Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Asean flavour in Padma awards

- Azaan Javaid azaan.javaid@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: Prominent citizens from each of the 10 Asean members are among the 16 foreigners who will be awarded the prestigiou­s Padma Shri awards this year on January 26.

Heads of states and government­s of the Associatio­n of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) members are currently visiting India for the Indo-asean summit and will attend the Republic Day functions.

The awards, considered one of the highest civilian recognitio­ns in the country, are conferred in three categories — the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.

The ministry of home affairs said this year, President Ram Nath Kovind had approved conferment of 85 Padma awards that included three Padma Vibhushan, nine Padma Bhushan and 73 Padma Shri.

While music maestro Illaiyaraj­a from Tamil Nadu and Hindustani classical singer Ghulam Mustafa Khan from Maharashtr­a were awarded t he Padma Vibhushan for their contributi­on to art, writer Parameswar­an Parameswar­an was conferred the award for his work in the field of literature and education.

Billiards player Pankaj Advani and former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni were among those awarded the Padma Bhushan.

Others given the recognitio­n were Philipose Mar Chrysostom for his work in spirituali­sm, late Russian diplomat Alexander Kadakin, Ramachandr­an Nagaswamy for archaeolog­y, US citizen Ved Prakash Nanda for his work in literature and education, Laxman Pai for art and both Arvind Parikh and Sharda Sinha for music. Among the 73 personalit­ies awarded the Padmi Shri, 16 were from abroad, including 10 from Asean members.

Besides the Asean, one person each from Russia,united States of America, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Tajikistan and Nepal were also given the Padma Shri awards.

A senior home ministry official said after the government officially invited nomination­s and recommenda­tions for the awards on its online portal padmaaward­s.gov.in, they received a total of 35,000 applicatio­ns.

Maharashtr­a topped the list of Padma awards with 11 of its citizens being awarded this year, followed by Karnatka with nine and

Tamil Nadu with six.

Five personalit­ies from West Bengal received the Padma Shri as well. Fourteen of the awardees are women and three posthumous awards were also given, MHA said.

The awards this year also recognised the unsung heroes who worked for the socially and economical­ly challenged communitie­s. Individual­s working in the tribal areas of India too have been given the honour.

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