Sangma posthumously honoured; sports stars, unsung heroes on list.
New Delhi: Seven persons, including senior politicians Murli Manohar Joshi and Sharad Pawar, have been awarded the Padma Vibhushan this year. Spiritual guru Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, singer K.J. Yesudas former ISRO chairman Udipi Ramachandra Rao have also got the country’s second-highest civilian award.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Sunder Lal Patwa have been given the honour posthumously.
Seven persons have been awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour. They are: Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (art and music), Prof. (Dr.) Devi Prasad Dwivedi (literature and education), Tehemton Udwadia (medicine), Ratna Sundar Maharaj (spiritualism), Swami Niranjana Nanda Saraswati (Yoga), Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn from Thailand (literature) and Late Shri Cho Ramaswamy (posthumous) for literature and journalism. Seventy-five persons have been awarded the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest honour. They include Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal, famous chef Sanjeev Kapoor, singers Kailash Kher and Anuradha Paudwal, woman wrestler Sakshi Malik, who won bronze medal at Rio Olympics, Dipa Karmakar, who finished fourth in artistic gymnastics at Rio Olympics, and gold medallist at Rio Paralympics Mariyappan Thangavelu.
The list of Padma Shri awardees also includes some unsung heroes such as Nonogenarian Bhakti Yadav, popularly known as “Doctor Dadi” from Indore, and captain of Indian cricket team (blind) Shekhar Naik. Ms Yadav, 91, is the first woman from Indore to hold an MBBS degree. She has been treating patients free of cost for the past 68 years and has helped deliver thousands of babies.
“Granny with a sword”, 76-year-old Meenaakshi Amma from Kerala, who began her martial art classes at the age of seven, has also been chosen for Padma Shri. She is the country’s oldest woman Kalaripayattu exponent and has been practising and teaching martial arts for more than 68 years.
Ela Ahmad, 81, from Assam has been selected for Padma Shri for running the only magazine for women in the northeast since 1970.
Union home ministry officials said the focus of Padma awards this year was to recognise talent of unknown and unsung heroes of the country.
Karnartka’s Sukri Bommagowda, known as “Nightingale of Halakki”, has been named for Padma Shri for performing tribal folk music for 58 years. While school dropout Jitendra Haripal, popular as “Rangabati ki Awaz”, has been selected for Padma Shri for his contribution to Odhisa’s most popular recorded song “Rangabati” and being a top exponent of Kosli-Sambalpuri music.
Daripalli Ramaiah, 68, knows as Chetla Ramaiah or “The Tree Man” from Telangana has also been selected for Padma Shri. Ramaiah is a common man who has dedicated his life to make India green by planting over one crore trees. He takes out seeds from his pocket and plants them wherever he sees a barren spot.
Chintakindi Mallesham from Telangana invented Laxmi ASU machine to reduce the time and menial labour required to weave Pochampalli silk sarees. His invention impacted 60 per cent of looms engaged in weaving Pochampalli. A school dropout, 44-year-old Mallesham had created the machine to relieve his mother’s pain.
Volunteer fire fighter Bipin Ganatra from West Bengal has also been awarded Padma Shri. He is the only person apart from fire brigade officials who has been to almost every fire accident site in Kolkata in the last 40 years. Dr Suniti Solomon, who diagnosed the first AIDS case in India in 1985, has figured in the Padma Shri list posthumously.
As many as 19 of Padma awardees this year are women and the list also includes 5 persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and 6 posthumous awardees.