India honours "unsung heroes," gives them Padma awards
The Padma awards are normally bestowed upon famous personalities. In a departure from usual practice, President Pranab Mukherjee will be awarding the Padma Shri to the nation's "unsung heroes" who have worked silently and selflessly in the remote parts of India. Around 20 individuals are being honoured for defying odds to contribute in their own way to society. Tap in to know who all.
76-yr-old Meenakshi Amma is a Kalaripayattu expert
76-year-old Meenakshi Amma, is one of India's oldest exponents of Kalaripayattu. She was introduced to the centuries-old martial arts form, which has its roots in China, by her father. She first took to the arena at age seven and has dedicated her life to Kalaripayattu. She now teaches over 150 students in Kozhikode's Vatakara.
Daripalli Ramaiah has planted over 1 crore trees
Daripalli Ramaiah, 68, is a commoner from Telangana who has planted over 1 crore trees. He is lovingly called Chetla Ramaiah, the tree man, by locals. He carries saplings in his bicycle and seeds in his pocket which he plants whenever he comes across a barren spot. He also paints slogans about the environment on walls of villages he visits.
Bipin Ganatra is a volunteer firefighter
60-year-old Bipin Ganatra is a volunteer firefighter from Kolkata who has acted selflessly to save hundreds of lives over four decades. At age 12, Ganatra lost his elder brother in a fire. Since then, he made it his life's mission to save others. Ganatra stays glued to news channels for fire reports and immediately rushes to the spot after calling fire officials.
Karimul Haq's bike ambulance has saved hundreds of lives
53-year-old Karimul Haq is a tea-garden worker who converted his bike into an ambulance. He offers free 24X7 ambulance services and is the only lifeline in the badly connected areas on West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district. He has helped save over 300 lives and is fondly called ambulance-dada. His journey began after he lost his mother 15 years ago as there was no ambulance available.
Balbir Singh Seechewal helped clean a 160km river tributary
Balbir Singh Seechewal, also known as Eco Baba, is an environmentalist who spearheaded a movement to clean Kali Bein river - 160 km long tributary of Beas in Punjab. The rivulet became a dried-up drain that was badly polluted with industrial waste. His cleanliness campaign restored the rivulet and surrounding natural springs. He also started an awareness campaign urging villagers on proper waste disposal.
Anuradha Koirala has saved 12,000 sex trafficking victims
67-year-old Anuradha Koirala is a Nepalese citizen who has rescued and rehabilitated around 12,000 victims of sex trafficking. She has also prevented over 45,000 people from being trafficked. She runs Maiti, which means "Mother's Home", an organization that has facilities around Nepal and India. Maiti also takes in rape survivors and domestic violence victims, providing them with legal counselling and more.
Shekhar Naik won India's blind cricket team 2 world cups
30-year-old Shekhar Naik is the captain of India's blind cricket team. He led the Indian team to victory in the first T20 World Cup for the Blind in 2012 and the ODI World Cup in 2014. Nair, who lost his parents at age 12, has scored 32 centuries during his 12-year career.