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Renowned Bangladesh Artist, 4 French Citizens Among Winners of Padma Shri Awards

Foxconn Chairman Young Liu has also been conferred with India’s third-highest civilian award – the Padma Bhushan.

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On the eve of India's 75th Republic Day, the Indian government announced a list of 132 distinguished individuals as recipients of the Padma Awards for 2024.

Among others, the list of names announced on Thursday, 25 January, featured renowned Bangladesh Rabindra Sangeet singer Rezwana Choudhury Banya and four French citizens, including 100-year-old yoga practitioner Charlotte Chopin.

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Rezwana Choudhury Bannya (Art) – Bangladesh

The fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri has been conferred upon renowned Rabindra Sangeet singer Rezwana Choudhury Bannya. She is only Bangladeshi whose name was included in the list of Padma Awards announced by the Indian government on Thursday.

Rezwana was born on 13 January 1957, in Bangladesh's Rangpur district. She first studied at Chhayanaut and then at Visva Bharati University in India.

The renowned Rabindra Sangeet artist founded the music education institute Surer Dhara and has written several books on Rabindranath Tagore’s music

She was also awarded the prestigious ‘Bangabhushan’ by the West Bengal government and the Feroza Begum Memorial Gold Medal.

The Bangladesh government had honoured her with an Independence Award in 2016 for contributions to music and for her promotion of Rabindranath Tagore’s music.

In 2022, the Bangladesh government launched a website that preserved 5,000 songs by Rezwana, alongside a biography and photographs. This made her the first Rabindra Sangeet singer to receive the honour. 

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Charlotte Chopin (Yoga) – France

Age is just a number, which holds true for the 100-year-old yoga exponent from France – Charlotte Chopin. She started to learn yoga after turning 50 and has been reportedly teaching yoga since 1982.

In July 2023, Chopin met with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to France. In his radio broadcast 'Mann Ki Baat', PM Modi said that 'everyone should learn' from Chopin.

"Charlotte Chopin is a yoga Practitioner and yoga teacher, and she is more than 100 years old. She has crossed a century. She has been practising yoga for the last 40 years. She gives credit for her health and this age of 100 years only to yoga," Modi said.

This year, the Indian government awarded her the Padma Shri.

Pierre Sylvain Filliozat (Literature & Education) – France

Sanskrit scholar and the founder of the French Institute on Indian Culture at Pondicherry, Dr. Pierre Sylvain Filliozat was also conferred with Padma Shri.

Born in 1936 in France, Dr. Pierre Sylvain Filliozat studied classical languages in Paris as well as in Vyakarana and Saivagama in Pondicherry. He has a PhD in Alankara Sastra.

Filliozat teaches Sanskrit in Paris and has published many books and articles in French, English, and Sanskrit on the grammar of Panini, Sanskrit poetry, etc.

In 2013, he was awarded the ‘Maha-Mahopadhyaya’ by Lal Bahadur Shastri Sanskrit Vidyapeeth. In 2014, the president of India awarded him the ‘Certificate of Honour for Sanskrit’.

Since 2012, Filliozat has celebrated ‘Sanskrit Day’ in Paris.

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Kiran Vyas (Yoga) – France

Originally from Gujarat, Kiran Vyas founded the Tapovan Open University of Yoga and Ayurveda in 1982. Born in 1944 in pre-Independence India, he studied at Sri Aurobindo International Education Center in Pondicherry. Vyas worked at UNESCO in the 1970s in the educational sector.

He then moved to France to make Ayurveda known in Europe. Vyas has been at the forefront of teaching the art of living for well-being and personal development for 40 years.

Fred Negrit (Literature & Education) – France

French National Fred Negrit was conferred India's fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, for literature.

Ravi Prakash Singh (Science & Engineering) – Mexico

Head of Global Wheat Improvement at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico, Dr Ravi Prakash Singh has dedicated almost 40 years to increasing food production across the globe.

In 2021, Singh also received the highest honour conferred to NRIs by the Government of India – the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award.

Born into an agrarian family in Uttar Pradesh, Singh did his schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya in Varanasi.

“My father, who was from a rural background, was very ambitious for me. He was a soil scientist at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), and had gone to the United Kingdom to pursue a Ph.D. So, he knew the value of a good education. That motivated me to work a little harder in school. Even my teachers were quite encouraging, which gave me the courage to pick up science for my B.Sc, which I pursued from BHU," Singh said.

He earned his PhD from the University of Sydney at Australia in 1980. After completing his PhD, he moved to Mexico to join the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in 1983 for his post-doctoral studies.

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Sasindran Muthuvel (Public Affairs) – Papua New Guinea

Currently the governor of the West New Britain Provincein Papua New Guinea, Sasindran Muthuvel was born in 1974. He did his schooling in Tamil and earned his degree in horticulture from the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University.

In 1999, he moved to Papua New Guinea to explore business opportunities. In 2000, Muthuval started his career in retail and in 2007, he was given citizenship of Papua New Guinea. He later entered politics and was elected to Parliament in 2012.

Young Liu – Taiwan (Padma Bhushan)

Foxconn Chairman Young Liu has been conferred with India’s third-highest civilian award – the Padma Bhushan.

Liu founded three companies: Young Micro Systems in 1988, IC design company in 1995, and ITeX in 1997.

Liu completed his BS in Electrophysics in 1978 from Taiwan's National Chiao Tung University. Then, he completed his MS in computer engineering in 1986 from the University of Southern California.

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