In his opening address, Dr Maprayil highlighted the role of Menon and Pandit Nehru in initiating the non-aligned movement which, he said, “brought a healing touch to International Relations at the height of the Cold War preventing the outbreak of a third world war and providing a political lifeline for the newly emerging independent nations of the British Empire and other countries elsewhere to feel independent and to be in a position to interact with the U.S and the Soviet Union keeping them at a safe distance without being subservient to any of them.
Besides it gave an option for nations of the world not to have to join either the Capitalist or Communist camp on ideological grounds.”
Dr Murphy spoke of Menon’s contribution to the establishment of the Commonwealth and his diplomatic efforts to ensure the appointment of King George VI as symbolic Head of the Commonwealth while enabling India to become a Republic.
He contrasted the soft diplomacy of the time with the recent very publicly expressed wish of Queen Elizabeth II that her son Charles would succeed her as head of the Commonwealth.
Mr Fernandes gave an overview of the history of the Indian YMCA in London from its establishment in the 1920s.
He highlighted Menon’s role, as Independent India’s first High Commissioner to Britain, in the establishment of the YMCA at its premises in Fitzroy Square and how he continues to be remembered and appreciated for the support he showed to Indian students in Britain.
Briefly summing up, VKKMI Board Member Tony Slater noted that success should be measured by what people do when they have influence rather than by the scale of electoral victories or their latest soundbite.
Menon had stood for something other than himself and had spent his whole life trying to achieve that.
For further information please contact the V K Krishna Menon Institute drdrcyriac@yahoo.co.uk