From a choreographer to a 107-yr-old environmentalist, the list also includes a sarod exponent, a physicist and an archaeologist
Rohini Godbole (Science and Engineering-Nuclear)
Professor Godbole has been working at the Centre for High Energy Physics, Indian Institute of Science, for 25 years. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Physics, Mathematics and Statistics from Sir Parshurambhau College in Pune and went on to pursue M.Sc in Physics at IIT-Mumbai and Ph.D at SUNY at Stony Brook in the United States in 1979. She has worked extensively on different aspects of particle phenomenology, and her work has had implications in the design of next-generation electron positron colliders. She regularly gives talks to students and supports women in science.
Prabhu Deva (Art-Dance)
The dance choreographer, film director, producer and actor has worked in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada films. Born in Mysuru in 1973, he is often referred to as the Indian Michael Jackson and is well known for his early films, Kaathala Kaathala and Vanathai Pola in Tamil. He went on to direct films like Pokkiri, Wanted, Rowdy Rathore and Singh is Bling. His father Mugur Sundar, a choreographer, was one of his early inspirations to take up dancing. He is well trained in classical Indian dance forms like Bharatnatyam as well as western styles of dance.
Sharada Srinivasan (Others-Archaeology)
Professor Srinivasan is associated with the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bengaluru and has made pioneering contributions to the study of archaeology and history of art from the perspective of exploring engineering applications like archaeometry and archaeometallurgy. She holds a Ph.D from Institute of Archaeology, University College London (1996) on Archaeometallurgy of South Indian bronzes. Her contributions have included archaeometallurgical studies on ancient mining and metallurgy in southern India, and documenting artisanal technologies.
Rajeev Tharanath (Art-Music — Sarod)
Tharanath is one of the world’s leading exponents of Sarod. A disciple of maestro Ali Akbar Khan, his performances combine the depth and rigor of the tradition of Hindustani classical music with an inspired imagination and emotional intensity. He received early training from his father, Pandit Taranath, and other musicians and was a concert and radio artiste before the age of 20. He is also the recipient of the Indian government’s highest award in the arts, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 1999-2000, given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of Hindustani instrumental music.
Saalumarada Thimmakka (Social Work — Environment)
Born in Gubbi taluk in Tumakuru district, Thimmakka’s tryst with the environment began with her husband when they started grafting saplings from a banyan tree and planted these along a road near a neighbouring village. From 10 saplings in the first year, she and her husband went on to plant 384 trees. She took care of them with her own meagre resources earned as a labourer, often carrying water over long distances in pails. The achievement earned the 107-year-old the honorific of ‘Saalumarada’ which means ‘row of trees’ in Kannada. During the last seven decades, she has taken part in several tree plantation drives.