Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, former External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, and tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain were conferred the Padma Vibhushan on the occasion of Republic Day 2023.
Other recipients of the country’s second-highest civillian award are eminent architect Balkrishna Doshi – who just passed away on Tuesday, doctor Dilip Mahalanabis, who pioneered the wide use of ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) that is estimated to have saved over 5 crore lives globally, and Indian American mathematician S.R. Srinivas Varadhan.
This year, 106 Padma Awards, including to 3 duos (where the award is counted as one), have been conferred. Apart from the 6 Padma Vibhushans, including three posthumous, there are 9 Padma Bhushan and 91 Padma Shri awardees. These include 19 women and two foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCIs. Four other Padma Bhushan/Padma Shri awardees are posthumous.
Among the Padma Bhushan winners are businessman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Kannada writer S.L. Bhyrappa, singers Vani Jairam and Suman Kalyanpur, philanthropist and author Sudha Murty.
The 91 Padma Shri awardees include billionaire stockbroker Rakesh Radheshyam Jhunjhunwala (posthumous), M.M. Keeravaani, composer of “RRR” song “Natu Natu”, which is in contention for the Best Original Song in this year’s Oscars, businessman and “Rasna” founder Areez Khambatta, Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon, Iruva tribal snake catchers Vadivel Gopal & Masi Sadaiyan who are global snake savers , Gandhian V.P. Appukuttan Poduval, called “Kannur ka Gandhi” and retired government doctor Ratan Chandra Kar, who treated the Andaman’s endangered Jarawas during the Measles epidemic of 1999 and brought them back from the verge of extinction, contributed to increase in population from 76 to 270.
Sportpersons were largely absent from this year’s awards with only S.R.D Prasad, K Shanathoiba Sharma, and Gurcharan Singh conferred the Padma Shri.
The awards recognise outstanding contributions are various disciplines/fields of activities – art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
Announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year, the awards are conferred by the President at ceremonial functions held at Rashtrapati Bhawan, usually around March/ April every year.