PADMA AWARDS 2021: Recognizing the Unsung Heroes

PADMA AWARDS 2021: Recognizing the Unsung Heroes


The word 'Padma' means a 'lotus' in the Sanskrit language, and  'Shri’ means Mr or Ms.  On 2 January 1954, a press release was published from the office of the secretary to the President of India announcing the creation of two civilian awards which were set in motion by the Government of India and are widely known as the Bharat Ratna award (the highest honorary Civilian Award) and the Padma awards (second highest honorary award).On the year 1954, Dr. Rajendra Prasad issued a public notice to announce the creation of the awards mentioned above; after that, the Padma awards were classified under three positions which were named as the Pehla Varg, Dusra Varg, and Tisra Varg, but later on the year 1955 the names were changed along with the several statutes that were established in 1954. One such statute stated that no Padma awards could be awarded posthumously (after the death), but in 1955, the statute was amended to the allowance of awarding the awards posthumously. The Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, preceded by the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan, and the Padma Shri.


Later on, in  1980, another public notification was issued to announce that the Padma Awards were re-named. The new names of the Padma Awards were Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri. Padma Vibhushan is handed out to the people who portray extraordinary and distinctive services. Padma Bhushan is awarded to those  who have given exceptional services in a higher order. The Padma Shri award is for the people who have given their exceptional services in their particular field of expertise. These awards were handed out to deserving recipients regardless of their gender, caste, race, occupation, post, or position. The award is meant not only for civilians but also for government servants. The criteria include "service in any field including service rendered by Government servants" but exclude those working with the public sector undertakings, except for doctors and scientists.


The Padma award recipients are announced every year on 26 January, The Republic Day of India. The Padma Awards Committee nominations are given by the Padma Awards Committee, constituted by the Prime Minister of India and headed by the Cabinet Secretary. The committee includes the Home Secretary, the secretary of the President, and a few other prominent people. The recommendations are received from all the state and the union territory governments and Ministries of India, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees, the Institutes of Excellence, Ministers Chief Ministers, and governors States, Members of Parliament. However, After 2015 the government declared that any Indian citizen could recommend the nominations for the Padma awards, which is an online process. By making the nomination process online, the government also allowed self-nomination for the awards. This amendment was made for more indulgence of the community towards contributing to the growth of our country. The award consists of a certificate, also known as a Sanad, which is issued under the seal of the President and a medallion along with the Sanad. A replica of the medallion is handed to the recipients as they can use the replica during state functions or ceremonies.

PADMA SHRI AWARDS  2020, 2021  

Padma awards were set on the ground in 1954 and handed out every year to various recipients except for 1978, 1979,1993,1997and 2020. In the '90s, the ceremony didn't happen because the Janata Government wanted to respect Article 18 of the Indian Constitution about the titles and awards. In 2020, the ceremony to honor the Padma awardees could not be held and was delayed in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But this year, 2021, a total of 119 recipients were honored with the Padma Awards 2021. The awards are conferred to some of the highest civilian honors in India, While the Government of India on Sunday announced that the Padma awards would be distributed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in four different ceremonies conducted on 8 November and 9 November.  President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday conferred the Padma awards to shuttler PV Sindhu, footballer Oinam Bembem Devi, singer Pandit Channulal Mishra, and journalist Lalbiakthanga Pachuau, among others.


“The award is given for ‘special services’ and not merely for long service. It should not be merely excellence in a particular field, but the criteria has to be ‘excellence plus’," states the Padma awards selection criteria. 

Padma Awards recognizes exceptional and distinctive work achievements and services such as social work, including charitable services and society’s betterment services.  Public affairs, which include law, politics, public policies. Art includes painting, sketching, dancing, photography, singing, music, cinematography, and Science that inculcates engineering, space engineering, research, development, and Trade and industries, including economics, banking, tourism, and business, and management, etc. The award also recognizes Sports and civil services and inculcates achievers to indulge more for the betterment and growth of the country. A total of 119 Padma Awards are to be presented by President Ram Nath Kovind this year. The list comprises 7 Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan, and 102 Padma Shri Awards. 29 of the awardees are women, 16 Posthumous awardees and 1 transgender awardee. The list of professional awardees is below.



The ceremony to honor Padma awardees took place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The prominent personalities who received the award were the Former Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, and George Fernandes. They posthumously conferred the country's second-highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan, for their distinguished service in a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday.

“An outstanding parliamentarian and a distinguished lawyer, he made significant contributions in judicial reforms, electoral reforms and progressive social and economic legislations,” Kovind said about Jaitley.

In the field of Sports, Olympic medallist MC Mary Kom, former Mauritius president Anerood Jugnauth, spiritual leader Shri Shri Vishwesha Thleertha Swamiji of Udupi were also honored with the Padma Vibhushan by President Ram Nath Kovind.

In the field of  Education, Vidushi K.S. Jayalakshmi, a joint editor, got Padma Award in Literature and Education (Journalism) for her work in one of the oldest Sanskrit dailies, Sudharma, published in Mysuru, Karnataka.

To gratify some of the extraordinary works by the doctors in this global pandemic, Dr. Belle Monappa Hegde from Karnataka, an 82-year-old leading cardiologist, and educator, is awarded the Padma Vibhushan Award for his contributions to the field of medicine this year.

Celebrities like Karan Johar, Kangana Ranaut, Adnan Sami, and Ekta Kapoor have also recieved the award.


Among these awardees, some good Samaritans needed a special mention.


A 72-year-old tribal woman, Tulsi Gowda, hailing from Karnataka, was conferred the Padma Shri award yesterday for her contribution to protecting the environment; also famous as the 'Encyclopaedia of Forest,' Tulasi came for the award ceremony held in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, barefoot, dressed in her traditional attire. The inspiring environmentalist lacked the necessities of life. Getting educated was a far-fetched dream. But she didn't let poverty be her roadblock.

Next is Harekala Hajabba, a fruit seller from Mangalore, Karnataka,  bestowed with the Padma Shri for his exemplary social work in education.

He is 68 years old wasn't privileged enough to have formal education. However, he made sure that no one else in his vicinity remained uneducated. Therefore, with  Rs 150 per day, he built a school in the year 2000. Hajabba said building a school came to his mind in 1978 when a foreigner asked him the cost of orange. "I only know Kannada, not English or Hindi. As I could not communicate with the foreigner, I felt bad and decided to build a school in the village," the Padma Shree awardee stated, and now Hajabba wants to invest the prize money that he has received after winning various awards in these many years in the construction of more schools in his village.

On Monday, congratulating the Padma awardees, Union home minister Amit Shah said that it is truly an outstanding effort by the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make Padma Awards the awards of the ordinary person. The Padma awards come with no cash prize and what the recipients get is a certificate signed by the President and a medallion. The winners are also given a miniature replica of the medallion, "which they can wear during any ceremonial/state functions" if they so desire. The names of the awardees are published in the Gazette of India on the day of the presentation ceremony.