Meet the harbingers of change, sixteen Nari Shakti Puraskars were presented this year by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony held in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on International Women’s Day. The Nari Shakti Puraskar is the country’s highest civilian honour for women, and recognizes services towards the cause of women empowerment. Here is why these awardees are an inspiration for every girl in the country.
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Man Kaur, a centenarian sprinter
Dubbed as the “Miracle Mom from Chandigarh”, 104-year-old Man Kaur started running when she was 91 years old. She is the oldest person in the world to walk along the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower and has also won medals in Javelin throw and Shot Put. She has won more than 20 medals in the Masters Games all across the globe. She also has several world records to her credit.
Mohana Singh, Bhawana Kanth, and Avani Chaturvedi, IAF’s first women fighter pilots
The three ladies Mohana Singh, Bhawana Kanth, and Avani Chaturvedi,were inducted into the Air Force’s fighter squadron after the Govt decided to open fighter stream for women on an experimental basis. In 2018, they conducted a solo flight in MIG-21. Mohana Singh along with Bhawana Kanth and Avani Chaturvedi was commissioned in the Indian Air Force by then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Padala Bhudevi and Bina Devi, farmers
Popular as the ‘Mushroom Mahila’ for popularising mushroom cultivation, Bina Devi was ‘Sarpanch’ of Dhauri Panchayat, Tetiabamber block for five years. She has trained farmers on mushroom and organic farming, vermicompost production and organic insecticide preparation at home. An idol for women farmers and rural women entrepreneurs, Padala Bhudevi has been working for the development of tribal women and widows. She is the Director of Manyam Grains Pvt Ltd and Manyadeepika Farmers Producer Company Ltd.
Arifa Jaan, an artisan
A 29-year-old woman from Kashmir, Arifa Jaan fulfilled her dream of becoming an entrepreneur by taking up the task of the revival of the lost art of Numdha handicrafts. Numdha is a traditional felted Kashmir carpet, made by rolling and pressing wool by the application of moisture. Currently, 25 artisans are working with her under the umbrella of her venture, Incredible Kashmiri Crafts.
Chami Murmu, an environmentalist
Hailed as the Lady Tarzan of Jharkhand, Chami Devi Murmu, secretary of Sahayogi Mahila Bagraisai, has been mobilizing women from more than 40 villages to plant Eucalyptus, Sal and Acacia trees, among others, to replenish the forests in Jharkhand that had been destroyed by the timber mafia.
Nilza Wangmo, an entrepreneur
Nilza Wangmo runs a restaurant in Alchi, near Leh town and is taking the Ladakh cuisine to the world. She has created new dishes and brought about innovative changes in the existing ones to include the exclusive spices and fruits from Ladakh in her preparations. She fought against many tragedies in her life and is a depression-survivor.
A self-trained chef, Wangmo is now planning to open a school in Ladakh to impart her knowledge of the cuisine to other women.
Rashmi Urdhwareshe, an automotive research professional
The director of the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Urdhwareshe was an NCC cadet, a State-level Bridge Champion, and an avid sports enthusiast at school and a trained Sitarist. She collaborated with a senior lady colleague to create a new Automotive Electronics Department at ARAI.
Kalavati Devi, lady mason
Kalavati Devi, a 58-year-old lady mason, acted as a driving force in reducing open defecation in the district of Kanpur. She went door to door to tell people about the ills of open defecation and has built over 4,000 toilets across the city and around it.
Tashi and Nungshi Malik, twin mountaineers
Tashi and Nungshi Malik, 28, from Uttrakhand were the first female twins to scale Mt Everest in 2013. They have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa in 2015 and Mt Vinson, Antarctica in 2014, Puncak Jaya in Australia in 2014 and Mt Elbrus in Europe in 2013.
Kaushiki Chakroborty, classical vocalist
With over 15 years of experience, Kaushiki Chakroborty is a Khayal and Thumri exponent and is one of the few people to keep Indian classical music alive. The 39-year old, groomed at the Sangeet Research Academy performed her first concert at the age of 16 and there has been no looking back since then.
Karthyayini Amma and Bhageerathi Amma, literacy exam toppers
Karthyayini Amma scored 98 marks out of 100 in the 4th standard equivalency course under the Kerala Literacy Mission’s Aksharalaksham scheme. She began her schooling in January 2016 and was expecting a perfect score but lost the two marks in the Mathematics paper. Bhageerathi Amma has created history by becoming the oldest woman to sit for the same exam. The 105-year-old could not come to receive the award. She scored 74.5 percent in the exam.
Picture credit: Deccan Herald
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Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV