The government of India has announced the list of Padma awardees on the occasion of the 60th Republic Day. The list of Padma Vibhushan awardees include the chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Anil Kakodkar, and the man behind India’s moon mission, G Madhavan Nair. Here is a glance at those who have been conferred upon with the honour.
Dr Anil Kakodkar
Anil Kakodkar was born in 1943 in Barawani, present day Madhya Pradesh. He had his early education in Khargoan until moving to Bombay for post-matriculation studies. Kakodkar is an eminent nuclear scientist, and is the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India as well as the Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Atomic Energy. Before leading India’s nuclear programme, he was the Director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay from 1996-2000.
Sundarlal Bahuguna is a noted eco-activist and philosopher in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and an environmentalist who has fought for the preservation of forests in the Himalayas as a member of the ‘Chipko’ movement, and later spearheaded the anti-Tehri dam movement through the late 1980s, 90s and early 2004. He has remained behind the anti-Tehri dam protests for decades. He used the Satyagraha methods, and went to long fasts at the banks of Bhagirathi as a mark of his protest.
Govind Narain, now 92, was the Governor of Karnataka from 1977 to 1983. A close confidant of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Narain was the Home Secretary during the 1971 war. He later became the Defence Secretary. Born in 1917 in Mainpuri, UP, he is also co-author of books like ‘Old Mandarins of India’ and ‘The Governor – Sage or Saboteur’.
Sister Nirmala, born in 1934, succeeded Mother Teresa as Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity in March 1997. She was born Nirmala Joshi into a Brahmin family in Ranchi (then in Bihar and now in Jharkhand). Her parents were Hindu Brahmins from Nepal. Her father was devout Hindu Indian Army officer originally from Nepal. She was educated by Christian missionaries in Patna (capital of Bihar state) but remained a Hindu until she was 24 and learned of Mother Teresa’s work and converted to Roman Catholicism.
Chandrika Prasad Srivastava
C P Srivastava was born on July 8, 1920 and did his graduation as well as postgraduation from Lucknow (BA, MA, LLB). He started his career as a civil servant, serving as the district administrator in Meerut and Lucknow, and then went on to the post of Joint Secretary during Lal Bahadur Shastri’s office from 1964-1966. C P Srivastava also became the first chief executive of the Shipping Corporation of India and in 1974 was elected to serve as the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
G Madhavan Nair
G Madhavan Nair was born on October 31, 1943. He is the present Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation and Secretary to the Department of Space, Government of India since September 2003. He is also the Chairman of the Space Commission and acts as the Chairman of Governing Body of the Antrix Corporation, Bangalore. Nair is a leading technologist in the field of rocket systems and has made significant contribution to the development of multi-stage satellite launch vehicles.
Others conferred with the Padma Vibhushan are: