Five from T.N., one from Puducherry get Padma Bushan awards

Five persons from Tamil Nadu and one from Puducherry have been chosen for the Padma Awards this year for their contribution in the their respective fields, including medicine, art and social work.

Renowned singer Vani Jairam has been chosen for the Padma Bhushan award. “I feel truly honoured and very grateful to the government for having thought of me for this honour. For the last 52 years, my fans have been listening to my songs and encouraging me and I thank them for this continued support,” she said. She has rendered songs spanning several languages across film industries, and has performed extensively in the country and across the world.

A bharatanatyam guru for over seven decades, legendary nattuvanar K. Kalyanasundaram Pillai has been selected for the Padma Shri award. “I humbly accept this honour and see it as an honour bestowed upon my family and a legacy spanning hundreds of years in this art,” he said.

He dedicated his award to guru Thanjavur P. Kuppiah Pillai, guru A.T. Govindraj Pillai, and guru T. K . Mahalingam Pillai. They all propagate the Thanjavur tradition of Bharatanatyam.

Vadivel Gopal and Masi Sadaiyan, expert snake catchers from the Irula community who have been honoured with the Padma Shri award, said: “Snake catching is something we learnt from our parents and has been passed on for generations. We take immense pride in this and this award honours this knowledge we have,” said Mr. Masi.

Through his career spanning three decades as a librarian in Thoothukudi, ‘Palam’ Kalyana Sundaram gave away all his earnings to charity and later went on to form the social welfare organisation ‘Palam’. Reacting to him being chosen for the Padma Shri award, Mr. Sundaram said that this would only motivate him to continue his service for the betterment of the people.

Recognised with the Padma Shri for his contribution in the field of medicine, Gopalsamy Veluchamy said: “I feel that this honour has been given for the Siddha System of medicine.” He is the former director of the Central Research Institute for Siddha and the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha.

Dr. Nalini Parthasarathy, former Head of Department of Paediatrics, JIPMER and head of Hemophilia Society, Puducherry chapter, has been awarded Padma Shri for her work spanning over three decades among haemophilia patients in Puducherry and the neighbouring districts of Tamil Nadu.

“I have around 300 patients under my regular watch and assistance. The youngest is around six months old and the oldest is 72 years. One vial of anti-hemophilia factor (AHF) given during bleeding will cost the patient around ₹10,000. We provide them free,” she said.

Thanking her friends, well-wishers and voluntary organisations for extending support, Dr. Nalini said she had been spending about ₹1 lakh every year from her personal earnings to provide free treatment.

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