Lucknow: The latest Padma awardees from Uttar Pradesh have put in public spotlight the winners, some of whom are well known to the common man, while others are not so well known.
Among the nine eminent personalities from the state who have been named for the Padma awards is Pandit Chhannulal Mishra of Varanasi who has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan for his contribution to music.
A well known Hindustani classical singer and a noted exponent of the ‘Kirana Gharana’ of music, particularly of ‘khayal’ and ‘thumri’ singing, Misra was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2010.
Of the total 118 Padma Shri winners this year, eight are from Uttar Pradesh.
Among them is Jeetu Rai, a shooter specializing in 10 and 50-meter pistol events. He is a serving Junior Commissioned Officer in the 11 Gorkha Rifles headquartered in Lucknow. Rai participated in the 2011 National Games where he represented Uttar Pradesh. He is currently training with the Army Marksmanship Unit in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.
Another recipient is the Lucknow-based author Yogesh Parveen, 80, who is known for his work in Hindi and Urdu literature. His huge body of work includes extensive research on Lucknow’s history and cultural heritage. Often known as an encyclopedia of Avadh, he has authored 20 books on Lucknow. He has been credited for his contribution to films like Satyajit Ray’s “Shatranj Ke Khiladi” and Shyam Benegal’s “Junoon” which were shot here in the Uttar Pradesh capital.
Awardee Narinder Nath Khanna is a well known physician. He has been director of the IMS-BHU. He has been given the award for his exceptional service to medical science. He is 86 years old but continues to regularly attends to patients.
Retired professor Harish Chandra Verma gets the Padma Shri for his contribution to science and engineering. He is currently associated as an adjunct faculty at the IIT- Kanpur. Verma was instrumental in setting up Shiksha Sopan, an NGO that helps children from underprivileged backgrounds get education.
Padmavathy Bandopadhyay, who has been conferred the Padma Shri for excellence in the field of medicine, can be described as one of the unsung heroes of medicine.
She has set an example for women across the world by becoming the first woman in the history of the Indian Air Force to be promoted to the rank of Air Marshal. A graduate of Armed Force Medical College in Pune, she had the distinction of being the first woman officer to become an aviation medicine specialist. She is also the first woman Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Society of India and was also the first Indian woman to have conducted scientific research at the North Pole.
An unusual name in the list is that of a bicycle mechanic Mohammed Sharif of Faizabad, who has performed last rites for over 25,000 unclaimed bodies that belonged to diffrent denominations – Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh. He has been awarded for social work.
Around 27 years ago, Sharif’s son was found dead and the police disposed of the body as ‘unclaimed’. Since then, Sharif has been ensuring proper cremation or burial for the ‘unclaimed’ dead.
Retired IAS officer Daya Prakash Sinha also figures in the list of Padma Shri winners. He is also an eminent Hindi writer, playwright, director, historian, while his theatrical works have been continuously published, broadcast and staged for almost 50 years. Sinha, who has traveled to many countries as a cultural representative of India, has also received many other awards and honors.