MUMBAI: Describing the Devi Awards as the best way to acknowledge the work of women in changing our society, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis said awards like this will eventually lead us to a more equitable society.
Fadnavis presented the awards at the 11th edition of Devi Awards to 11 distinguished women achievers from all walks of life—from films and entertainment to education, social service and politics—here on Monday evening.
“Countries that have recognised the role of women in progress have prospered. Even the past 5,000 years of Indian history shows that whenever women have been honoured, society has prospered, and whenever they have been disrespected, society had seen the lowest points in its existence. Recognising the true power of this 50 per cent of the population will make the world a better place,” Fadnavis said as he presented the awards.
The awarded included fashion designer Anita Dongre, TV and film actor Shubhangi Gokhale, curator of Indian designs Divya Thakur, financial entrepreneur Rakhee Kapoor Tandon, NCP MP Supriya Sule, actress Kirti Kulhari, ‘right to pee’ activist Mumtaz Shaikh, health activist from tribal area Dr Smith Kolhe, social revolutionary Robin Chaurasiya, children’s activist Renu Gavaskar and nutrition expert Rujuta Divekar.
Rujuta Divekar received the award for urging people to use their common sense and uncomplicate the act of eating and for her style of blending traditional food wisdom with modern nutritional science.
Anita Dongre runs the House of Dongre, which has five successful brands and is one of the most successful fashion houses of India. Shubhangi Gokhale is known for her versatility and ease of acting; she has done several TV serials and films in Marathi as well as Hindi.
Divya Thakur, founder of Design Temple, is passionate about preserving the soul of Indian culture and is engaged in creating awareness about it the world over. Mumtaz Shaikh is known for her fight for ‘right to pee’. Her struggle in personal life is an example for women achievers.
Robin Chaurasiya is a former US Air Force officer who forced them to change their policy. She then came to India to works for sex workers and victims of trafficking through her NGO Kranti.
Founder and CEO of ART Capital, Raakhe Kapoor Tandon, now runs the Indian School of Management and Enterpreneurship that has an innovative curriculum to develop human capital.
Renu Gavaskar received the award for her work in education for children of sex workers, while Dr Smith Kolhe received it for her path-breaking work in tribal Melghat in Maharashtra.
Bollywood actor Kriti Kulhari came to light due to her lead role in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar. She received the award for her acting. Supriya Sule, heir apparent of her father Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, received the trophy for her work in education.
Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director of The New Indian Express (of which The Sunday Standard is a part), said, “The Devi Awards have been created to felicitate women who are working to change society through their dedicated efforts but don’t necessarily get recognition for their work.”