This year’s Padma Shri winners include Swami Sivananda, a 125-year-old yoga practitioner from Kashi; Shakuntala Choudhary, a 102-year-old who founded Gram Seva Kendras across north-east India and works for villagers through the Stree Shakti Jagaran movement; Sankaranarayana Menon Chundayil, a 93-year-old Kalaripayattu exponent; 91-year-old Ram Sahay Panday, a veteran Rai folk artist from Bundelkhand; Prabhaben Shah, a 91-year-old woman who organised the Cloth Bank for Kutch flood victims; Sunkara Venkata Adinarayana Rao, an 82-year-old orthopaedic surgeon who is fighting against polio; and Moti Lal Madan, an 82-year-old veterinarian and biotechnologist who helped perform the world’s first successful in vitro fertilisation (IVF) of a buffalo. These are just a few names.
These Padma Shris have carved a niche for themselves over time and despite their age, they still continue to practise their skills and pursue their causes. They have achieved their status through hard work and discipline. One of the biggest lessons these Padma Shris can teach us is to always be sincere and zealous about what we do.