Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal and Indu Jain of Bennett Coleman will receive the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India. Priyanka Chopra has been conferred with the Padma Shri, while Kuchipudi dancer Mungara Yamini Krishnamurthy is to receive the Padma Vibhushan.
It has been a great year for women in sport this year. Sania Nehwal dominated the Badminton World Federation Women Singles' list last year at number one. Previously, she has been honoured with the Arjuna Award (2009), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2009–2010) and Padma Shri (2010). She was also the first Indian woman to win a bronze in the 2012 London Olympics.
Sania Mirza, on the other hand, currently stands at world number one in women's doubles with Martina Hingis. Together, they achieved 29 consecutive wins. In the past, she has been conferred with honours like the Arjuna Award (2004), WTA New Comer of the Year (2005), Padma Shri (2006) and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award (2015).
Indu Jain is the chairperson of India's largest media house, Bennett Coleman and Co. that publishes the Times of India. She is also the founder President of the FICCI Ladies wing, and has founded and actively runs the Times Foundation for women's empowerment and entrepreneurship. She has also been awarded the Mahatma- Mahavira Award by the President, for spreading the spirit of oneness in the world.
Apart from her global success as a singer and actor, Priyanka Chopra made India proud by becoming the first South Asian woman to win the People's Choice Awards for her stellar performance in International Prime Time TV Series, Quantico. With Mary Kom and her upcoming movie Jai Ganga Jal, she seems to be a true role model for many aspiring women from all walks of life.
This is a proud moment for all Indian women, as these are lists that have historically been dominated by men. It is a sign that not only are women coming out and shining bright, but also the fact that their participation and achievements in the public sphere are being recognized.