padma: Padma Vibushan for MSY, Krishna, Mahalanabis and Zakir Hussain

Former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, physician Dilip Mahalanabis, who pioneered global use of oral rehydration salts, and architect Balkrishna Doshi have been conferred the Padma Vibhushan posthumously on the eve of the 74th Republic Day.

Former foreign minister SM Krishna, table maestro Zakir Hussain and US-based mathematician Srinivas Varadhan were also conferred with the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian award. Industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, author Sudha Murty and novelist SL Bhyrappa were among nine awarded Padma Bhushan. Businessman Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was posthumously given the Padma Shri.

Mahalanabis had returned from the US to serve in Bangladesh’s refugee camps after the 1971 war. He is known for promoting the use of ORS, which is estimated to have saved five crore lives globally. Padma Shri winners include actor Raveena Tandon, Manipur BJP president Thounaojam Chaoba Singh, retired government doctor Ratan Chandra Kar, who works with the Jarawa tribe in the Nicobar Islands, Gujarat’s Siddi tribal social worker Hirabai Lobi and war veteran Munishwar Chander Dawar who treats poor people in Madhya Pradesh. Naga social worker Ramkuiwangbe Newme, who protected and promoted Heraka indigenous culture through awareness camps and programmes, Gandhian VP Appukuttan Poduval and Sikkim’s organic farmer Tula Ram Upreti too were also awarded Padma Shri.

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Padma Vibushan for MSY, Krishna, Mahalanabis And Zakir HussainET Bureau

Snake catchers Vadivel Gopal and Masi Sadaiyan of Tamil Nadu are other Padma Shri winners. Despite lack of formal education, the duo have rescued snakes and trained snake catchers around the world. They use indigenous techniques inherited from their forefathers to rescue snakes. In 2017, the duo were taken to Florida for a pilot python detection project funded by the Florida University. They rescued more than 27 pythons there.

Padma Awards, instituted in 1954, are announced on the eve of Republic Day every year and given to those in the fields of art, social work, public affairs, science, engineering, trade, industry, medicine, literature, education, sports and civil service every year. Six Padma Vibhushan, 9 Padma Bhushan and 91 Padma Shri awards have been conferred this year, of which 19 are for women. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his congratulations to the winners. “India cherishes their rich and varied contributions to the nation and their efforts to enhance our growth trajectory,” he said.

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