The Government of India has honoured the eminent personalities from different fields with most prestigious Padma Awards. The list includes Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and late singer S P Balasubrahmanyam who have conferred the Padma Vibhushan on Monday, while former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Dalit leader and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Tarun Gogoi and Keshubhai Patel (all three posthumously) and ex-principal secretary to the PM, Nripendra Misra, have been named for the Padma Bhushan. As many as 119 Padma awards — seven Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan and 102 Padma Shri — were announced. Among the awardees are 29 women and one transgender, while 10 are foreigners, NRIs, persons of Indian origin or overseas citizens of India. Sixteen awards have been conferred posthumously. “Dom Raja” of Varanasi, Jagdish Chaudhary, who had signed PM Narendra Modi’s nomination papers in the 2019 LS poll, was also posthumously awarded Padma Shri for social work. UK filmmaker Peter Brooks, who made the well-received film “Mahabharata” based on his nine-hour play, and the late Father Valles, a Spanish Jesuit priest who lived and worked in Gujarat, have been honoured with Padma Shri. Late Congress leader Gogoi, former CM of poll-bound Assam and B B Lal are another interesting pick in the Padma Vibhushan list. The reputed archaeologist was head of the ASI during an excavation in Ayodhya that was seen as yielding evidence of a Hindu temple — a determination which saw him being criticised by left historians but which strengthened VHP’s case for construction of a Ram Mandir at the disputed site. Three from the Sangh Parivar — former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel, Sumitra Mahajan and former governor Mridula Sinha, who passed away recently — too made the cut. The maximum 11 awards went to people from Tamil Nadu, incidentally another state headed for the polls.
The Padma Vibhushan list included Puri-based sculptor Sudarshan Sahoo, cardiologist and Manipal University ex-chancellor B M Hegde, Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and Indian-American Sikh physicist Narinder Singh Kapany, known for his work in the field of fibre optics. Playback singer K S Chithra was given the Padma Bhushan. Rattan Lal was awarded Padma Shri for regenerative agriculture. Pappammal from Coimbatore, who runs her own organic farm, was conferred Padma Shri.
The 10 Padma Bhushan awardees include Islamic spiritual leader Kalbe Sadiq (posthumous), former MP and ex-chairman of National Commission for Minorities Tarlochan Singh, who has worked for the Sikh community, Kannada poet and playwright Chandrashekhar Kambara, and Maharashtra-based industrialist Rajnikant Devidas Shroff. In the Padma Shri list are former Union minister from Assam Bijoya Chakravarty. Among sportspersons in the Padma Shri list are basketball player P Anitha, table tennis player Mouma Das, athlete Sudha Hari Narayan Singh, para-sportsman K Y Venkatesh, wrestler Virender Singh and mountaineer Anshu Jamsenpa. The list, like the past few years, includes many unsung heroes in fields like art, social work, agriculture and also in a new category — grassroots innovation. From the field of trade and industry, Punjab-based Cremica founder Rajni Bector, late P Subramanian of Shanthi Gears based in Coimbatore who was also a philanthropist, and Zoho Corporation CEO Sridhar Vembu, have been conferred Padma Shri. Greek Indologist Nicholas Kazanas was awarded Padma Shri in the “literature and education” category, the former posthumously.