Folk singer Teejan Bai, Larsen & Toubro Group Chairman A M Naik and Marathi writer and theatre pesonality Balwant Purandare are among the four persons chosen for the Padma Vibhushan, the nation's second highest civilian honour, on the eve of Republic Day 2019 today.
Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, who has been in office since May 1999, has also been awarded the Padma Vibhushan.
Teejan Bai, 62, who hails from Chhattisgarh, is an exponent of Pandavani, a traditional performing art form in which she enacts tales from the Mahabharata, with musical accompaniments.
Naik, 77, had joined L&T as a junior engineer in 1965 and rapidly moved up the latter to become Managing Director and CEO, leading to his appointment as Chairman and Managing Director on December 29, 2003. He was the Group Executive Chairman of L&T from 2012 to 2017. In October 2017, he stepped aside from executive responsibilities, and was appointed Group Chairman.
Purandare, 96, has written works which are mostly based on the events related to the life of Shivaji, the 17th-century founder of the Maratha Empire. In particular, he is known for his play on Shivaji, "Jaanta Raja", which is popular in Maharashtra. He has also studied the history of the Peshwas of Pune.
The Padma Awards -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri -- are announced ahead of the Republic Day every year and given in various fields of activities, including art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, and so on.
‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field.
This year the President of India has approved conferment of 112 Padma Awards including one duo case (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one).
Apart from the four Padma Vibhushan, the list includes 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri Awards.
As many as 21 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 11 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI, three posthumous awardees and one transgender person.
The Padma Bhushan awardees include Malayalam film superstar Mohanlal; former Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa; Delhi businessman and MDH Spices owner Mahashay Dharam Pal Gulati; Haryana social activist Darshal Lal Jain; Dr. Ashok Laxmanrao Kukade, founder of Vivekanand Hospital, Latur, Maharashtra; former Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and Jharkhand BJP leader Kariya Munda; well-known sitarist Budhaditya Mukherjee; former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayan; mountaineer Bachendri Pal; former Comptroller and Auditor General of India V K Shunglu; and Lok Sabha member and BJP leader Hukumdev Narayan Yadav.
Late journalist Kuldip Nayar, who passed away in August 2018 at the age of 95, has been given the Padma Bhushan posthumously.
Two foreigners, former Cisco Sytems Chairman and CEO John Chambers of the United States and South African Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, were also chosen for the award.
The Padma Shri awardees include well-known painter Jyoti Bhatt, actor Manoj Bajpayee, actor Dinyar Contractor, Tamil actor and dancer Prabhu Deva, well-known Delhi-based surgeon Dr Sandeep Guleria, physicist Rohini Godbole, former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, eminent theatre director Waman Kendre, singer Shankar Mahadevan, percussionist Anandan Sivamani and well-known writer Gita Mehta, the sister of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Cricketer Gautam Gambhir, footballer Sunil Chhetri, table tennis star Sharath Kamal, archer Bombayla Devi Laishram, wrestler Bajrang Punia, kabbadi player Ajay Thakur, and basketball player Prashanti Singh were among the sports honours given the Padma Shri.
Well-known Bollywood actor and comedian Kader Khan, who passed away recently in Canada, was also given the Padma Shri posthumously.
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