Nihal Singh Agar believes in karma, and the Indian-origin has always been busy serving the community. In his words, “not just the Hindu community, but the Australian one as well.” He was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 2015 for his service to the Hindu community in Australia and fostering cross-cultural co-operation with a focus on medical education.
In 2004, he started Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation in Australia with the aim to bring basic education to every child across rural India. What began to help rural and tribal children get basic education has now expanded to more than 10 countries across the globe. “When I retired and moved from the University of New England in Armidale, I became active in the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation. This is a non-governmental organisation which we started in Australia to provide primary education to children in remote areas of India.”
The Ekal movement aims to help eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India following the philosophy of rural development based on the criteria of equality & inclusiveness across all the sections of the society. “The purpose of the Ekal Vidyalaya Movement is all-round development in rural areas, primarily in the remote and tribal parts of India and the developing neighboring countries. The main focus is on education. It is the largest non-government organization engaged in the education of the poorest of the poor in the world. Along with education, primary health (Arogya) and economic development (Gramothan) are receiving considerable attention,” reads their website.
In the last two decades, it has become the largest grassroots level non-governmental education & development movement that operates in the remote villages of India. Such has been the impact that Nihal Singh Agar received Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2019 for his contribution towards social service.