On January 2, 1954, a press release from the office of the secretary to the President of India announced the creation of two civilian awards: Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, followed by the three-tier Padma Vibhushan, classified into “Pahela Warg” (Class I), “Dusra Warg” (Class II), and “Tisra Warg” (Class III).
On January 15, 1955, the three-tier Padma Vibhushan award was reclassified into three different awards: the Padma Vibhushan, the highest of the three, followed by the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri.
From 1954 onwards the Government of India honours its distinguished citizens on India’s Republic Day (26th January) by conferring the civilian awards for their services to the Republic of India. All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards.
The Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award is conferred on distinguished citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the arts, education, industry, literature, science, sports, medicine, social service and public affairs. It has also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who were/are not citizens of India for their various services rendered to the Republic of India.
The recipients of the Padma Shri award receive only the award. It is just an honour without any monetary compensation. No cash allowance or any facility/benefit in terms of concession etc. in rail/air travel is attached to these awards. The awardees are not allowed to publicize their achievements.
The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardee’s name on letterheads, invitation cards, posters, books etc. In the case of any misuse, the awardee will forfeit the award. Though there are no specific criteria for withdrawing a Padma award, according to the awards’ statutes, the President of India may cancel and annul any award in the case of any misconduct committed by the recipient.
The Padma Shri decoration comprises a Certificate issued under the hand and seal of the President and a Medallion. The recipients are also given a replica of the medallion, which if they desire can be worn by them during any ceremonial/State functions.
A higher category of Padma award can be conferred on a person only where a period of at least five years has elapsed since conferment of the earlier Padma award. However, in highly deserving cases, relaxation can be made by the Awards Committee.
This year (2019), the Padma Shri was awarded to 94 persons. Of these 21 of the awardees are women, 11 persons from the category of foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI, three posthumous awardees and one transgender person.
What caught my attention most was the following 14 humble, compassionate, unassuming, unselfish and humane Padma Shri recipients ignored by the media caught my attention.
The Chaiwala Guru of Cuttack: Devarapalli Prakash Rao
Environmentalist from Karnataka: Saalumarada Thimmakka
Empowering Women: ‘Kalanjiam Shakti‘: Madurai Chinna Pillai
The ‘Lady Tarzan‘ of Jharkhand: Jamuna Tudu
Caretaker of cows in Maratawada : Shaikh Shabbir Mamu
‘Kissan Chachi‘: Rajkumari Devi
India’s ‘Saviour of Cows’ from Germany: Friederike Irina Bruning
Carver of Canals with bare hands: Daitari Naik
The Wonder Surgeon of Ladakh: Dr Tsering Norbu
The ‘Grassroot Inventor’ from Assam: Dr Uddhab Kumar Bharali
The Pioneer of Sickle Cell Research in India: Dr Sudam Kate
The developer of an improved variety of Cauliflower:
Jagdish Prasad Parikh
Reviver of the dying Kutchi art of Rogan painting:
Abdul Gafoor Khatri
The tribal woman from Koraput promoting organic farming:
- Indian honours system (en.wikipedia.org)
- Bharat Ratna (en.wikipedia.org)
- Padma Vibhushan (en.wikipedia.org)
- Padma Shri (en.wikipedia.org)
- Padma Awards 2019: Here’s The Complete List of Awardees (news18.com)
- What do the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri winners get? (bemoneyaware.com)
- Inspiring Read on the life of story of Chaiwala Guru of Cuttack D. Prakash Rao who received Padma Shri award (bhubaneswarbuzz.com)
- Saalumarada Thimmakka (en.wikipedia.org)
- Chinna Pillai (en.wikipedia.org)
- Lady Tarzan Jamuna Tudu who takes on timber mafia (indianexpress.com)
- Caretaker of cows in Marathwada: Shaikh Shabbir Mamu (bhaskar.com)
- Rajkumari Devi is ‘Kisaan Chachi’, Watch Out For Her Tips On Successful Farming (thebetterindia.com)
- Meet India’s ‘Gau Rakshak’ From Germany Who Received The Padma Shri For Looking After 1,800 Cows (Indiatimes.com)
- Odisha’s Manjhi: This man carves out kilometre-long canal to irrigate land (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
- In conversation with Dr. Tsering Norbu, Surgeon
- Dr Kate receives ‘2017 Sickle Cell Advocate of the Year’ award (indianexpress.com)
- IMPROVED CAULIFLOWER VARIETY (nif.org.in)
- ABDUL GAFUR STORY (megastores.com)
- Meet Kamala Pujari, A Tribal Agricultural Activist And Now A Member Of Odisha Planning Board (indiatimes.com)