CHENNAI: It has been a bountiful year for Tamil Nadu in the Padma awards gallery, with 12 eminent achievers from various fields winning the honour.
Three Padma Bhushans and nine Padma Shri awards have been bagged by personalities from the State.
However, none from Tamil Nadu bagged Padma Vibhushan and there was no Bharat Ratna — the highest civilian honour — awarded to anyone third year running.
The most prominent names that feature in the list include that of playback singer S P Balasubramaniam, Tamil and Malayalam actor Jayaram, Carnatic vocalist S R Janakiraman and Bharatnatyam exponent C V Chandrasekhar.
While SP Balasubramaniam was not available for comment due to ill health, his son, singer-producer S P Charan, said his father was happy on being bestowed the honour, but thought there were several senior musicians who deserved the award before him.
In the field of medicine, two classmates from the 1964 batch of the Madras Medical College were awarded the Padma Shri this time.
For Dr Sivapatham Vittal, surgical endocrinologist and Dr Madanur Ahmed Ali, surgical gastroenterologist, who competed with each other as students during their college days, the conferring of Padma Shri came as a pleasant surprise.
“We had a neck and neck competition even in college, and today it has ended pleasantly,” said Dr Ahmed.
Starting his career from a sick company — Pure Ice Cream — as its financial controller, Kailasam Raghavendra Rao, managing director of Orchid Chemicals, who has climbed up the corporate ladder to set up a multi-crore business empire has also been awarded the Padma Shri this year.
“I believe this award will encourage many more youngsters to become entrepreneurs in future,” said Rao.
ONE CONTEST, BOTH WINNERS
They competed against each other way back in medical college. But this time around, surgical endocrinologist Dr Sivapatham Vittal and surgical gastroenterologist Dr Madanur Ahmed Ali were both winners when they were conferred the Padma Shri. Dr Vittal said the award was a due recognition for four decades of service. He is instrumental in starting the department of endocrine surgery in India. He served as the president of many academic bodies like the Royal College of Edinburgh, Indian Chapter. Dr Ali retired from the GGH in 1996 and is president elect of International Society of Gastroenterology