Fr Nelson received the Kavivarya Tilak Puraskar for his work on the Khristapurana on Christmas Day, 25 December 2009, at a function at Holy Cross Church.
The function - Vishwashanti Prarthana and Krutajnata Sohala - is held every year on Christmas Evening. It is organized by the Nashik Ekatmata Samiti, the organization that works for unity and harmony between religions and communities.
This year the Adhyaksa / President of the function was an interesting individual called Narayan Guruji, who is the former Chairman of Excel Industries, Baroda, and who is well-known as a management guru who has incorporated the wisdom of the West with the wisdom of centuries found in India in the Vedas, the Upanisads, and the Bhagavad Gita. Narayan Guruji shared also how he had had a vision of someone he took to be Ved Vyasa, but then later he was enabled to realize that this was actually Jesus. A very open, warm, loving human being, Narayan Guru. Good to have people like that still around in our country.
The Puraskar was awarded to Fr Nelson by the Jesuits of Holy Cross Church, the main mover being Fr Tony George, the Parish Priest, and himself a Marathi scholar, who has just completed a doctoral dissertation on the Autobiographies of Marathi converts in the Pre-Independence era.
The Collector of Nashik, and Vanadhipati Vinayakdada Patil, who were both scheduled to come, were not able to be present, and sent their wishes.
There was a good crowd at the function which was held inside the Church - mostly parishioners from Holy Cross and Satpur, with a few also from the Don Bosco sector, and a fairly large number of non-Christian friends and well-wishers. I was struck by the number of non-Christians paying a visit to the Church, and especially to the crib and to the statue of Our Lady - which, interestingly, seems to be a statue of Mary Help of Christians.