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Dorji, Sonal Mansingh, Parasaran among Padma awardees

By Our Special Correspondent

Aamir Khan (Padma Shri)


For the second year in a row, no Bharat Ratna was announced today as the Government came out with a list of 92 Padma awardees on the eve of Republic Day with four Padma Vibhushans, 34 Padma Bhushans and 54 Padma Shris.

The highest of the three Padma awards — Padma Vibhushan — has this time round been conferred on the historian and biographer of both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, B.R. Nanda; the Delhi-based ayurveda practitioner, Bhrihaspati Dev Triguna; the Odissi danseuse, Sonal Mansingh; and the former Sikkim Chief Minister, Kazi Lhendup Dorji, for public affairs.

S. Venkataraghavan (Padma Shri)

Covering a wide spectrum of activities ranging from art to science and engineering, the prominent names among the Padma Bhushans include the Editor of India Today and host of a talk show on Aaj Tak, Prabhu Chawla; the ghazal singer, Jagjit Singh; and actor Naseeruddin Shah. Another journalist to make it to the Padma Bhushan list this year is T.V.R. Shenoy.

Parasaran (Padma Bhushan)

Besides, the right-wing Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh supremo, Dattopant Bapurao Thengadi, has been given the Padma Bhushan for social work; the industrialist, N. Jamshyd Godrej, for trade and economic activity; the Kuchipudi dancer, Swapnasundari, for Indian classical dance; O.V. Vijayan and Sitakant Mahapatra for literature; and Teejan Bhai for folk music.

Bollywood has a considerable presence in the list of Padma Shri awardees with actor-producer Aamir Khan, Danny Denzongpa and Rakhee Gulzar promising to provide the glamour element to this year civil investiture ceremony.

Sonal Mansingh (Padma Vibhushan)

Also among the awards are the Assamese director, Jahnu Barua; the 1998 Asian Games gold medal-winning athlete, Jyotirmoy Sikdar; and the eminent endocrinologist, N. Kochupillai.

Padma Subramaniam (Padma Bhushan)

Three foreigners have made it to the awards this time round with Herbert Alexandrovich Yefromov of Russia and Herbert Fischer of Germany getting the Padma Bhushan for science & engineering and public affairs respectively, and Francis Dore of France getting the Padma Shri for public affairs.

The world of letters and art has cornered half of the 92 awards that have been announced. While the legal profession has got only a couple of awards with Parasaran Kesava Iyengaar getting Padma Bhushan, and the former director of the National Law School, Bangalore, N.R. Madhava Menon Padma Shri, sports has a fair presence among the awards as do medicine and science & engineering.

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