CHENNAI: The Dalit Achiever Awards were conferred on 17 personalities working for the upliftment of Dalits in various dimensions, here on Monday. The event, hosted by the Loyola College and Thudi Movement (a non-profit organisation working among Dalit students) also saw the convocation of 100 first-time graduate Dalit students.
The awardees include K Sivaram Selvakumar of Kalsar Engineering College (for Educational Services), Advocate Rajinikanth (for social service in judiciary), Artists Nataraj and Ameer (for their contribution to the art forms), Umashankar of Mallar Malar (for ensuring social justice), S Palaniammal of People's Watch (for best field work), Susee Emu Gururajan (for Industrial Achievement), Advocate Gowthaman (for spreading ideologies of Ambedkar), Punitha Pandian of Dalit Murasu (for Journalism), Radhakrishnan, World Carrom Champion (for achievement in sports), Israil (for social upliftment), Dr Padmavathi, producer of the movie, Dr Ambedar (for propagating Ambedkar’s pride), Velmurugan background singer (for achievement in Cinema), PS Amalraj, Vice-president of TN Pondy Bar Association (for achievements in Judiciary) and Krishnaveni, a Panchayat president (for public life).
N Subramanian, Adidravida Welfare Minister conferred the awards on the awardees. He said that such awards would, in fact, encourage people from the Dalit community to scale new heights. “I also hail from the Dalit community and I know the amount of toil you have undergone to come here. It should not stop here and you should take it forward,” he suggested.
He also congratulated Loyola and Thudi for their initiatives to pat the achievers and the young graduates who were first-generation graduates from the family.
On Palaniammal, Subramanian said, “It is not easy to withstand the pressure in field work, that too, in the discipline of human rights of the oppressed class. She had been in the field work for 13 years and had been taking up challenging assignments to keep a tab on the human rights violations against Dalits."
Speaking to City Express, Palaniammal said that she did not look at it as a personal laurel, but as a recognition for all those involved in field work. Admitting the fact that it was not a cake walk, Palaniammal said that the satisfaction of ensuring justice in each case kept her going.