Swami Sivananda, CDS Rawat to Ghulam Nabi Azad: President Confers Padma Awards

Founder of Serum Institute of India Cyrus Poonawalla was awarded with Padma Bhushan.

2 min read

The oldest man to be conferred the Padma Shri award ever, 125-year-old Yoga guru Swami Sivananda, knelt before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind before receiving India's fourth-highest civilian award, on Monday, 21 March.

Amidst loud cheers, the yogi walked bare feet inside the Rashtrapati Bhavan to accept the award from President Kovind. The yogi has been serving leprosy-affected people at Puri for the past 50 years.

Kovind shared pictures with all awardees on Twitter.

Avani Lakhera, first Indian woman to win Paralympics gold in Air Rifle; Vandana Kataria Indian hockey player; Fasil Ali Dar, National Kickboxing Coach of India; Prof Najma Akhtar, first woman vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University, and eminent neurologist Dr Bhimsen Singhal, were among those honoured with the Padma Shri awards.

India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, who died in a chopper crash last December, was conferred Padma Vibhushan, the country's second-highest civilian award, by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday, 21 March.


Late Radheshyam Khemka, former chairman of Gita Press that publishes Hindu religious books, was also given the Padma Vibhushan. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was also among 54 personalities receiving the Padma awards.

Azad, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekharan, former CAG Rajiv Mehrishi, founder of Serum Institute of India Cyrus Poonawalla were among the eight honoured with Padma Bhushan, the country's third-highest civilian award.

Hockey star Vandana Katariya and para-shooter and Paralympics gold medallist Avani Lekhara were awarded the Padma Shri.

Meanwhile, no names were announced for Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, which was last awarded in 2019 to former President Pranab Mukherjee, social reformer Nanaji Deshmukh, and singer Bhupen Hazarika.

The award for General Rawat was received by his daughters while a close family member received the award for Khemka.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were also present on the occasion.

While Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, Padma Bhushan is awarded for distinguished service of high order, and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field.

The awards are announced on the eve of Republic Day every year and are conferred by the president at ceremonial functions which are held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Former West Bengal chief minister and CPI-M leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was among the Padma Bhushan awardees, had refused to accept the award.

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