The Narendra Modi government is going the extra mile to provide a platform for India’s real leaders who otherwise go unrecognized. Since Republic Day of 2016, the government began the practice of honouring ‘unsung heroes’ with the Padma awards. The move is to recognise people who have dedicated their lives to working for the poor or have risen from deprived backgrounds to excel in their fields. Keeping its promise the government recently announced Padma Shri awards for such personalities who made Indians proud across the globe. Here are a few who were honoured with the Padma Shri this Republic Day.
Lakshmikutty is a tribal woman from Kerala, who prepares 500 herbal medicines from her memory and this has helped thousands of people especially in snake and insect bite cases. The Grandmother of the Jungle teaches at Kerala Folklore Academy and lives in a small hut made of palm leaves in a tribal settlement in the forest. She was the only tribal woman from her area to attend school in the 1950s.
Scientist toymaker Arvind Gupta, an IIT Kanpur alumnus inspired generations of students to learn science. Gupta visited 3,000 schools in four decades and made 6,200 short films in 18 languages on toy-making. He has also hosted popular TV show named Tarang in the 1980s.
Internationally-acclaimed Gond artist Bhajju Shyam is famous for depicting Europe through Gond paintings which is a tribal style of painting of Madhya Pradesh. Born in a poor tribal family, he worked as a night guard and electrician to support the family before becoming a professional artist. His 'The London Jungle Book' sold 30,000 copies and it was published in five foreign languages.
Another medical master to make it to the list is Kerala's medical messiah to the terminally ill or the father of palliative care in India, MR Rajagopal. He has specialised in pain relief care for neonatal cases. The list also features 99-year old social worker Sudhanshu Biswas from West Bengal, a former freedom fighter who serves the poor, runs school and orphanages.
Maharashtra's Murlikant Petkar, India's first para- Olympic gold medalist, who lost his arm in 1965 Indo-Pak war, is another winner of the Padma Shri. Subhasini Mistry from rural West Bengal toiled 20 years as housemaid and daily labourer to build a hospital for poor in the state.
Tamil Nadu's Rajagopalan Vasudevan, who is known as plastic road-maker of India, developed and patented an innovative method of reusing plastic waste to construct roads. Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan, an acclaimed Tamil folk exponent, has dedicated her life towards collection, documentation and preservation of precious Tamil folk and tribal music.
Sulagatti Narasamma, a nonagenarian farm labourer who provides midwifery services in backward region of Karnataka without any medical facility, was also awarded the Padma Shri. Yeshi Dhoden, a monk physician of Tibetan herbal medicine who works in remote areas of Himachal Pradesh also received the award.
Besides the unsung heroes, noted music composer Ilaiyaraaja, Hindutva thinker Parameswaran Parameswaran and former Team India captain MS Dhoni were among the 85 people chosen for the prestigious Padma awards of 2018. Here is the complete list of Padma Awards recipients
Rajagopalan Vasudevan – Science & Engineering (Innvoation)
Subhasini Mistry – Social work
Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan – Literature & education (affordable education)
Sulagatti Narasamma – Medicine
Yeshi Dhoden – Medicine
Rani and Abhay Bang – Medicine (Affordable Healthcare)
Lentina Ao Thakkar – Social Work (Service)
Romulus Whitaker – Others (Wildlife Conservation)
Sampat Ramteke – Social Work
Sanduk Ruit – Medicine (Ophthalmology)
Arvind Gupta – Literature & education (affordable education)
Lakshmikutty – Medicine (snake bite)
Bhajju Shyam – Art (Painting – Gond Art)
Sudhanshu Biswas – Social service
MR Rajagopal – Medicine (Palliative Care)
Murlikant Petkar – Sports
Pankaj Advani – Sport (Billiards/Snooker)
Philipose Mar Chrysostom – Others (Spiritualism)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Sports (Cricket)
Alexander Kadakin (Foreigner/Posthumous) – Public Affairs
Ramachandran Nagaswamy – Others (Archaeology)
Ved Prakash Nanda – Literature and Education
Laxman Pai – Art (Painting)
Arvind Parikh – Art (Music)
Sharda Sinha – Art (Music)
Ilayaraja – Art (Music)
Ghulam Mustafa Khan – Art (Music)
Parameswaran Parameswaran – Literature & Education