Pankaj, Dhoni in Padma list

Musician Illayaraja, cricketer M S Dhoni, RSS ideologue P Parameswaran and Karnataka seer Siddeshwara Swamiji are among 85 people chosen for the prestigious Padma awards on the eve of Republic Day.

The list comprises three Padma Vibhushan, nine Padma Bhushan and 73 Padma Shri, of which 14 are women.

Last year, there were 89 winners while in 2015, it was 112. According to an official statement, 16 people from the category of foreigners or NRIs or Person of Indian Origin.

Illayaraja, whose compositions are hummed by millions of Indians, has been chosen for Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award.

He is joined by 86-year-old Hindustani musician Ghulam Mustafa Khan, the 'guru' of singers like Asha Bhosle, Hariharan, Shaan and Sonu Nigam.

The third winner for Padma Vibhushan is RSS ideologue from Kerala P Parameswaran.

Billiards and snooker sensation from Karnataka Pankaj Advani and Dhoni are among the 12 winners in the Padma Bhushan category.

Late Alexander Kadakin, the former Russian ambassador who spoke Hindi fluently, was chosen for the Padma Bhushan posthumously while centurian Philipose Mar Christostom, a well-known Bishop in Kerala who is known for his humour, is another winner.

Other Padma Bhushan winners are 92-year-old artist Laxman Pai from Goa, who found inspirations from Goan subjects and concept of Indian miniatures, musicians Arvind Parikh (Maharashtra) and Sharada Sinha (Bihar) among others.

The list of Padma Sri awardees includes eight from Karnataka, including Siddheshwara Swamiji.

Lyricist Doddarange Gowda, former Devadasi Sittavva Joddati, musician R Sathyanarayana are the other winners of Padma Sri.

Kashmiri doctor couple Abhay and Rani Bang, Kashmiri theatre artist Pran Kishore Kaul, noted Assamese writer Arup Datta and tennis player Somdev Devvarman are also among winners of Padma Sri.

Saudi Arabian national Nouf Marwaai, the first certified yoga instructor in the Gulf country, was another Padma Sri winner.

Another winner from the field of yoga is 98-year-old V Nanammal (Tamil Nadu), who is considered the oldest yoga teacher in the country.

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