NEW DELHI: The President Ram Nath Kovind, on Monday has conferred the prestigious civilian awards in capital to the 2022 recipients. The Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri are the highest civilian awards – after the Bharat Ratna – recognising the contributions to various fields like social work, science, medicine, literature, sports, and art.
The Padma Awards was first introduced in 1954, the type of awardee has slowly been changing. Counting former president APJ Abdul Kalam and Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen among its winners, the awards have begun recognising a wider range of people.
“From nominating deserving people to getting a chance to attend the awards ceremony, the government has changed the way people interact with the awards itself. They are now being referred to as “Peoples’ Padma” because they’re beginning to represent the best of what India’s 1.4 billion population has to offer — and not just the elite”.
The list of winners has made headlines all week, signalling that it’s no longer an award reserved for the elite. The inspiring stories of the winner to the spiritual saint Shivanand Baba of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Shivanand Baba, who is said to be at the age of 126, worships God by staying in solitude away from the glitter of the world. They have a good knowledge of yoga. According to the report, Shivanand baba, a resident of the Kabirnagar area of PM Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi, is said to have been born on August 8, 1896.
Seen in this way, he is the oldest person in the world. However, in the Guinness Book of World Records, Japan’s Chitetsu Watanabe holds the record for the longest survival in the world. The great thing about Shivanand Baba is that he is still completely healthy. Shivanand Baba’s daily routine is being described as the secret of his staying healthy.
Those close to Shivanand Baba say that he does not even consume fruit or milk. “Shivanand Baba only eats boiled food, which has a very low salt content. Along with this, Baba gets up at Brahma muhurat at 3 o’clock every day and does yoga for an hour. After this, after praying, he starts his day. Baba recites the Mother Chandi Stotra and the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. He says about his food that he is completely healthy because of pure and vegetarian food”.
Shivanand Baba has expressed happiness over being conferred the Padma Shri award by the Government of India at the age of 126. He expressed his gratitude to the Government of India. His physician, Dr SK Agarwal, says that Baba eats a lot of sattvic food and lives life by the following discipline. He only uses salt in his food. Yoga is the most important thing in his life. Let us know that even though Baba Shivanand stays away from the glare of the world, but earlier he had come into discussions due to film actress Shilpa Shetty. Actually, Shilpa Shetty, impressed by Baba’s yoga practice, shared his video, after which he came into the limelight.
“A major reason is that the awards themselves have become more democratic. While it had already begun honouring more Indians who weren’t popularly known, the Narendra Modi government launched a website in 2017 where people could nominate candidates”.
The selection process was also changed, and the Padma Awards Committee was expanded. That year, winners included “granny with a sword” then Meenakshi Amma who had been practising and teaching Kalaripayattu for about 70 years, and folk singer Sukri Bommagowda, the “nightingale of Halakki,” for preserving cultural heritage and social activism.
The number of nominations for the Padma Awards has also increased manifold. The government received 46,000 nominations for the 2020 awards — in 2014, there were only 2,200 nominations. The government also launched the Padma Quiz in 2018, an online quiz that allows winners to attend the Padma Award ceremony in person at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Encouraging people to participate in the award process has made it more accessible, and rightfully more audacious. Those who would never have considered themselves winning some of the country’s highest civilian awards now can.