Three eminent personalities from Gujarat bagged the highest civilian awards on Monday as the ‘Padma awards’ were announced on the eve of Republic Day celebrations. Among the ‘Padma Shri’ awardees from the state, include veteran folk artist Bhikhudan Gadhvi in the field of Art (Folk Music), Dahyabhai Shastri in the field of literature and education and Ahmedabad-based neurologist Dr Sudhir V Shah in the field of medicine (Neurology).
The Padma awards — one of the highest civilian Awards of the country — are conferred in 3 categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri and are given in various disciplines including art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service among others.
Dahyabhai Shastri, 90, is known as the pioneer of Brahmarshi Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya in Nadiad, which he founded in 1995, and is well known for his efforts in the promotion and preservation of Sanskrit. Speaking to The Indian Express, Shastri said, “For me, this award is like a huge recognition of Sanskrit.”
Dr Sudhir V Shah, a leading neurologist and professor and head of department at N H L Municipal Medical College, Ahmedabad, has specialised in brain cell research. He has worked in many fields like medicines, research, music, Jainism and spirituality among others.
He has written books on neurology in simple language for the masses so that they can grasp the complexities of the subject. Nearly 50,000 copies of his books have been sold so far and the money earned from them has been given to charity. “With this award I feel that I will be more responsible in helping our people”, said Dr Shah on his nomination.
Bhikhudan Gadhvi (67), a Junagadh-based folk-musician, has previously received the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award given by Sangeet Natak Akademi, the country’s national academy for music, dance and drama, for the year 2009. He is also a recipient of Gujarat Gaurav Award, the top honour given by Gujarat government. Gadhvi is credited for keeping alive folk literature and vocal traditions through his rendering of tales and singing of folk songs through the medium of ‘dayras’ or Dayro, a form of Gujarati folk narrative song. He is the second folk artist after Diwaliben Bhil from Gujarat to receive the Padma award.
While ‘Padma Shri’ is awarded for distinguished service in any field, all 3 award categories are conferred by the President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, usually in March-April, every year. A total of 112 personalities have bagged the Padma Awards comprising of 10 Padma Vibhushan, 19 Padma Bhushan and 83 Padma Shri awardees. While 19 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 10 persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs (include one posthumous) and 4 Posthumous awardees.