Padma Awards – one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, art, social work, public affairs, literature, sports etc.
The Padma Awards deeply reflect India’s constitutional values of socialism and secularism and also serve the purpose of promoting folk cultures and crafts, grass-root innovations and highlight the instances of selfless service to the cause of humanity.
Some of the most significant recipients this year include Tulasi Gowda (born in a poor tribal family and without any formal education, she is today known as the ‘Encyclopedia of Forest’ for her vast knowledge of diverse species of plants and herbs; she has also planted and nurtured over 30,000 trees), Munna Master (Muslim folk singer, who writes and sings in praise of Hindu gods too, representing syncretic ethos of Indian culture), Javed Ahmed Tak (wheel-chair ridden because of spinal injury from a bullet hit in militant attack in Kashmir, but he has established NGOS for children with disabilities, their education and rehabilitation), Manjamma Jogati (transgender folk dancer, whose life and struggles have been included in the academic curriculum in folk art and literature), Pappammal (at 106 years of age, she continues to take care of her agriculture and is even a part of the Advisory Committee of many Agriculture Universities), Syed Mehboob Shah Qadri (co-founder of ‘Muslim Satyashodhak Mandal’ for social harmony and social and gender equality within Muslim community, he has been fighting against Triple Talaq and for the rights of the women), Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (for his scholarly works in Islam and its Sufi traditions and promotion of communal harmony) and Lakha Khan (belonging to a sect of Muslim musicians in western India, he is considered the greatest exponent of Sindhi Sarangi music) among others.
These awards embody the spirit of equality and universal humanity and the Government of India has been keen to ensure that many unsung heroes and ordinary people are given recognition for their tireless hard work, fuelled only by passion and commitment. We hope that the stories of Tulasi Gowda, Manjamma Jogati, Javed Ahmed and every other recipient shall continue to inspire generations.