PADMA AWARDS

Who else won Padma awards apart from Rajinikanth and Anupam Kher

The list of recipients include a gypsy dancer and a paddy-field singer.

Every year on Republic Day, the government confers the highest civilian awards in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (for distinguished service of a high order), and Padma Shri (for distinguished service). This year, President Pranab Mukherjee conferred 10 Padma Vibhushans, 19 Padma Bhushans and 83 Padma Shris. Apart from celebrities such as Rajinikanth (Padma Vibhushan) and Anupam Kher, Ajay Devgn and Priyanka Chopra (all Padma Shris), the recipients include classical singers and dancers and a filmmaker from Andaman and Nicobar.

The Banaras gharana singer Girija Devi, who has been given a Padma Vibhushan, is also known as the “Queen of Thumri.” She has popularised the purabi ang thumri (eastern origin song) style of Varanasi.

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Renowned Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy has received the Padma Shri (1968), the Padma Bhushan (2001) and now the Padma Vibhushan for her contribution to the arts. This Films Division documentary from 1971 is an excellent primer on her work.

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Bhikhudan Gadhvi is a Gujarati artist who narrates folk tales in the performance style known as Dayro (gathering), in which raconteurs reflect on human nature through humour and satire. He has been awarded the Padma Shri.

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Bharatnatyam dancer Prathibha Prahlad has received the Padma Shri. This video clip from her stage production Vande Mataram showcases performance styles from across the country.

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Tulsidas Borkar plays the harmonium and has been awarded the Padma Shri.

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Indian classical singer Soma Ghosh, who is also the adopted daughter of the shehnai player Bismillah Khan, has been felicitated with the Padma Shri.

Gulabi Sapera is a Rajasthani gypsy dancer from the nomadic Kalbeliya community. She has been honoured with the Padma Shri. Sapera is known for her collaborative work with French composer Thierry Robin (aka Titi Robin), whose music is a confluence of Oriental and European sounds. In 2002, they released the music album Rakhi, in which he composed and she narrated folk tales and sang songs about her community. The track “Neem” includes her playing the pungi (wind instrument) and chanting. In 2011, Sapera also featured in the fifth season of the reality television show Bigg Boss.

Dadaria is a type of folk song from Chhattisgarh that people sang while working in paddy fields. Singer Mamta Chandrakar has been awarded the Padma Shri for her efforts in keeping the tradition alive.

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Padma Shri recipient Malini Awasthi sings in Awadhi, Bundelkhandi, Bhojpuri and Bollywood. Her Hindi movie career is thanks to music composer Pritam, for whom she sang the raunchy “Dil Mera Muft Ka” (Agent Vinod, 2012). She also sang the uproarious “Sundar Susheel” for Anu Malik in Dum Laga Ke Haisha,(2015), with a special emphasis on a mofussil English accent.

Theatre and film director Naresh Chander Lal from Andaman and Nicobar has been awarded a Padma Shri for his work. Beyond the Horizon, a 19-minute film made by the islander, can be viewed here.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.