The Narendra Modi administration honoured Andhra Pradesh’s Gosaveedu Shaik Hassan, a Nadaswaram performer and independence warrior, posthumously.
For seven decades, Hassan played the wind instrument every day as Lord Rama’s ‘Suprabhatham.’ He served and dedicated his life to the legendary Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Temple in Bhadrachalam as an exponent of the classical instrument.
Seth Pal Singh of Uttar Pradesh has contributed to agriculture by changing the Singhara crop geometry and rotation method. He pioneered an innovative crop-growing system that included scaffolding, relay cropping, and intercropping, and he urged farmers to plant fruits and vegetables alongside traditional crops.
Himmatrao Bawaskar is a general physician from Mahad who is well-known for treating scorpion stings and snake bites.
Coming from a modest background, he began treating the impoverished in rural regions despite a lack of resources and discovered that utilizing Prazosin for therapy reduced death rates from 40% to less than 1%.
Gurmeet Bawa is a world-renowned Punjabi folk singer who was honoured posthumously. She was the first female Punjabi folk singer to perform on Doordarshan and popularized the genre and its instruments. She has performed in almost 25 different nations.
H R Keshavamurthy of Karnataka is a well-known Gamaka singer from Shivamogga who has incorporated over 100 traditional ragas into his unique style of Gamaka singing.
He spent six decades of his life maintaining and promoting ‘Kavya Vachana,’ a rare Kannada form of storytelling, and popularizing rich cultural Kannada epics such as ‘Kumaravyasas Bharatha’ and ‘Jaiminis Bharatha’ among the general public.
His initiatives have also given aspiring Gamaka artists a stage.
Faisal Ali Dar of Jammu and Kashmir is regarded as the “Karate Kid” of Kashmir. He founded a sports academy and trained 4,000 pupils as a martial arts teacher from Bandipore. He aspires to provide possibilities and ambitions to the young insensitive, militancy-affected areas.
The medals earned by his students in world kickboxing tournaments attest to his success.
Gamit Ramilaben Raysingbhai is a tribal social worker from Tapi in Gujarat. She came from a modest family and worked at the grass-root level, resulting in the transformation of nine villages into open defecation-free communities.
She built over 300 sanitary units, hosted open-defecation and sickle cell anaemia awareness programmes, and led “self-help organizations across education, healthcare, and sanitation in tribal areas.”
Girdhari Ram Gonjhu, a Nagpuri littérateur and educationist from Ranchi, was honoured posthumously in Jharkhand. For more than five decades, he fought for the advancement of Jharkhand’s regional language and culture, authoring over 25 novels and plays, most of which focused on preserving Nagpuria culture’s indigenous heritage and identity.
Narasingha Prasad Guru of Balangir, Odisha, is a Koshali novelist, songwriter, and lexicographer who has championed the Koshali language for decades.
He has published over ten novels in Koshali and composed over 500 poetic renditions that have been broadcast on AIR. He promoted Koshali and developed a dictionary in it as a teacher and writer in Odia and Koshali-Sambhalpuri.
Moti Lal Madan of Haryana, who generated the world’s first IVF buffalo calf, was also honoured. The 82-year-old Karnal-based prominent veterinarian and biotechnologist headed the team that performed the world’s first successful in-vitro fertilization of a buffalo, resulting in the birth of Pratham.
He was the director of the National Dairy Research Institute in Karnal and was a pioneer in reproductive endocrinology, embryo bioengineering, IVF, and cloning research.
R Muthukannammal of Tamil Nadu is a Sadir dancer from Viralimalai, a forerunner of Bharatanatyam. She has performed in over 1,000 dance and singing productions throughout the course of her 70-year career and continues to coach future performers. She is the last of her cohort’s surviving ‘Devadasi.’
Veteran sculptor G Chandrasekaran created a statue of her in his art school to commemorate her contribution to Sadir. She is described as the “seventh generation Sadir dancer and keeper of the early Bharatanatyam heritage.”
Prem Singh, a well-known social worker from Mohali, spent more than three decades of his life treating over 1,000 leprosy patients in Punjab. When faced with financial difficulties, he liquidated his possessions and took out loans to help his family’s welfare and rehabilitation.
Radheyshyam Khemka, of Uttar Pradesh, was a renowned publisher who brought ancient literary masterpieces such as the Gita, Mahabharata, and Ramayana to the public.
He was the president of Geeta Press, the world’s largest publisher of spiritual literature, and the founding editor of Kalyan magazine. He translated Puranas and popularized Indian history, culture, spirituality, and values.
Ram Sahay Panday of Madhya Pradesh, a veteran Rai folk performer from Bundelkhand for 60 years, popularized the dance by combining it with Mridangam sounds.
He formed the Ram Sahay Panday dance company to promote and preserve the art of the vanished Bediya tribe, and he has given over 100 performances in 18 countries. He is still promoting the art form at the age of 90.
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