The Government of India conferred the recent Padma awards on November 8, 2021. People across all spectra were awarded one of the four highest civilian awards in the country.
While Padma Shri was considered a thing for the elite in the past, now with this year’s awardees has been a breath of fresh air where those deserved have been felicitated and honoured.
Apart from big names like ace filmmaker and producer Karan Johar, the honour was conferred to barefoot environmentalist Tulasi Gowda from Karnataka, a transgender folk artist Manjamma Jogati and many others.
How Are Awardees Chosen?
The candidates for the Padma awards are generally nominated by the general public and anyone who wishes to nominate themselves for the award. Moreover, the Padma Awards Committee can also recommend awards every year, which is later deputed by the sitting Prime Minister.
Earlier, Padma awards did not have three different names but were just known as Padma Vibhushan, and its three subsets as Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg, and Teesra Varg. However, these names were changed in 1955 following the Presidential Notification issue. Now they are known as Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan.
All the awards are given for exceptional service to the country, irrespective of the field they come from. It is not necessary that the nominee has had a long career, but a special service that needs to be acknowledged and honoured all across the country.
Previous year winners, organisations of repute, and known experts in the fields are invited to file the nominations.
These awards are not applicable to government servants and people working with PSUs, however, teachers and doctors are an exemption. A total of 120 awards are enlisted for every year excluding non-residents and posthumous awardees. The award has a Sanad (certificate) and a medallion. This medal could be worn wherever the awardee chooses to. But they cannot use Padma Shri as a suffix or a prefix.
Why Is 2021 Different?
Since the launch of these awards in 1954, it has been noted that people from the elite class or in mainstream news were only coveted with the honour. From APJ Abdul Kalam to Amartya Sen, or even Padma Shri winners like Sachin Tendulkar and Sania Mirza, the awards have limited themselves from reaching the ground.
However, slowly this has been changing with the Padma Awards website open for the common public to nominate the candidates they wish to. Following this, there has been an equal representation of people from all parts of the countries and people who are real activists, who work with culture, history, gender issues, and many more on the ground.
Following this change, the awards are now referred to as People’s Padma, emphasizing these are the best of what we have in the country and the potential. While it could be argued that these awards also act as a political advantage for the party in power, like awards given to specific people in return for a favour. However, it could not be ignored that these awards also help in bringing people to the limelight who deserve attention and appreciation for their service.