Veteran socialist leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Late Mulayam Singh Yadav, and medical professional Dilip Mahalanabis, known globally for his work on Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), were among those conferred the Padma Vibhushan award by President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday.
Author and philanthropist Sudha Murty, physicist Deepak Dhar, who is known for long-standing research career in statistical physics, novelist S L Bhyrappa, noted playback singer Vani Jairam and Vedic scholar Tridandi Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji were given the Padma Bhushan at a function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
Murty’s daughter Akshata, who is the wife of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, was seen sitting in the front row next to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, along with other dignitaries at the majestic Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Yadav, who was also India’s defence minister and long-time parliamentarian, Mahalanabis, who returned from the US to serve in the 1971 Bangladesh war refugee camps, and Jairam were given the honour posthumously.
Yadav’s son and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who came wearing the Samajwadi Party’s trademark red cap, received the award on his behalf, while Mahalanabis award was received by his nephew Susham Gupta and Jairam’s award was received by sister Uma Mani.
Sudha Murty’s husband and Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy was sitting among other guests and family members.
Music director M M Keeravaani, who recently bagged Indias first Oscar for an original song for the RRR song Naatu Naatu, and Bollywood actor Raveena Tandon were among those who received the Padma Shri.
Keeravaani received the loudest applause at the event.
Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and several Union ministers and other guests were present at the function.
In their traditional dress and headgear, Ramesh Parmar and Shanti Parmar of Madhya Pradesh who make dolls using recycled cloth got emotional as they touched Prime Minister Modi’s feet. Gujarati folk artiste Paresh Rathwa was also overwhelmed with emotions as he greeted the prime minister by touching his feet.
At least six awardees, including veteran Bidri craft artist from Karnataka Shah Rasheed Ahmed Quadri, traditional artist from Maharashtra Parshuram Komaji Khune and Ramkuiwangbe Jeme Newme, a social worker from Assam, shook hands with Modi.
The President came forward a few steps to confer the award on educationist from Odisha Antaryami Mishra and Delhi-based doctor Ishwar Chander Verma, both of whom are wheelchair-bound.
Later, in a tweet, Modi said Wednesday’s Padma Awards ceremony was a great opportunity to interact with the outstanding awardees, who are doing excellent work among people.
Murmu had approved conferment of 106 Padma awards, including three duo cases (in a duo case, the award is counted as one), on the eve of this year’s Republic Day.
A total of 52 awardees were given the honour on Wednesday — two Padma Vibhushan, five Padma Bhushan and 45 Padma Shri.
One more Padma Vibhushan awardee, US-based scientist S R Srinivasa Varadhan, remained absent.
The other distinguished personalities were given the awards on March 22.
Padma awards are conferred in three categories — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. Indias top civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, has not been given to anyone since 2019.
The awards are given in various disciplines and fields of activities such as art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports and civil service among others.
Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian award, is given for exceptional and distinguished service; Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order; and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field.
Many of the awardees are unsung heroes who have been silently working for the betterment of society and people, and whom the Narendra Modi government has been honouring ever since it came to power in 2014, officials said.
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