Centenarian Saalumarada Thimmakka, who has earned the sobriquet of ‘Vriksha Mathe’ for planting thousands of trees in Karnataka, received the Padmashri award from President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday.
Noted physicist Rohini Madhusudan Godbole and archaeologist Sharada Srinivasan were the other two noted personalities from the state on whom the President conferred Padmashri, the fourth highest civilian award.
Sarod maestro Rajeev Taranath was also one of the Padmashri awardees from the state.
However, he was not present at the Civil Investiture Ceremony, organised at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, to present the awards. The President conferred Padma awards on a total of 54 personalities.
In the special function marked by strict protocols of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Thimmakka affectionately touched the President’s forehead to bless him with a smile on her face as he asked her to face the camera after conferring Padmashri on her.
While Thimmakka’s innocuous move brought a smile on the faces of the President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was also present on the occasion, all the guests burst into rapturous applause for her.
Folk Singer Teejan Bai and chairman of Larsen and Toubro Anil Kumar Naik received Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, from the President.
Noted scientist S Nambi Narayanan, Bollywood actor Manoj Bajpayee, footballer Sunil Chhetri, Archer L Bombayla Devi, cricketer Gautam Gambhir, captain of Indian women’s basketball team Prashanti Singh were among the 54 eminent persons
who received the Padma awards.
The President conferred Padma Bhushan on RSS leader Darshan Lal Jain who is making efforts to trace the mythical river Saraswati, MDH founder CEO Mahashay Dharam Pal Gulati, medical professional Ashok Laxmanrao Kukade, former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan, mountaineer Bachendri Pal and former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) V K Shunglu.
As many as 112 ‘inspiring’ personalities were selected for this year’s Padma awards and their names were announced on the eve of the Republic Day.