Former cricket captain MS Dhoni, actor Manoj Joshi and ace cueist Pankaj Advani were among several noted personalities who received the Padma awards from President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday. Dhoni, who was conferred with the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the Indian territorial Army in 2011, marched to the dais in his Army uniform to receive Padma Bhushan amid a huge round of applause from the audience.
Folk artist Sharda Sinha who has given voice to many hit Bhojpuri songs, contemporary Indian artist Laxman Pai and former Ambassador of Russia to India, Alexander Kadakin (posthumously), were also given the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third-highest civilian award after Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan, by Kovind.
The ceremony was held at the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan were among several dignitaries present at the function. The president presented five Padma Bhushan and 38 Padma Shri awards at the civil investiture ceremony.
People from different walks of life were awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, during the ceremony.
Veteran actor Joshi, Dasmodar Ganesh Bapat, who is working towards eradication of leprosy, and L Subadani Devi, Manipur-based weaver, were among those presented with Padma Shri. Karanataka-based Sufi bhajan singer Ibrahim Nabisaheb Sutar, wildlife conservationist Romulus Whitaker and Mizoram’s educationist A Zakia were also conferred Padma Shri.
The award was conferred to foreigners also. Phillipines’ Jose Ma Joey Concepcion was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution in trade and industry. Malaysia’s Datuk Ramli Ibrahim (Art-dance), Bounlap Keokangna of Laos (for architecture), Cambodia’s Hun Many (public affairs), Japan’s Prof Tomio Mizokami (literature and education), Myanmar’s Thant Myint -U (public affairs) and Indonesia’s Bapak Nyoman Nuarta (art-sculpture) were also conferred Padma Shri.
Brunei Darussalam’s Malai Haji Abdullah Bin Haji Malai (for social work), Tajikistan’s Prof Habibullo Rajabov (literature and education), Nepal’s Sanduk Ruit (medicine-oncology) and Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Thien (for spiritualism) were among those awarded Padma Shri.
Prof Bhagirath Prasad Tripathi (for literature and education), Vikram Chandra Thakur (science and engineering), Pankaj Manubhai Shah (medicine-oncology), Prof Chandra Sekhar Rath (posthunous) for contribution in literature and education, M R Rajagopal (medicine-pallative care), Bhabani Charan Pattanaik (public affairs) and Keshavrao Sadashiv Shastri Musalgaonkar (literature and education) were also given Padma Shri.
Among others, Gujarat’s Zaverilal Dalpatram Mehta (journalism), Vijaylakshmi Navneet Krishnan (folk music) and Prafulla Govinda Baruah (journalism) were also conferred with the Padma Shri.