Deepa Malik Honoured with Padma Shri Award on Republic Day 2017

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Ashoka, who has known Deepa for many years, said that now she is a Padma Shri recipient. Those who have followed my columns here and elsewhere would be familiar with my disdain for any system of state awards. Notwithstanding some very remarkable individuals who have won the awards in India, I have major problems with the opaqueness of the selection process associated with it apart from my belief that it is not a valid component of statecraft to confer honours. The United States does not entertain them and in the United Kingdom, presumably from where we borrowed the system, it has recently come under intense criticism. He added, “But I must confess to a sense of delight and special pride when I received a telephone call today apprising me of Deepa’s award. I do not believe there would be anyone who would question her credentials. If anyone deserved this award, it was her! I know it would mean an awful lot not just for her but also for her family.” Different Truths congratulates Deepa – and other Padma Awardees – on this occasion. Here’s a report.

I had penned a column in this very portal when Deepa Malik was about to embark on her journey to Rio de Janeiro to take part in the Paralympics1 . The Olympics immediately prior to this event that were held in the same metropolis had seen a large Indian contingent which had by and large not lived up to the expectations. It was at this stage Deepa and the other contestants who had been selected to represent the country to be patient and promised that they would come back with medals.

And they lived upto the promise. Indian came back with a rich haul of medals which was all the more remarkable as training facilities for the differently abled in India can at best be described as rudimentary. All credit to the bunch who were able to make good their promise through sheer hard work and determination.

Amongst the medal winners was Deepa! That made her the first Indian woman to win a silver medal in the Paralympics. And she did so at the age of 46.

I have already written about her remarkable journey in my previous column on her. But it is not widely known that Deepa had to fight a legal battle to get into the squad. Another potential candidate, much younger than her, had staked her claim very strongly and it was only after the court ruling that Deepa was able to become part of the team. Legal battles in India are protracted affairs and it is gain to her credit that she did not allow this distraction to compromise in any way her very rigorous schedule.

In this endeavour, she was ably supported by her husband Bikram, a retired Army colonel who devised a very strict training schedule. Her daughters Devika and Ambika also played a very crucial role. It was Devika who took it upon herself to fight the legal battle and Ambika supervised the very strict nutritional regime. It is, therefore, understandable when Deepa claims that it was a family endeavour rather than a solo endeavour on her part. We must also remember that Devika herself is a Paralympic participant having sustained a palsy in her left arm as a toddler. While she was not a part of the Indian squad for this Paralympics, she has won international accolades for her superlative feats in different international meets.

Doubtless, she derives her inspiration from her remarkable Mum! I would stand corrected but I think Deepa and Ambika are the only mother-daughter duo competing in para-sports together. Devika waited for her mother’s successful return delaying her departure to the Loughborough University to commence her doctoral work in sports psychology.

And now she is a Padma Shri recipient. Those who have followed my columns here and elsewhere would be familiar with my disdain for any system of state awards. Notwithstanding some very remarkable individuals who have won the awards in India, I have major problems with the opaqueness of the selection process associated with it apart from my belief that it is not a valid component of statecraft to confer honours. The United States does not entertain them and in the United Kingdom, presumably from where we borrowed the system, it has recently come under intense criticism.

But I must confess to a sense of delight and special pride when I received a telephone call today apprising me of Deepa’s award. I do not believe there would be anyone who would question her credentials. If anyone deserved this award, it was her! I know it would mean an awful lot not just for her but also for her family.

I would therefore warmly congratulate Deepa and extend my fondest blessings and fervently hope that this would spur her to even higher echelons. It is not Deepa but Padma Shri that has been elevated!

The Padma Award winners of 2017 are:

Padma Vibhushan

Awardee Field of Prominence
Sharad Pawar Public Affairs
Murli Manohar Joshi Public Affairs
P.A. Sangma (posthumous) Public Affairs
Sunder Lal Patwah (posthumous) Public Affairs
K.J.Yesudas Art – Music
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev Others – Spiritualism
Udipi Ramachandra Rao Science & Engineering

Padma Bhushan

Awardee Field of Prominence
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt Art – Music
Devi Prasad Dwivedi Literature & Education
Tehemton Udwadia Medicine
Ratna Sundar Maharaj Others-Spiritualism
Swami Niranjana Nanda Saraswati Others-Yoga
H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (Foreigner) Literature & Education
Cho Ramaswamy (Posthumous) Literature & Education –Journalism

Padma Shri

 Awardee Field of Prominence
Basanti Bisht Art-Music
Chemanchery Kunhiraman Nair Art-Dance
Aruna Mohanty Art-Dance
Bharathi Vishnuvardhan Art-Cinema
Sadhu Meher Art-Cinema
T K Murthy Art-Music
Laishram Birendrakumar Singh Art-Music
Krishna Ram Chaudhary Art-Music
Baoa Devi Art-Painting
Tilak Gitai Art-Painting
Aekka Yadagiri Rao Art-Sculpture
Jitendra Haripal Art-Music
Kailash Kher Art-Music
Parassala B Ponnammal Art-Music
Sukri Bommagowda Art-Music
Mukund Nayak Art-Music
Purushottam Upadhyay Art-Music
Anuradha Paudwal Art-Music
Wareppa Naba Nil Art-Theatre
Tripuraneni Hanuman Chowdary Civil Service
T.K. Viswanathan Civil Service
Kanwal Sibal Civil Service
Birkha Bahadur Limboo Muringla Literature & Education
Eli Ahmed Literature & Education
Narendra Kohli Literature & Education
G. Venkatasubbiah Literature & Education
Akkitham Achyuthan Namboothiri Literature & Education
Kashi Nath Pandita Literature & Education
Chamu Krishna Shastry Literature & Education
Harihar Kripalu Tripathi Literature & Education
Michel Danino Literature & Education
Punam Suri Literature & Education
VG Patel Literature & Education
V Koteswaramma Literature & Education
Balbir Dutt Literature & Education-Journalism
Bhawana Somaaya Literature & Education-Journalism
Vishnu Pandya Literature & Education-Journalism
Subroto Das Medicine
Bhakti Yadav Medicine
Mohammed Abdul Waheed Medicine
Madan Madhav Godbole Medicine
Devendra Dayabhai Patel Medicine
Harkishan Singh Medicine
Mukut Minz Medicine
Arun Kumar Sharma Others-Archaeology
Sanjeev Kapoor Others-Culinary
Meenakshi Amma Others-Martial Art
Genabhai Dargabhai Patel Others-Agriculture
Chandrakant Pithawa Science & Engineering
Ajoy Kumar Ray Science & Engineering
Chintakindi Mallesham Science & Engineering
Jitendra Nath Goswami Science & Engineering
Daripalli Ramaiah Social Work
Girish Bhardwaj Social Work
Karimul Hak Social Work
Bipin Ganatra Social Work
Nivedita Raghunath Bhide Social work
Appasaheb Dharmadhikari Social Work
Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal Social Work
Virat Kohli Sports-Cricket
Shekar Naik Sports-Cricket
Vikasa Gowda Sports-Discus Throw
Deepa Malik Sports-Athletics
Mariyappan Thangavelu Sports-Athletics
Dipa Karmakar Sports-Gymnastics
P. R. Shreejesh Sports-Hockey
Sakshi Malik Sports-Wrestling
Mohan Reddy Venkatrama Bodanapu Trade & Industry
Imrat Khan  (NRI/PIO) Art-Music
Anant Agarwal (NRI/PIO) Literature & Education
H.R. Shah (NRI/PIO) Literature & Education-Journalism
Suniti Solomon (Posthumous) Medicine
Asoke Kumar Bhattacharyya (Posthumous) Others-Archaeology
Dr. Mapuskar (Posthumous) Social Work
Anuradha Koirala (Foreigner) Social Work



©Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad

Photos from the internet.

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