Legendary music composer Ilaiyaraaja and cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni are among the Padma awardees of 2018. This year, the President of India has approved conferment of 85 Padma Awards, as compared to 89 last year. The awardees comprise 3 Padma Vibhushan, 9 Padma Bhushan and 73 Padma Shri. Fourteen of the awardees are women and the list also includes 16 awards to foreigners and people of Indian origin.
The prestigious civilian awards continue to have the category of “Unsung Heroes”, started last year. As many as 35,000 applications were received for the civilian awards this time. Ilaiyaraaja, who received the Padma Bhushan in 2010, classical musician Ghulam Mustafa Khan and P Parameswaran, RSS ideologue and director of Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram, Thiruvananthapuram, were chosen for the Padma Vibhushan.
Besides Dhoni, billiards player Pankaj Advani and folk singer Sharda Sinha were among the 9 Padma Shri awardees. Dhoni was nominated last year, but was not among the finalists. Late Russian ambassador Alexander Kadakin, who died last year in India, was also conferred with a Padma Bhushan. Other winners in the category were US-based academic Ved Prakash Nanda, historian R Nagaswamy, Sitar player Arvind Parikh, painter Laxman Pai, and Philipose Mar Chrysostom of the Mar Thomas Syrian Church of India.
Read | Full list of Padma awardees
Bishop Philipose Mar Chrysostom is being honoured with Padma Bhushan in his age of 100. He has been the head of Mar Thoma Syrian Church, a non-Catholic denomination in Kerala. A bishop for last 64 years, Mar Chrysostom is considered as the longest serving prelate in the country. He had resigned as the head of the Church in 2007, but has been active in Kerala’s social life.
Tennis player Somdev Devvarman from Tripura and badminton player Kidambi Srikanth from Andhra Pradesh were chosen for the Padma Shri. Actor Manoj Joshi, who recently appeared in videos released by BJP before the Gujarat elections for BJP was also selected for Padma Shri.
Among the others to be chosen for Padma Shri are Amitava Roy from West Bengal (science and engineering). from West Bengal. The 22 awardees in the Unsung Heroes category this year were chosen with special emphasis on people who have rendered “selfless service at grassroots level”, said a government official. “ Not just excellence, but ‘Excellence Plus’ was the criteria throughout the entire process”.
The “Unsung Heroes” awardees include Kerala resident Lakshmikutty for preparing herbal medicine, Bhajju Shyam, a gond artist from Madhya Pradesh, Sudhanshu Biswas, a 99 year-old freedom fighter from Bengal, M R Rajagopal from Kerala for treating terminally-ill patients and Arvind Gupta from Maharashtra for inspiring students to learnt from trash.
The ASEAN Link
I Nyoman Nuarta
(Art), Indonesia, sculptor
* One of the pioneers of the New Art Movement
* Known for works like Garuda WisnuKencana Statue-Devoted to Hindu god Vishnu (Badung, Bali)
* Deputy Director, Vat Phou World Heritage Site (2007-2015)
* Helped in restoration of Shiva Temple of Bhadreshwara… known as Vat Phou along with ASI
Datuk Ramli Bin Ibraham (Art), Malaysia, Classical Odissi dancer
* Won Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2011)
* Performing Bharatnatyam in Chennai for 37 years.
* Established Sutra Dance Theatre at Malaysia.
Dr Thant Myint-U (Public Affairs), Myanmar, Historian
* Former advisor to Mayanmar President (Thein Sein)
* Founder, Yangoon Heritage Trust, an NGO to conserve historic buildings in Yangoon
* Special Advisor, Mayanmar government, at the Myanmar Peace Centre
* Author of critically-acclaimed 4 books
* Won Fukuoka Prize (2015)
* Named by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers” of 2013 and by Prospect Magazine as one of 50 “World Thinkers” of 2014
Jose Ma Joey Concepcion III (Trade and Industry), Philippines, Chief Executive Officer and President of RFM Corp (publicly listed food and beverage company since 1980)
* Presidential Adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte
Tommy Koh (Public Affairs), Singapore
* Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
Somdet Phra Ariya Wongsa Khottayan, Thailand
* Supreme Patriarch of Thailand (trained as monk at the age of 10)
* Masters from BHU (History and Archaeology)
Nguyen Tien Thien, Vietnam
* Secretary General, National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha since 2005
* Demonstrated that Buddhism came to Vietnam directly from India rather than China