Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honors of India and as usual, the list of recipients of Padma Awards 2018 consists of some incredibly magnanimous individuals who have contributed greatly towards their respective fields which we, as ordinary human beings, could only dream to achieve.
For those of you who are not that familiar with it, the Padma Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan, for exceptional and distinguished service; Padma Bhushan, for distinguished service of higher order and Padma Shri, for distinguished service.
It is undoubtedly a moment of extreme honor for someone to receive this Award through her or his unparalleled contribution to any field.
And as for us, I would like to bring light to some of the recipients of the Padma Awards 2018, who have shown extraordinary zeal in dedicating their life to public service.
#1. The Nonagenarian Philanthropist
Clad in a white vest and dhoti with a white cap on his head, 99 years old Sudhanshu Biswas has dedicated his entire life in the service of the abandoned children and destitute senior citizens in rural West Bengal.
A former freedom fighter who had fought to free India from the Britishers along with the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Mr. Biswas is the founder of Sri Ramakrishna Sevaashram located in a remote village called Ramakrishnapur. This ashram is a home for hundreds of abandoned children providing them with free education and health facilities. Mr. Biswas also runs charitable dispensaries in which he collects medicines and distributes them among the sick and the needy.
#2. Doctors who revolutionalized Primary Healthcare in India & the World
Dr. Abhay and Rani Bang are Indian social activists who, despite pursuing masters from a well-known university in the USA, dedicated their whole lives to tackle the problem of increasing infant mortality in one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the world.
Mr. and Mrs. Bang have revolutionalized primary healthcare in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra which is one of the poorest regions of India affected by extremely high rates of infant mortality.
Refusing to accept the conventional methods of neonatal care, this couple has devised a home-based newborn care model in this village where they train local women volunteers in dealing with simple health ailments and care of newborns. These volunteers are then sent to the households where they are most needed for medical services.
Their approach towards neonatal care, which has reduced infant mortality in Gadchiroli by a significant amount, has also been endorsed by the WHO and UNICEF. Moreover, the Indian government has adopted their model and rolled it out in other deprived regions of the country as the ASHA program.
You can know more about Mr. and Mrs. Bang’s incredible contribution towards healthcare in the rural sector here.
#3. A Woman Who Dared To Dream For The Poor
Only a few people dare to dream beyond their own means and that too purely to help others in need and one extraordinary example of this is Subhasini Mistry.
Widowed at the age of 23 because of lack of proper medical care for her husband, Subhasini Mistry was left alone in the world, with no source of income and four mouths to feed.
With abject poverty staring right at her face, she struggled to feed her family by working as a housemaid, manual laborer and vegetable seller. But going beyond what she was capable of, Mistry educated her youngest son to become a doctor and managed to save enough money over a period of 30 years to buy a small plot of land where she dreamt of building a hospital providing free medical services to the poor.
With sheer grit and determination, Mistry was finally able to fulfill her dream by establishing the Humanity Hospital in Hanspukur village near Kolkata which now provides free healthcare facilities to everyone who knocks at its doors.
#4. A Messiah for Leprosy Patients in India
Leprosy or Kushtha Rog is a widely witnessed disease in India especially among the beggars, which not only results in physical deformity of the victims but also ostracizes them from the society itself.
Dedicating his entire life in service of these poor leprosy patients is Mr. Damodar Ganesh Bapat, who has been spreading mass awareness about this disease and organizing leprosy camps for nearly three decades now.
His vision has always been to remove the stigma attached to the leprosy victims due to which they are ostracized from their families and the society at large. He is the secretary of Bharatiya Kushtha Nivarak Sangh in Champa, Chhattisgarh where he lives with the leprosy patients, eats the food cooked by them and shares water resources with them to make people realize that Leprosy is just another major disease whose victims need utmost care and support.
Apart from the above-mentioned individuals, there are many other people who have gone to extraordinary levels to serve the poor and the needy and hence been awarded by one of the highest civilian honors this year.
May these remarkable personalities continue to show us the light towards a better future where nobody is a victim of poor circumstances and deprived resources.
Images Source: Google Images
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