Padma Awards: Modi Government Celebrates Grassroots AchieversMusic maestro Ilayaraja.

This year’s Padma awards, announced by the Narendra Modi government on 25 January, are an unmistakable celebration of grassroots achievers.

Of the 15,700 applications the government received, it decided to honour 85 with three getting Padma Vibhushan, nine Padma Bhushan and the rest Padma Shri awards.

Popular music director Ilayaraja led the list of awardees with the government deciding to confer Padma Vibhushan honour on him. “It is an indication of Modi-led government’s respect to Tamil people and Tamil Nadu,” said Ilayaraja, who was conferred with Padma Bhushan in 2010.

Ghulam Mustafa Khan and P Parameswaran.
Ghulam Mustafa Khan and P Parameswaran.

Another noted musician Ghulam Mustafa Khan and RSS ideologue P Parameswaran are the others to get Padma Vibhushan.

The Modi Government has also taken into consideration the contribution to sports by deciding to award cricketer M S Dhoni, cueist Pankaj Advani (both Padma Bhushan), badminton star Kidambi Srikanth, boxer Saikom Mirabhai Chanu, tennis player Somdev Devvarman and Paralympic gold medalist Murlikant Petkar.

Lakshmikutty and Sulagatti Narasamma.
Lakshmikutty and Sulagatti Narasamma.

The government continued from last year its practice of celebrating genuine grassroots achievers by deciding to honour “unsung heroes” like scientist toymaker Arvind Gupta, gond artist Bhajju Shyam, a tribal woman or grandmother of jungle who prepares medicines from herbal plants Lakshmikutty, 99-year-old social worker and freedom fighter Sudhanshu Biswas, father of palliative care M R Rajagopal, plastic road maker Rajagopal Vasudevan, the woman who built humanity hospital for poor Subasini Mistry, a non-agenarian mid-wife service provider Sulagatti Narasamma and monk healer Yeshi Doddan.

M R Rajagopal and Romulus Whitaker.
M R Rajagopal and Romulus Whitaker.

The Government has also decided to honour 15 foreigners for the contribution in various fields, including yoga. Ten of the 15 are from the ASEAN region.

Historian and former director of Tamil Nadu Archeology Department R Nagasamy, folk artist Vijalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan and 98-year-old V Nanammal, one of the oldest yoga teachers, are among the other winners. The services of Romulus Whitaker, who set up the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, has been recognised with a Padma Shree award.

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