Sasia is the name Madanjeet Singh has coined for South Asia's common currency in the hope that, like the Euro, it will become the anchor of economic stability and regional cooperation. This is the riveting and poignant story of a young man's activism and fervour and of the trauma that he suffered in the aftermath of partition and the gruesome fratricidal conflict between India and Pakistan.
Madanjeet Singh established the Sumitra Foundation (SF) in 1995, naming it after his mother, who held the firm conviction that without education and family planning alleviation of poverty is impossible. Then out of the blue came a windfall- the stocks of the American software company created by his son, Jeet, soared and he sold his equity to establish the South Asia Foundation in the year 2000. It is a voluntary, non-profit, non-political and secular youth movement created to benefit disadvantaged and marginalized communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAF achieves its aims through educational programmes and person to-person cultural and economic interaction.
Madanjeet Singh strongly believes that no country can develop without taking all of its people along. This includes the poor farmers living on less than one dollar a day that comprise the vast majority in rural South Asia. At the same time, in today's fast-moving and ultra-competitive world, regional cooperation is indispensable and no country can safeguard its security and economic well-being unilaterally. The objectives of SF and SAF are two sides of the same coin- the theme of The Sasia Story.
by Madanjeet Singh: Three friends-a Hindu, a Musim and a Sikh peasant going home after work in the village of Preet Nagar, in pre-partition Punjab.
Madanjeet Singh was bom on 16 April 1924 in Lahore, present-day Pakistan. A well known painter and a distinguished photographer, he is an internationally known author of several books on art and other subjects, closely interwoven with UNESCO's programmes, principles and ideals.
During Mahatma Gandhi's 'Quit India' movement in 1942 against colonial rule, Madanjeet Singh was imprisoned. He migrated to the newly partitioned India in 1947, worked in a refugee camp, won an Italian scholarship in 1950, and joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1953. He served as Ambassador in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe before joining UNESCO in Paris in 1982.
In recognition of his lifelong devotion to the cause of communal harmony and peace, the biennial 'UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize