Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, singer Surbhi Ranjan (Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan’s wife), mountaineer Arunima Sinha, satirist Ashok Chakradhar were among 46 eminent people (see box) honoured with Yash Bharti award on Monday by the state government for their exemplary contribution in the fields of art, culture, cinema and sports.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, while presenting the awards, said: “The SP government revived the awards, which was started by party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, to acknowledge the talent in the state and keep them motivated.”
“Those who got this award have not only earned a name for themselves in the state but also in the country through their hard work and dedication. Today, the message is going to the whole country that UP is moving towards prosperity,” he added.
Referring to the previous Mayawati government, he said, “There was a time when these awards were stopped… when people gave us (SP) a chance, we not only revived Yash Bharti awards but all other such felicitations which were discontinued.”
The Yash Bharti award carries a citation, a shawl and Rs 11 lakh in cash. Constituted in 1994 by Mulayam Singh Yadav, so far 141 persons have received the honour. The awardees are also eligible for a monthly pension of Rs 50,000 by the state government.
Speaking on the occasion, Mulayam suggested that government officers be included in the award list. “I am happy with the Yash Bharti function. But, one thing was wrong today. Honest officers are not in the list of awardees. I had included them in the list during my tenure. If anyone is left out, the award can be given again to them. Officials have worked hard for the function,” he said.
Praising Akhilesh for continuing with the legacy of Yash Bharti awards, he claimed that other states are following suit by giving similar awards. Mulayam said he thought of starting these awards after seeing the “sad plight” of Hindi litterateur Munshi Premchand and coming to know that only 25 people were present at his last rites. “His (Premchand’s) house was damaged, I got it repaired. It’s then that I realised that those contributing to the society should be given due honour. The litterateurs give us inspiration… We have hopes from them,” he said.
Referring to the plight of farmers, the SP chief said, “Nobody works as hard as the farmers in India. Farmers are not provided with any facility, still they toil hard and have made the country self-sufficient in foodgrain.”
The CM also presented the Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar award — which carries a cash prize of Rs five lakh — to lyricist Sameer Anjaan and Anjali Mishra for saving two children from drowning in Uttarakhand.