The Padma Awards 2017 has raised some eyebrows as a few expected or popular names are missing from the list of awardees. However, there is no need to be cynical as the list contains some of the unsung heroes of India. Padma Awards are the highest civilian Awards of the country conferred in three categories — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
The Awards are given in various disciplines or fields of activities such as art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
This year, President of India Pranab Mukherjee approved conferment of Padma Awards to 89 persons. The list comprises of seven Padma Vibhushan, seven Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri awardees. As many as 19 of the awardees are women and the list also includes five persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and six posthumous awardees.
While there are many pupular names in the list, consider some of these unsung heroes who have made India proud with their work.
a) Padma Shri Bhakti Yadav, popularly known as “Doctor Dadi” from Indore. 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.
No more Lutyens elite for Padma awards, Modi govt rewards some illustrious yet unknown people with Padma Awards! More to follow.. pic.twitter.com/CrxN1yDqoU
— Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) January 25, 2017
b) Padma Shri Shekhar Naik, captain of Indian cricket team of the blind. Thirty-year-old Naik had led the India’s cricket team of the blind to victory in the first T20 World Cup in 2012 and ODI World Cup in 2014. He comes from a poor background and faced extreme hardship as he lost his parents at the age of 12.
c) Padma Shri Dipa Karmakar, who finished fourth in artistic gymnastics at Rio Olympics last year. Karmakar, the 23-year-old “Produnova Princess” from Tripura, practised on an apparatus made from second-hand parts
of a discarded scooter. She is only the fifth woman in the gymnastic history to land a Produnova vault.
d) Padma Shri Mariyappan Thangavelu, a gold medallist at Rio Paralympics 2016. Thangavelu is a born fighter. He had suffered permanent disability in the right leg when he was run over by a drunk bus driver. His father had abandoned the family and he was raised by his mother who used to work as a labourer.
e) Padma Shri Sukri Bommagowda of Karnataka. She is known as “Nightingale of Halakki”. She has been given the award for performing tribal folk music for 58 years.
f) Padma Shri Jitendra Haripal. A school dropout, he is popular as “Rangabati ki Awaz”. He 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.
g) Padma Shri Ela Ahmad, 81, from Assam. She has been selected for running the only magazine for women in the northeast since 1970.
h) Padma Shri Balbir Singh Seechawal from Punjab. He resurrected 160-km long Kali Bein river in the state by mobilising local volunteers and developing the Seechawal Model of underground sewerage system.
i) Padma Shri Dr Mapuskar, who is also popular as “Swacchhta Doot” in Maharashtra. He is a sanitation pioneer who dedicated himself to Swachh Bharat Mission 50 years ago, making his Dehu village open defecation free.
j) Padma Shri Meenakshi Amma, also popular as “Granny with a Sword”. from Kerala. She is India’s oldest woman Kalaripayattu — a centuries old martial art form.
(With inputs from PTI)