Unsung heroes shine on Padma list

Last Updated 26 January 2018, 03:13 IST

A 99-year-old warrior of the poor, a 97-year-old midwife from Karnataka, a 90-year-old monk-physician and a 75-year-old 'grandmother of the jungle' are among the "unsung heroes" celebrated by the country by honouring them with Padma Sri awards.

Four among those chosen for the prestigious awards, announced on the eve of Republic Day, are nonagenarians while the youngest of the 'unsung heroes' group is a 46-year-old tribal artist from Madhya Pradesh.

Called 'Janani Amma', Sulagatti Narasamma is a farm labourer who provides midwife services in the backward regions of Karnataka.

She is known for her special talent for checking infant's pulse in the womb and position of the head. Over the past 70 years, she has performed more than 15,000 traditional deliveries for free.

Ibrahim Sutar, the 'Kannada Kabir', is another name from Karnataka chosen for the Padma Sri for "spreading social message through his bhajans for the last 44 years".

An icon of Hindu-Muslim unity from Bagalkot, he established the Folk Music Festival in 1970.

Sitavva Joddati, a 60-year-old former Devadasi from Karnataka who worked for the empowerment of Devadasis and Dalit women, also finds her name on the list.

Sudhanshu Biswas, the oldest among the awardees, is a freedom fighter.

Biswas has been chosen for the Padma Sri for his "dedicated life in service of the poor".

Biswas, who is from West Bengal and was shot and jailed by the Britisher during the freedom struggle, runs free schools, orphanages and charitable dispensaries in rural Bengal.

Yeshi Dhoden, who works in remote villages of Himachal Pradesh, has treated thousands of patients using herbal medicines and diet. He was chosen for the award for combining ancient healing systems of India and China.

Another traditional healer chosen for the award is Lakshmikutty from Kerala, described as 'Vana Muthassi' or grandmother of the jungle.

Known for treating people with snake bites and insect bites, she is a teacher at Kerala Folklore Academy.

She has another ace up her sleeve. She is the only tribal woman from her area to attend a school in the 1950s.

Subhasini Mistry, a 75-year-old from West Bengal, was chosen for building 'Humanity Hospital' for the poor.

After her husband's death, as she could not find money for his medical expenses, Mistry found funds for her dream by selling vegetables, cleaning ponds and working in paddy fields for 20 years at a stretch.

She sent her son to an orphanage and he grew up to become a doctor.

Maharashtra's Murlikant Petkar, who lost his arm in the 1965 Indo-Pak war and has a bullet lodged in his spinal cord, is also on the list.

He was the country's first gold medallist in swimming in 1972 Paralympics.

From Saudi

Nouf Marwaai, a 38-year-old Saudi Arabian who was the first certified yoga instructor in the Gulf nation, was chosen for Padma Sri.

Described as the face of Yoga revolution in Saudi Arabia, she played an instrumental role in legalising yoga there. She taught over 3,000 students and has certified over 70 yoga teachers in Saudi Arabia since 2009.

Born with auto-immune disease, she has been practising yoga and naturopathy for the past 19 years.

(Published 26 January 2018, 02:32 IST)

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