Maha basks with max Padma Bhushans, plus 6 Padma Shris on R-Day 2024

Mumbai, Jan 26 (IANS): Maharashtra was thrilled to bag the highest number of six Padma Bhushans, the country’s third highest civilian honour, plus another six Padma Shris, the country’s fourth highest civilian decoration, in the Republic Day 2024 honours announced by President Droupadi Murmu.

The President announced a total of 132 awards, including two duo winners, comprising five Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 110 Padma Shri.

The Padma Bhushan laureates from the state are: Gujarati journalist Hormusji N. Cama (Journalism, Literature), Dr. Ashwin B. Mehta (Medicine), ex-Governor and former Union Minister Ram Naik (Public Affairs), Dattatray A. Mayaloo (Art), veteran music director Pyarelal Sharma (Art) of the duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal, and Gujarati journalist Kundan Vyas (Journalism, Literature).

The Padma Shri honors have gone to: Uday V. Deshpand (Sports), Dr. Manohar K. Dole (Medicine), Zahir I. Kazi (Literature, Education), Dr. Chandrashekhar M. Meshram (Medicine), Kalpana Morparia (Trade, Industry) and Shankar Baba Pundlikrao Papalkar (Social Work).

Here are snippet-profiles of some of these glowing jewels, all eminent personalities from different walks of life who made the state proud with their known, little known or unknown achievements.

The Padma Bhushan winners:

Hormusji N. Cama is the Director of Asia’s oldest running, 202-year-old ‘Mumbai Samachar’ group of newspapers. During the Indian Independence movement, top leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and more used to come and discuss national affairs in its iconic red-stone building in Fort. In June 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in its bicentennial and released a commemorative postage stamp.

Cardiologist Dr. Ashwin B. Mehta, is one of the early pioneers of interventional cardiology in India and currently with Jaslok Hospital. He is credited with performing the country’s first cardiac catheterization and angiography in infants, and in 1973 introduced the Bundle Electrography in India, plus has over 110,000 heart operations to his credit.

The soft-spoken politician Ram Naik, 90, who started life with RSS, Jan Sangh and then the Bharatiya Janata Party, is a household name in Mumbai who served as a Union Minister and then as Governor of Uttar Pradesh, with several major credits in his six-decades plus in public life.

Veteran music director Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma, 84, of the duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal, learnt violin 76 years ago from a Goan musician, Anthony Gonsalves (whom he later paid a tribute with the son 'My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves' in the blockbuster ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’). He teamed up with Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar in the early 1960s, and the duo composed some of the top Bollywood songs that are hummed even today.

Gujarati journalist Kundan Vyas, 83 is the Editor of the respected Janmabhoomi Group of newspapers, has written collections of his articles, interviews, and books including one tracing India’s 75-year-long journey from Jawaharlal Nehru to Narendra Modi.

The Padma Shri winners:

Uday Vishwanath Deshpande, 70, is a renowned coach of the traditional Indian sport, ‘Mallakhamb’, a gymnastics form that originated in the country, with skilful and dare-devil performances on wooden poles, canes or ropes, vertical-horizontal-hanging states, plus doing Yoga. He has trained thousands of people on this sport in India and over 50 countries in the world.

Dr. Manohar K. Dole, 96, is a physician who set up a practice over seven decades ago in a small village, Narayangaon (Pune), went around on his bicycle treating the needy, especially the aged with eye problems. He would arrange for their eye operations in Mumbai-Pune at his cost through hospitals or mobile clinics, and later, started the ‘Dr Manohar Dole Medical Foundation’ here which has performed over 170,000 free eye surgeries for the poor, absolutely free of cost, said his son Dr. Sanjeev M. Dole.

Dr. Zahir Ishaque Kazi of Mumbai is the President of the prestigious Anjuman-I-Islam and became the first Muslim doctor to pass out of the Goa Medical College. The Anjuman-I-Islam was founded in 1874 by the legendary Dr. Badruddin Tyabji, the third President of Indian National Congress, and now runs a large number of educational institutions catering to more than 110,000 lakh students.

Dr. Chandrashekhar M. Meshram is a renowned neurologist from Nagpur, practising for over three decades, and is a former President of Indian Academy of Neurology.

The Amravati-based father-figure Shankar Baba Pundlikrao Papalkar is the inspiration behind the ‘Late Ambadaspant Vaidya Matimand Mukbadir Bewaris Balgruh’ founded in 1990, for mentally challenged children abandoned soon after birth by their distraught parents. Papalkar looks after them, raises and educates them, trains and skills them, gets them jobs or settled in marital life, has also given his name (as the legal parent) to hundreds of these persons, who live here like a huge joint-family almost permanently.

The only woman from the state and well-known banker from Mumbai, Kalpana Morparia, 75, was with the ICICI Bank for three decades then, served as the CEO of the South & Southeast Asia branch of JPMorgan, served on various official committees and was ranked as one of the world’s 50 most powerful women in international business by the Fortune magazine.



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Title: Maha basks with max Padma Bhushans, plus 6 Padma Shris on R-Day 2024

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