Padma Shri award 2017 is a celebration of those unsung heroes who haven’t got the recognition until now. They have dedicated their lives for the betterment of the nation and the earth! Age, region, religion, cast, creed, nothing could stop these people from achieving what they wanted. Here are the 16 awardees that we should know about and the lives that we should get inspired from.
1. Dr. Bhakti Yadav from Madhya PradeshShe is a woman with tons of humanity. She has refused jobs in government hospitals and chose to join Nand Lal Bhandari Home. This 91 year old woman is known as Doctor Dadi. She has been treating patients for free since the 1948. The first female MBBS from Indore, the 91-year-old is renowned for having delivered thousands of babies and is estimated to have tended to over 1 lakh patients through the decades. In her career of 68 years, she has delivered 1000’s of babies for free in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
2. Meenakshi Amma – KeralaAge is just a number to define how long a person has been living; this number doesn’t put any boundaries to what one can achieve. This 76 year old is known as the ‘granny with the sword’ and is lovingly addressed as Meenakshi Gurukkal. She began mastering martial arts since the age of 7. Kalaripayattu originated in South-West Kerala and is said to be the root of Chinese Martial Art. She teaches at her school Kadhathanandan Kalari Sangam in Vatakara Village, Kerala. She has been practicing the martial art since 68 years.
3. Daripalli Ramaiah – TelanganaWe have been struggling to just manage and plant the garden outside our houses; this man has planted millions of trees. The native of Telangana’s Khammam district carries seeds and plants them wherever he spots barren ground. Over the years, he has collected rare native seeds, lobbied with political leaders for green initiatives and painted eco-friendly messages and slogans. He is known as the Chetla Ramaiah ( The Tree Man ). His fight wasn’t alone- his wife Janamma also contributed to his passion and dream.
4. Dr. Subroto Das – GujaratAfter a highway accident left him and his friends waiting for hours for medical assistance, Dr Subroto began setting up the first highway helpline numbers for travellers in Gujarat from 2002. His NGO offered technical expertise for setting up the unified 108 number that runs, free of cost, in over 20 states. He went on saving more than 1200+ victims.
5. Bipin Ganatra – West BengalThis 59 year old is a school dropout and has worked odd jobs for his life; working for a jute trader, as an electrician and fixing meters. After he lost his brother in a fire accident, he decided to surrender his life to save and help those victims caught in fire. He dedicated 4 decades of ahis life as a volunteer with the fire department and spends days and nights rescuing victims, extinguishing flames and cleaning debris. He earns his meager living as an electrician, and spends the rest of his time working with the fire department.
6. Eli Ahmed – KarnatakaDespite lacking vision, being in a background of utter poverty and losing his parents at a tender age of 12, Shekhar Naik found happiness in cricket. He is the former captain of Indian Blind Cricket Team. He helmed his team to major victories, including the 2012 T20 Blind Cricket World Cup and the Blind Cricket World Cup in 2014. He scored 32 centuries in his career of 13 years and has played 63 matches in all formats.
7. Girish Bharadwaj – KarnatakaHe is an inspiration to all those engineering graduates who have lots of passion for the subject but are jobless. He turned his unemployed status to doing something truly remarkable. He is known as the Sethu Bandhu. This 67 year old has built 100+ bridges across Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. This connectivity helped in aiding remote villages. His bridge building technology costs 1/10th of a conventional bridge and also reduced building time to 3 months, where is usually takes 3 years. These bridges are eco-friendly and safe.
8. Mariyappan Thangavelu – Tamil NaduThe first Indian high jumper to have won gold at the Paralympics 2016, this athlete has braved many odds. At the age of five, a bus ran over him crushing his leg. His disability and poverty did not let him back off from the interest he had in sports. His father abandoned him early on, and his mother raised him by carrying bricks as a labourer. He donated a part of his prize money given by the government to the school for improvement of sports facility.
9. Eli Ahmad – AssamHailing from Assam, this 81-year-old winner has many achievements. She founded, and continues to run, Orani, the founder of the oldest magazine for women living in northeast India. She continued to run this magazine since 1970. She is a social reformist and works for woman empowerment. She established the first Assam Film Institute in the North East Region. She is known as A WRITER WITH PURPOSE.
10. Balbir Singh Seechewal – PunjabThe environmentalist single-handedly mobilised residents of more than 20 villages and initiated a mass movement of desilting the 110-mile-long rivulet and beautifying the banks. The environmentalist also encourages people to keep rivers clean and keep water scarcity at bay. He is commonly known as the Eco Baba. His model for underground sewage is being considered for replication on other rivers across the country.
11. Genabhai Dargabhai Patel – GujaratHe is known as the Anar Dada. This 52 year old has been cultivating pomegranates in 2005, to counter the difficult drought in his district. Not only did he adopt new technologies to increase produce, but spread the knowledge among other farmers too. Thanks to him, this region now boasts the country’s highest pomegranate yield. He is a disabled divyang farmer from a village of Banaskantha district, Gujarat.
12. Karimul Haque – West BengalThis 52 year old runs a bike transport service to help locals access medical services swiftly. His bike ambulance is funded by his money. He has helped more than 3000 people. His bike has become the only lifeline in more than 20 villages. He runs this service 24*7 in his village.
13. Sukri Bomma Gowda – KarnatakaShe is known as the Nightingale of Halakki. Sukri is the representation of a steadily vanishing tribe. This 75-year-old and her small group of singers strive to keep their community’s traditions alive via their songs that narrate their way of life. She led a protest against the sale of liquor in Badigeri Haadi. She spent 58 eyars of life as a singer and music performer of a tribal folk.
14. Chintakindi Mallesham – TelanganaHailing from Andhra Pradesh, Chintakindi is known as the creator of the Laxmi ASU machine, which makes the weaving of the state’s iconic Pochampally silk sarees less laborious and time-consuming. The high school dropout developed the machine to ease the burden on his mother, also a weaver, and has been awarded numerous innovation and entrepreneurship awards for his invention. This machine reduced the time taken for weaving a saree form 4 hours to 1.5 hours.
15. Dr Suhas Vitthal Mapuskar – MaharashtraThe doctor took it upon himself to provide toilets for the locals and even devised his own indigenous design for toilets that wouldn’t get washed away in the rains. His efforts over the decades earned him the title of ‘Swachh Dhoot’ among villagers and followers. He passed away in 2015 and has been conferred the award posthumously. He introduced sanitation facilities in the least cost possible.
16. Dr Suniti Solomon – Tamil NaduThe late physician and microbiologist is credited with diagnosing the first case of AIDS in India in the year 1985. Her extensive contribution in the area led to the foundation of the Y R Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education, Chennai. Most significantly, her frank discourse helped to break many myths and taboos associated with the disease.