Padma Awards brings unsung heroes to limelight

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) The Padma Awards that were announced by the Centre on Wednesday brought many unsung heroes to the limelight that they had not acquired earlier.

The awards are in four categories — Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri — but the highest honour is rarely awarded. The awards in the other three categories will be presented by President Pranab Mukherjee at one or two ceremonial functions at Rashtrapati Bhawan around March or April every year.

This year the President of India has approved conferment of Padma Awards to 89 persons, which comprises of seven Padma Vibhushans, seven Padma Bhushans and 75 Padma Shris. Nineteen of the awardees are women and the list also includes five foreigners and NRIs and 6 posthumous awardees.

These awards have brought much-needed glory to the likes of Meenakshi Amma, affectionately called “Granny with the sword” or to the “Tree man of Telangana,” Daripalli Ramaiah.

Meenakshi Amma, who has been awarded Padma Shri is the oldest woman exponent of Kalaripayattu (ancient martial art form), while 68-year-old Ramaiah (also awarded Padma Shri) has planted more than one crore trees in his lifetime.

Also joining them in the list is “Doctor Dadi” aka Dr Bhakti Yadav. A 91-year-old gynaecologist, Yadav has been serving the poor for free for over 60 years in Madhya Pradesh. Dr Subrato Das of Gujarat, who provides emergency treatment on highways, has also been awarded Padma Shri.

Other unsung heroes in the list of awardees include 75-year-old Sukri Bommagowda, known as the nightingale of the Halakki Vokkaliga tribes, Birkha Bahadur Limboo Muringla from Sikkim, among others.

The list of Padma awardees also included names of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, singers Kailash Kher and Anuradha Paudwal and chef Sanjeev Kapoor. CricketerVirat Kohli, wrestler Sakshi Malik and gymnast Dipa Karmakar are also being felicitated with Padma awards this year.

Iconic Bollywood actress Wahida Rehman, journalist S Gurumurthy and 17 others, including Home and Cabinet secretaries, were part of the Padma Committee this year.

The nominations for the awards were opened in last May and a total of around 5000 entries were received by the government. Five hundred names were shortlisted in December, 89 of whom were approved by president Pranab Mukherjee for conferment.