LUCKNOW: Ten of the 94 Padma Shri awardees whose names were announced on eve of Republic Day are from Uttar Pradesh. Of those 10, four are from Prime Minister Narednra Modi’s constituency Varanasi, two from Lucknow, one each from Mathura, Barabanki, Moradabad and Bulandshahr. Though the announcement triggered jubilation, there was also cause for disappointment as the state did not receive any Padma Vibhushan or Padma Bhushan award this year.
Four most unheard recipients from UP:
1. Ramesh Babaji Maharaj: At a time, when cow protection and conservation is dominating the national narrative, the honour to Ramesh Babaji Maharaj, an 80-year-old seer from Mathura, explains it all. He has won the recognition for his work in animal welfare, particularly cows. Born as Rameshwar Prasad Shukla in Prayagraj, he made Braj his ‘Karmabhoomi’. He runs a Gua shaala (cow shelter) in Barsana, Mathura. Having started ti with two stray cows in 2007, now Babaji, as he is popularly known, takes care of over 50,000 cows at his guashala ‘Mahataji.’
2. Bharat Bhushan Tyagi: A farmer of Bulandshahr in western UP, Tyagi is showing way to farmers of his region to double their income through organic farming techniques. Tyagi has the credit of training at least a lakh farmers in organic farming techniques at his state-of-the-art training and research centre which he has opened in his village. He is a big votary of spreading a message of harmony with nature through organic farming.
3. Prof Brijesh Kumar Shukla: Heading the Sanskrit department of Lucknow University, Prof Shukla is devoted to saving the Sanskrit language. He is consistently researching and making efforts to popularise the Vedic language among the people. Prof Shukla has published 25books and over 100 research papers on the subject. Around 60 research scholars have done PhD under his guidance. He is also the coordinator of LU’s Astrology department since its inception.
4. Ram Saran Verma: A progressive farmer of Barabanki, Verma has given exemplary results by growing new varieties of mentha, tomato, banana and potato using tissue culture. Inspiring other farmers of Daulatpur village and mobilising them to adopt newer techniques of farming, Ram Saran helped stop the migration of youth for greener pastures. Ram Saran, currently, producing banana over 300 bigha land under community farming and provides employment to over 50 farm labourers daily.