Among those honoured with Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour of the country, this year is veteran Karnataka politician 90-year-old Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, who has held numerous positions in his six-decade political career, including that of External Affairs Minister and Karnataka Chief Minister.
He severed his nearly half-century association with Congress and joined the BJP in 2017. The award comes days after he announced his retirement from politics, and is seen as an attempt to woo the Vokkaliga community ahead of Assembly polls later this year.
Mr. Krishna is credited with building Brand Bengaluru besides laying a strong foundation for the development of IT and BT sectors in Karnataka.
Noted Kannada novelist S.L. Bhyrappa, 91, awarded Padma Bhushan, has 25 novels and an autobiography to his credit. Most of his novels are bestsellers and translated into multiple Indian languages apart from English. Awarded Saraswati Samman in 2010, Mr. Bhyrappa is one of the acclaimed novelists of Kannada. Known for his right-wing tilt that has also landed him in many controversies, he was awarded Padma Shri in 2016 and Padma Bhushan on Wednesday.
Sudha Murty, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, awarded Padma Bhushan for social work, is known for spearheading philanthropic activities through the foundation, mainly in the fields of education and rural development. Though she started her career as an engineer and is an alma mater of Indian Institute of Science, she later spearheaded philanthropic activities at the Infosys Foundation. She is also an author of several novels and in recent years has emerged as one of the best-selling Indian writers of children literature in English.
Five other prominent personalities have been awarded the Padma Shri this year from Karnataka. Bidri handicraft craftsman Shah Rashid Ahmed Khadri, 67, from Bidar, gained instant popularity when he worked on Karnataka tableau at the Republic Day parade in 2011. He has spent nearly five decades in the art that he learnt from his father. An acclaimed artist, he is a regular invitee to the Suraj Kund mela, Dilli Haat and other exhibitions in India.
Another prominent folk artist Munivenkatappa from Chickballapur district has also been awarded the Padma Shri. Born into poverty, Munivenkatappa not only took to playing Tamate, a hand-held drum, but has also trained many youngsters in the folk art form. He is known to have developed many new patterns in playing Tamate.
Another recipient of Padma Shri is archeological chemist S. Subbaraman. Hailing from Kollegal, Mr. Subbaraman had a long career with Archeological Survey of India. He has worked on various projects including the conservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan in 1977, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Ajanta paintings in Maharashtra, Brihadeshwara temple in Thanjavur, Lepakshi in Andhra Pradesh etc.
While Rani Machaiah, Ummathat folk dancer from Kodagu, has been awarded for her contribution to the arts, Khadar Valli Dudekula has been awarded for his contribution to Science and Engineering.