Yesteryear actor Waheeda Rahman, singer S P Balasubrahmanyam, music composer Khayyam, former diplomat Brajesh Mishra and pioneer of the test tube baby in India [ Images ] Indira Hinduja were among a host of distinguished people conferred with the coveted Padma awards in New Delhi [ Images ] on Thursday evening.
President Pratibha Patil [ Images ] gave away the Padma awards at a function attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ], United Progressive Alliance [ Images ] chairperson Sonia Gandhi [ Images ], several Union Ministers and a host of dignitaries at the majestic Ashoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Former Governor A R Kidwai, litterateur O N V Kurup, Brajesh Mishra and eminent scholar Kapila Vatsyayan were conferred with the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian award.
Singer S P Balasubrahmanyam, former bureaucrat Mahesh Nikanth Buch, Bharatnatyam exponent C V Chandrasekhar, actor Waheeda Rahman, industrialist Y C Deveshwar, prolific Bangla writer Sankha Ghosh, kathakali dancer Madavoor Vasudevan Nair, senior scientist S Ramachandran, social worker Shobhana Ranade were among the Padma Bhushan awardees.
Entrepreneurs G V K Reddy and Analjit Singh, former civil servant Surendra Singh, legendary Carnatic music exponent Rudrapatna Krishna Sastry Srikantan and music composer Khyyam were the other Padma Bhushan awardees honoured today.
Ayurveda practitioner K Raghavan Thirumulpad was conferred the Padma Bhushan posthumously. His son received the award. Among the Padma Shri awardees were philanthropist Mamraj Agarwala, educationist Rafeeque Ahmed Mecca, space scientist M Annamalai, social worker Jockin Aruptham, health activist Pukhraj Bafna, pioneer of the Lasik eye surgery Mani Bhaumik, publisher of women's writing Urvashi Butalia, popular classical vocalist Ajoy Chakravarthy.
Social activist Nomita Shipra Chandy, theatre artist Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry, creative writer Pravin Darji, Rajasthani poet and critic Chandra Prakash Deval, distinguished Madhubani painter Mahasundari Devi, weightlifter N Kunjarani Devi, eminent archaeologist Madhukar Dhavlikar, innovative handloom weaver Ganjam Govardhana were also among the Padma Shri awardees.