Bangaru Adigalar, the founder of the spiritual Adhiparasakthi Movement in Melmaruvathur, ace table tennis player Sharath Kamal and accomplished transgender danseuse Narthaki Natraj are among the seven personalities from Tamil Nadu to be awarded the Padma Shri, one of the country’s highest civilian awards.
Elderly social worker Chinna Pillai of Madurai, who shot to limelight when then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee fell at her feet at an awards ceremony and well known percussionist Anandan Sivamani, better known by his stage name ‘Drums’ Sivamani, have also been conferred the prestigious award.
Two eminent doctors — plastic surgeon Ramaswami Venkataswami, who founded the Institute for the Research and Rehabilitation of Hand and the Department of Plastic Surgery at Stanley Medical College, Chennai; and Coimbatore-based ophthalmologist R V Ramani — are the other recipients of the award this year.
Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Sivamani, exclaimed: “ Ella Pugazhum Iraivanuke ( all the credit goes to God). He was about to start a show in Ahmedabad when he was informed äbout the award. “My son called me and I am very happy. I dedicate this award to my mother Lakshmi Anandan and the country.”
Similar was the response from Ms. Nataraj. She was in Thiruvanthapuram when she heard the news. “I completed my performance and they made the announcement on the stage. I was overwhelmed,”she said.
D. Ravi, PRO, Adiparasakthi Siddhar Peetam, said that the devotees were happy when they heard about the award being conferred upon Bangaru Adigalar.