Padma Awards: Woman power reigns with Priyanka, Saina & Sania on list

Woman power gets prominence on Padma Awards list this year with actress Priyanka Chopra, archer Deepika Kumari, tennis queen Sania Mirza and badminton ace Saina Nehwal being honoured. 'Thalaiva' Rajinikanth gets Padma Vibhushan

New Delhi: On the eve of Republic Day, the government has announced the list for the Padma Awards 2016 and it seems girl power gets prominence on the list this year.

Internationally acclaimed actress Priyanka Chopra and archer Deepika Kumari will be awarded with the Padma Shri this year, where as tennis queen Sania Mirza and badminton ace Saina Nehwal will be conferred with the Padma Bhushan.

Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal
Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal

Ace dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy and legendary classical singer Girija Devi will be honoured with Padma Vibhushan this year.

Famous filmmaker Aishwaryya R. Dhanush, the daughter of the Thalaiva of Indian cinema -- Rajnikanth, took to Twitter to bow down to girl power, saying, "Congratulating @MirzaSania on her padma award ! #girlpower"

"Big congratulations on your padma award @priyankachopra #girlpower," she tweeted. "Many congratulations on your padma award @NSaina .super duper proud of you my friend !!!"

Rajinikanth, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Dhirubhai Ambani and Jagmohan honoured with Padma Vibhushan

Actor Rajinikanth, media baron Ramoji Rao, former J-K Governor Jagmohan and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar awarded Padma Vibhushan.

Former US Ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill, sportspersons Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza and Indu Jain of Bennett, Coleman & Co get Padma Bhushan.

Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, actors Ajay Devgn and Priyanka Chopra get Padma Shri.

Reliance Industries founder late Dhirubhai Ambani awarded Padma Vibhushan.

The other Padma Vibhushan awardees are Yamini Krishnamurthi, Girija Devi and Dr Viswanathan Shanta.

Anupam Kher will be honoured with the third highest civilian award `Padma Bhushan' for his contribution to the Indian cinema.

"It is the biggest achievement of my career and as a person,¿ stated the actor. ¿It reaffirms my belief that anything can happen if you work hard."

"Happy, Humbled & Honoured to share that i have been awarded The PADMA BHUSHAN by the Govt. of India. Greatest news of my life:) #JaiHind," the actor tweeted.

In the year 2004, this 60-year-old actor was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India for his contribution to Indian cinema.

Kher made his acting debut in the 1982 Hindi movie 'Aagman'. But he got the limelight in 1984 with 'Saaransh', where 28-year-old Kher played a retired middle-class Maharashtrian man who has lost his son.

Other than appearing in hundreds of movies and several plays, the 'Bend It Like Beckham' actor held the post of chairman of Central Board of Film Certification and National School of Drama in India.

Other Padma Bhushan awardees this year include -- singer Udit Narayan, sculptor Ram Sutar, former CAG Vinod Rai, theatre personality Heisnam Kanhailal,  managing editor of the Punjabi newspaper 'Daily Ajit' Barjinder Singh Hamdard, spiritual leader Swami Tejomayananda, sanskrit scholar Professor N S Ramanuja Tatacharya and Gastroenterologist Professor D Nageshwar Reddy.

Padma Awards were instituted in 1954 and except for brief interruptions during the years 1977 and 1980 and 1993 to 1997, these awards have been announced every year on Republic Day.

Sania, Saina and Deepika: Three shining lights of sports world

New Delhi: Women dominated this year's Padma awards for sports with tennis star Sania Mirza and ace shuttler Saina Nehwal getting the nod for the Padma Bhushan, while archer Deepika Kumari was chosen for the Padma Shri today.

All three were in sublime touch last year and brought the country laurels in their respective sports.

Sania enjoyed the most sensational run, clinching nine titles -- including two Grand Slams last year with Swiss great Martina Hingis. The exceptional performance propelled her to the top of the WTA doubles rankings.

The 29-year-old is currently competing in the Australian Open in Melbourne, where she has reached the women's doubles quarterfinals with Hingis. 

Saina has also been in spectacular touch, winning silver medals at the All England and World Badminton Championship last year besides clinching the India Open Super Series and Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold.

Deepika, on the other hand, won a silver at the Archery World Cup Final besides bronze medals at the World Cup Stage II and the Asian Team Championships. 

Saina, who is in the country to compete in this week's Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold Tournament, said the honour has left her surprised. Interestingly, the 25-year-old had expressed her displeasure at being ignored for the award last year.

"It is a great honour and I want to thank the Ministry for giving me the award. I am very happy with the way the last year has gone, I have been performing well. I reached World No.1 last year and now I am World No.2. I am sure this award will give me more motivation to do well further this year," Saina said.

"It came as a complete surprise to me. I had no clue. I did not expect at all. There was no news of it at all. When I think that I am just 25 and I have received this award, it makes me feel great. But it is still a long way to go." 

Saina was left disappointed after the Sports Ministry decided to reject her application for the award in January last year, citing norms.

The ministry had picked two-time Olympic-medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar for the honour last year. Saina was bestowed the Khel Ratna and Padma Shri in 2010 and also received the Arjuna Award in 2009.

21-year-old Deepika, meanwhile, had also won the team silver along with Laxmirani Majhi and Rimil Buriuly in the World Championships. 

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