Jaipur, Jan 27 (IANS) Five people, who worked at the grassroots level in Rajasthan and took tasks that have helped promote cultural bonhomie, nature conservation and cleanliness, were honoured with the Padma Shri awards this year.
The awardees include Munna Master, whose son became the point of discussion for teaching Sanskrit in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). The other awardees are: Usha from Alwar who promoted the message of cleanliness after being treated as an untouchable; Sundaram Verma from Sikar for bringing up new techniques to save water and planting trees; Himmataram Bhambhu for environment protection and Ustad Anwar Khan for promoting art.
They are all grassroot workers, who have contributed to the nation’s development in one way or the other.
Munna Master (61), a resident of Bagru, is known as a Ram-Krishna Bhajan singer. He has been carrying on the family tradition of singing Sanskrit hymns since years as a part of his family’s tradition, which goes several generations back. He has also written a book called ‘Shree Shyam Surabhi Vandana’. Promoting the Ganga-Jamuna culture, he offers both the namaz and recites hymns. The man is also tends to the cows in his “gaushala”. His son, Feroze Khan, had joined the BHU as a Sanskrit professor.
After coming to know that he has been honoured with the coveted award, he told mediamen: “Gau seva hi rashtra ki sachhi seva hai.(Serving the cow comes as the true service for the country.”
Usha has been awarded for her contribution in the social work.
Married at the age of 10, she was treated as an untouchable by the people as she was engaged in the task of manual scavenging.
However, a major change was reported in Usha’s life when she was associated with the’Sulabh International’. After joining this organisation, she started motivating people for cleanliness. She was invited to address the theme of ‘Cleanliness and Women’s Rights in India’ at the annual conference of the British Association of South Asian Studies (BASAS).
Sundaram Verma from Sikar has planted over 50,000 trees using innovative technique to grow seven different crops within a time span of three years.
He has made a strong contribution to promote afforestation. Also, he has developed a dry land agroforestry technology to conserve environment and biodiversity of Shekhawati region in the state.
Verma has planted around 50,000 trees with the technique of saving water in which only one liter of water is needed to plant a tree.
His technique has been appreciated by Swaminathan, an eminent agricultural scientist who is regarded as the father of the Green Revolution in the country and he also received recognition from the water conservation department of the Rajasthan government.
Verma is a science graduate, who has participated in the exhibition held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan sometime back.
Awarded at the national level for agricultural research subjects, Verma collected more than 700 species of 15 crops of Rajasthan and studied them closely. He has also created the ideal crop cycle in which the farmer can grow seven crops in his own farm in three years. With this, the farmer will not only earn good profits, but the quality of the land can also be maintained while maintaining stability in the yield.
Himmatram (63) from Nagaur, has planted millions of trees and is an environment lover, He has been inspiring and motivating people to keep their forests safe. He also feeds birds and animals daily and has worked as a mechanic after leaving his school. The journey of Himmatram started by planting a peepal tree many years ago. Now, there are millions of trees planted by him due to which he was honoured with the Rajiv Gandhi Environmental Protection Award in 2014.
Ustad Manganiyar has been awarded for his unmatchable work to promote the art of Rajasthan in the country and abroad.
A total of 118 eminent personalities have been awarded this year for their contribution in the field of art, literature and education, medicine, trade and industry, sports, public affairs, social work and science and engineering.