Mangalore: Seven Differently-abled Get Daijiworld Weekly Swabhiman Awards
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Mangalore, Jun 1: Daijiworld Weekly, the only English weekly published from coastal Karnataka, has successfully completed its second year of publication. Within a short span of time the weekly has gained ground and popularity among all sections of readers in India and abroad. It is now in circulation in different districts of Karnataka and other states of India, besides Middle East, UK, USA, Canada, Australia and other parts of the world, wherever Indians have their presence.
The objective of launching an English weekly from coastal Karnataka was not limited to launching a media platform or another business proposition but to represent our region as it has been continuously ignored by the mainstream national media. Secondly, it was our objective to reach out to the needs and aspirations of our people irrespective of caste, community or language.
This objective provoked Daijiworld Weekly to launch ‘Swabhiman Awards’ to mark its second anniversary in order to identify and honour achievers who have overcome disabilities and set examples for others to emulate, in spite of their physical disability. Four persons will be conferred Swabhiman Awards and three with Swabhiman Appreciation Awards. Each Swabhiman Awardee will receive a purse of Rs 25,000, a citation and a memento. A cash prize of Rs 10,000 will be presented to each Appreciation Award winner, along with a memento and a citation.
The following people have been selected by the jury for the Swabhiman Award:
Mohammed Iqbal, a polio affected, awarded for his quest for academic achievement and entrepreneurial initiative.
Sudharatna K S, wheelchair-bound, for her positive outlook and her display of artistic talent.
Wilfred Valerian Gomes, for his initiative in organizing the disabled through an organization and his role in taking up the cases of injustice against the disabled.
Fr Ivan Madtha, who lost a leg and an arm to a rail mishap, but never lost the love for life and stayed onto his talent of communicating socially relevant messages through magic shows.
Daijiworld Weekly Swabhiman Appreciation Awards:
Boniface Prabhu, a wheelchair-bound tennis player,for making it big in the international arena of wheelchair tennis and winning numerous laurels.
Zena Colaco, hearing and speech impaired, for her academic achievement and for displaying her talent in art.
Aruna Kumari Manipal, visually impaired, for her versatile music talent and her achievement in mastering the Veena and reaching up to Vidwan status which makes her the only visually impaired to have been honoured so in India.
A full-fledged jury consisting of eminent personalities was formed to go through the nominations received by the weekly. They included Kannada writer Dr Sara Aboobacker, Vishwa Konkani Sardar Basti Vaman Shenoy, social worker Dr Lavina Noronha and journalist Dr Ronald Anil Fernandes. Well-known writer William Pais was the chief co-ordinator.
The awards shall be presented during Daijiworld Weekly second anniversary celebrations on June 12 at Shanti Kiran, Bajjodi in Mangalore at 4 pm. Padma Bhushan Prof B M Hegde will be chief guest and two of the awardees will present their skills on the occasion.
Hemacharya, editor-in-chief, Daijiworld Weekly, Melvyn Rodrigues, director, operations, Daijiworld, Dr Ronald Anil Fernandes, member, selection committee, William Pais, chief co-ordinator, selection committee, Basti Vaman Shenoy, member, selection committee, Titus Noronha and Leslie Rego, members, anniversary committee, were present at the press meet held on Wednesday June 1 to announce the awards.
About the Awardees:
Mohammed Iqbal was born on June 1, 1962. He suffers from post polio residual paralysis, which has left both his legs permanently disabled.
Coming from a humble and difficult background, Iqbal struggled through his early years. Despite his disability, he was determined to make his own way in life. He secured distinction in the drawing grade exam of the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board. Throughout his childhood, singing and drawing were his passions and he won many prizes in various competitions.
He secured first class in the SSLC examination and went on to earn Bachelor of Science degree from the Mangalore University, having specialized in Chemistry, Botany and Zoology. He also has a Diploma in Pharmacy and owns and runs Shirva Medical and General Store.
Iqbal is a simple man striving to lead a normal life. He goes through the daily grind just like the rest of us, but he has to fight harder. He has demonstrated how one can achieve insurmountable goals through courage and will power.
Sudharathna K S
Sudharathna K S has mesmerized the world by weaving magic with colours. Born on August 7, 1973 to Shankarnarayana Bhat and Shankari K S, Sudharathna suffers from Cerebral Palsy involving all four limbs, which means that she has very limited mobility in her hands and legs.
She has an elder brother and a younger sister. At the age of ten, she joined the Mangala Jyothi Integrated School in Vamanjoor. She maintained an excellent academic record, securing First Class in the SSLC Examination, with the help of a transcriber. She has also completed a certificate course in computing and a drawing grade exam. She has taken various Central government-sponsored training courses in art.
It was Mohini Appaji Nayak, the Correspondent of her school who first encouraged her to pursue her passion. Her drawing teacher M S Shalini has been coaching her for a long time now.
Sudharathna only needs help picking up the brush, and from there on she works on her own. Using her chin to move the brush along the canvas, which she places on her lap, she works wonders. Her favourite subject is landscape. She also paints greeting cards and fabric.
Sudharathna has taken part in various art competitions across the state and won 'Greeting Card’ competitions by the Prasad School of Art, Lions Club ‘Peace Poster’ competition, among others. She also won the fifth place in ‘Ancha Kuncha’, a State Level completion organized by Shobhavana Trust.
Sudharathna has also won ‘Outstanding Young Indian Award’ constituted by the Manipal Hill City Jaycees.
Sudharathna even sells her artwork now and her paintings adorn the walls of many a house. This has given her a sense of independence as she can earn her own livelihood.
Sudharathna has been praised by many celebrities and prominent individuals for her work, including Former Miss World Aishwarya Rai.
Wilfred Valerian Gomes
Wilfred Valerian Gomes is a differently-abled man with a mission. Born on March 16, 1971 to Piad Gomes and Cosess Gomes, he became a victim of the much-dreaded Polio virus, at the age of two, suffering 80% disability.
Despite this, he did his schooling and higher studies at St Mary’s Pre University College in Udupi district. He went on to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Mangalore University in 1993.
Gomes has been described as an honest and hard working person with an indomitable independent spirit by those close to him. He has been successfully running a telephone booth cum travel agency at Shirva. In 1999, he married Rosaline Marina Gomes and the couple has been blessed with two children - Russell and Vanessa.
Founder-president of the Federation of Physically Handicapped Association in Udupi, he helped form the Karnataka State Disabled Council, of which he is currently the vice-president. In these capacities he has helped hundreds of disabled people across the state obtain benefits due to them and organized various awareness camps to sensitize the public and the differently-abled persons. He has also played a crucial role in bringing good medical treatment for the disabled persons.
Gomes is also an active member of the Lions and Rotary Clubs. His selfless service has benefitted not just disabled persons but society in general as well.
The efforts taken by Gomes have been recognized by various organizations and individuals. The Government of Karnataka presented him with the “Rajya Prashasti Award’ in 2009 for his sincere and dedicated service to society, especially disabled persons.
Fr Ivan Madtha
Fr Ivan Madtha, a master magician, changes lives through his illusions and magic tricks. A Catholic Priest in the Diocese of Mangalore, Fr. Madtha was born on October 13, 1963. His father, the Late Fredrick Madtha was a naval officer and his mother Alice Madtha is a retired teacher.
Fr Ivan joined St Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore in 1981 and was ordained priest in 1991. During his theological and philosophical studies he also studied science and the arts of illusion. He was not from a family of magicians, but he was had the support of his mother, his Bishop Rt Rev Aloysius Paul D’Souza, and many others. It was Fr Mathew Vas who inspired him to use his talent for Evangelization and Magician Alwyn Menezes who introduced him to the world of magic.
Fr Ivan performed his first magic show on January 11, 1996 in Town Hall. He is a dedicated man, performing an average of 100 shows a year. He hold the record of performing 34 shows in a month and 12 shows in 3 days.
His life took a turn for the worse on August 30, 2005, when he met with an accident at a railway station in Mumbai and lost his left arm above the elbow and two fingers of his right hand, besides sustaining other injuries. This was a huge setback to his life and career. He underwent more than 11 operations and found out he had 60% disability in his arms and 40% disability in his legs. But with the help of a prosthetic limb and sheer will power he brought his life and career back on track.
What makes Fr Madtha’s shows unique is that he strives to spread values through his work and change people’s lives. He organized a show for prison inmates in 2003, and performs regularly in educational institutions. Another of his noble ventures is street magic, which he believes is the best way to reach out to the common man. He has also developed audio visual aids to help him spread better values among the youth. The magician-priest is also a collector of stamps and coins of various countries.
Harry Boniface Prabhu
Harry Boniface Prabhu is a wheelchair tennis player of international fame. He is a quadriplegic by disability, which means he has no control or sensation in his lower limbs.
Prabhu has competed in all the major Grand Slam Wheelchair Tennis Championships including the Australian Open, British Open, French Open and US Open. He is the first Indian wheelchair tennis player to reach the semi-finals and finals of all these tournaments.
He is the only Indian to be listed among World Wheelchair tennis rankings, ranked 18 in the world and No 1 in Asia. He became the first Indian to win a medal at the 1998 World Championship, and in 1996 he won two gold medals and one silver medal at the World Wheelchair Games. In all, he has won 11 wheelchair tennis titles.
Born on May 14, 1972, Prabhu is an enthusiastic participant in other sporting activities as well. He has represented India 52 times in 6 different sporting events including shot put, badminton, javelin and discus throw and won medals in many of them.
He founded the ‘Boniface Prabhu Wheelchair Tennis Academy’ to encourage, train and find new talent among the physically and intellectually challenged community. He has been the brand ambassador for various companies and products and is India’s brand ambassador for wheelchair tennis.
Prabhu is often called to take part in TV shows and debates as well as invited to various educational institutions. He was the chief guest for the ATP ‘World Doubles Championship’ in Bangalore.
He is the recipient of various awards including the Prathiba Bhushan, Rising Star of the Millennium, Ekalavya and most importantly the Rajyothsava Award which is the highest award in the state. He is also being considered for the Arjuna and Padma Shri which are the highest awards for any sports person in the country.
Zena Colaco is an artist par excellence, despite being speech and hearing impaired. Born on March 28, 1982, Zena is the daughter of Stan Colaco, a retired journalist and Brincy Colaco of Mangalore.
She did her schooling in St Agnes Special School and developed her skills in art at the same time. In 2003 she completed her senior secondary in National Open University. Overcoming all odds, she completed a Diploma in Fashion and Garment Designing at the Mangalore Institute of Fashion Technology. She further improved her art skills under the tutelage of Sunil Abraham at Kala Vision. She has also completed a Diploma Course in 3-D Animation from Toon Skool.
In 2010 she held her first solo exhibition ‘Sounds of Silence’ at Orchid Art Gallery in Mangalore. The paintings were her perception of the world of music and reflected her positive attitude. As many as 22 paintings were displayed out of which 16 were sold.
Colaco is also a good dancer. In school she choreographed a dance for her group members by drawing each step.
Manipal Aruna Kumari
Manipal Aruna Kumari, born in 1966, lost vision in both her eyes at the age of 7. In addition to this, her fingers became crooked and weak due to osteo-arthritis. Yet she has mastered the art of playing on the veena, one of the most complicated traditional music instruments.
She is the only daughter among the four children born to Shama Bhat and the Late Hemavathi Bhat.
Aruna’s foundation training in Carnatic classical music was under Vidwan Udupi Vasudeva Bhat, and later under Smt Lalita Ballal and Vidwan Sooralu Parameshwar Bhat. She began learning veena under K R Laxmi Iyengar and violin under Sri K Ragavendra Bhat. She passed all grade levels of music examinations with rank, honors and distinction. She has a Masters of Arts degree in sociology from the Karnataka State Open University. Besides playing the veena, she is an accomplished singer and violin player.
She is the recipient of many awards and scholarships including the Union Government cultural Scholarship and the Karnataka Sangeetha Nrithya Academy award. At the age of 15 she played the veena at the Thiruvallvar Music festival. She is the recipient of the Karnataka Rajyothsava district level award and the Indira Gandhi Mahila Shiromani award.
She has performed in over 250 solo violin concerts and release four CDs of her music.