This year, Maharana Mewar Foundation 35th Annual Award Distribution Ceremony – 2017 held on Sunday the 5th March, 2017 at The Manek Chowk, The City Palace, Udaipur. The distribution ceremony started with the presentation of certificates to the students from schools and universities in Udaipur and across the State of Rajasthan. This was followed by the main Ceremony when the international and national awardees gathered on the dais to receive their awards from Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, Chairman and Managing Trustee of Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur. The chief guest of the ceremony was Rashtrakavi Bal Kavi Bairagi ji.
Announcing the International and National Annual Awards 2017, Convener of the Ceremony Dr. Mayank Gupta said that the international award, instituted in 1996 and named after Col. James Tod is to honour a foreign national who has made a lasting contribution through his work of permanent value and understanding of the spirit and values of Mewar. This year the award was given to Professor Sir Angus Deaton, USA, who is Senior Scholar and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School where he has taught for thirty years. He was the 2015 recipient of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.” In his work on poverty he has delved into data to try to improve measures, both for the world as a whole, and for India in particular. He has worked on health issues in the US, in particular with Anne Case on mortality in midlife, and in India, where he has worked with other researchers to address the needs of healthcare among both adults (in Rajasthan and in rural Udaipur) and children in India.
The National annual award, Haldighati Award, was given to an individual for work of permanent value that initiates an awakening in society through the medium of journalism, Mr. Praveen Swami, is a National Editor for Strategic and International Affairs at The Indian Express. He writes on regional security and intelligence issues. He is the author of India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad: the Covert War in Jammu and Kashmir, 1947-2002, published by Routledge in January, 2007. In addition to his work as a journalist, Mr. Swami is currently working on a series of short stories on the conflict in Kashmir, as well as a book on the jihadist movement in India, both scheduled for publication in 2017.
Hakim Khan Sur Award instituted to honour work of permanent value for the cause of national integration was awarded to Mr. Shailesh Lodha widely recognized as one of the most distinctive and socially accepted poet-actors who has made his mark in this complex landscape by integrating the nation and society through various media communications specifically stage and television. He plays an integral part in the world’s longest running daily comedy TV show ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’ both as an actor and sutradhaar. The USP of the show is mixing social messages with comedy.
Maharana Udai Singh Award instituted to honour work of permanent value in protecting and enriching the environment, hand-in-hand with future development was awarded to Dr. R. Vasudevan, the DEAN ECA & Professor of Department of Chemistry, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He is a man on a mission to clean India of its plastic waste. With the aim of changing the way plastic is treated in the country, in 2002 he has innovated a technique of making roads using plastic waste. Subsequently he patented the technology. When he could have made his fortune selling the technology to private companies, he chose to share his expertise with the Government of India for free. The technique was first used to make a road inside the campus of the Thiagarajar College of Engineering. This was just the beginning and soon after it was adopted by many towns and cities in various states across the country: in Kovilpatti, Salem, Wellington, Chennai, Puducherry, Hindpur (Andhra Pradesh), Kolkata, Goa, Shimla, Thiruvananthapuram, Vadakara, Calicut, Kothamangalam, Madurai, Jamshedpur and Kochi. In Tamil Nadu, the District Rural Development Agency laid 1,200 km of plastic roads in 29 districts across the State.
Another National Award is Panna Dhai Award instituted to honour an individual who has rendered selfless service, rising beyond the call of duty and setting an example to society of permanent value through sacrifice, in the face of immense hostility. This was awarded to Captain Radhika Menon, the first woman captain of the Indian Merchant Navy, Master of the oil products tanker Sampurna Swarajya. She received the 2016 International Maritime Organisation Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea for her role in the dramatic rescue of seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat in tumultuous seas in the Bay of Bengal in June 2015. She is also the first woman in the world to receive the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea. She was nominated by the Government of India, for rescuing of all seven fishermen from the fishing boat Durgamma, which was adrift following engine failure and loss of anchor in severe weather. Food and water had been washed away. The crew had survived at sea for 5 days without food by sucking ice from the fish hatch. Captain Menon immediately ordered a rescue operation, utilising the pilot ladder and with life jackets with buoys on standby. It took three arduous attempts in the lashing wind and rain and heavy swells before all seven weak and starving fishermen, aged from 15 to 50 years old, were brought to safety on board the ship. The National Maritime Day Celebrations (Central) Committee took pride in awarding the ‘NMD Gallantry at Sea Award’ to Capt. (Mrs.) Radhika Menon, Master, M.T. Sampurna Swarajya on 5th April 2016.
Maharishi Harit Rashi Award was awarded to Prof. Ramakant Pandey from Jaipur who specialises in the study of Kavya-Shastra, Natya-Shastra, Philosophy, Modern- Sanskrit Literature, Vyakarana and Manu-scriptology. With 24 years of teaching experience and 20 years of research experience he is the most prominent Sanskrit – Shastra Scholar of India today. He has authored around 50 Books including, Kavyadeepika, Radhvallabh Ki Saraswat Sadhana, Sahityashastra etc. Another Maharishi Harit Rashi Award was awarded to Dr. Lata Shrimali from Jaipur who has gained post graduate and doctoral degree in astrology and Sanskrit as well as bachelor of laws from the University of Rajasthan. As a learned authoress and a columnist, she has published articles on various topics of astrology in leading news papers and magazines. More than 260 of her research papers have been published. Currently she is engaged in her pursuit of research in the field of astrology.
Maharana Mewar Award has been instituted to honour work of permanent value rendered to society in the field of social service, nation building and character building activities, contributed through educational methods. This year’s award was given to Ms. Gulabi Sapera, ‘Dhanvanti’. She was born into a nomadic Kalbeliya tribe in Ajmer, Rajasthan. A legendary folk artist, Gulabi conceptualized and choreographed her own dance style ‘Kalbeliya’ that is now identified across the globe. The worldwide popularity of Kalbeliya dance form along with the efforts of Gulabi has found a place on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In 2016 The Government of India awarded her with the civilian honour of the Padma Shri for her contribution to the art of folk dance.
Another Maharana Mewar Award was given to Mr. Yatindra Mohan Pratap Mishra, Poet, Editor and Cinema Scholar. He has written four collections of Hindi poetry; Yada Kada, Ayodhya Tatha Anya Kavitayein, Dyorhi Par Aalap and Vibhas. Included in his volume of work as a Music and Film critic he has also written Girija (The life and works of thumri singer Girija Devi), Devpriya (Conversation with the danseuse Sonal Mansingh) He is a recipient of numerous awards including Bhartiya Jnanpitha Fellowship; Raza Foundation Award, Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi Award; H.K. Trivedi Memorial Young Journalism Award etc. Recently he has published a book on the Musical Journey of the legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar titled Lata: Sur-Gatha.
Maharana Mewar Award was also awarded to Master Warrant Officer K.L. Rao (retd.) from Udaipur, Rajasthan who has served the Indian Air Force for nearly 39 years mainly in Fighter Squadrons. He is also an expert aircraft technician with a wide ranging experience in fighter bomber aircraft. After settling down to his civil life at Udaipur, Rajasthan, he has written two books entitled ‘Indian Air Force – Glorious Past to Present’ and ‘History of the Indian Army. Both are a valuable addition to the limited literature.
Maharana Kumbha Award was awarded to historian Dr. Mallika Bohra, Dungarpur, Rajasthan. She studied for a Post PG Diploma in Archaeology and Ancient History. She gained her PhD in ‘Fresco tradition of Dungarpur State Social and Cultural from the early 18th century to 1940’ in 2004. She has authored many books including Dungarpur Rajya Ki Bhittichirankan Parampara: Samaj Evam Sanskriti; 18th Century Ki Sthapatyakala; Prachin Bharat Ka Itihas Volume 1, Part 1 and many more. Another Maharana Kumbha Award was awarded to Mr. Lalit Sharma who is an eminent writer from Jhalawar, Rajasthan. He completed his MA in ancient history architecture and gained B.E.d in History. He played a challenging role in enlightening Hadoti and Malva History with its Sculptures, Temples and Forts. He has discovered 18 Shilalekha (Khinchi) at Gugore Fort Chhabra Baran. He has contributed to 1500 publications in various international and national journals. He has authored several books including Gagron Fort, Saint Pipaji, Jhalawar, History of Jhalawar, Jhalawar and Hadoti Murti etc.
Maharana Sajjan Singh Award was awarded to Mr. Ram Swaroop Sharma (Jangid), Jaipur, master for his craft known as ‘Tarkashi Inlay’ for the last 43 years. He was given the most prestigious Shilp Guru Award from Ministry of Textiles, Government of India in 2014 for his contribution in Tarkashi Inlay (brass, copper and silver wire inlay work). Another Maharana Sajjan Singh Award was awarded to Mr. Gopal Swami Khetanchi who is a Painter from a small town Sardarshahar, Churu, Rajasthan. He is associated with another art form which is Calendar Kitsch. Distinguishing features of his style are uniqueness, delicacy and swiftness of drawing. He is known for giving a unique Indian or Rajasthani touch to his works, especially to textiles and background.
Dagar Gharana Award was awarded to Ustad Ahmed Hussain and Ustad Mohammed Hussain, two brothers, who sing classical Ghazals, from Jaipur. They started their singing career in 1958 as classical and thumri artists on All India Radio, Jaipur. Their first album ‘Guldasta’ was successfully released in 1980. Since then they have released about 50 albums including Naat, Rifaqat, Pyaar Ka Jazba, Kashish, Dil Ki Baat, Ai-Saba, Maan Bhi Ja. Despite having completely different voices, they have masterfully blended them together, with characteristic coordination of beautiful lyrics and their dulcet voices have enabled them to leave an indelible mark on the hearts and souls of Ghazal listeners everywhere.
Ms. Moti Meena was awarded the Rana Punja Award. She is resident of Manpur village, Salumber which is 60 Km from Udaipur, Rajasthan. She has overcome her personal struggles to emerge as a committed healthcare worker. Today, she is posted at Aajeevika Bureau’s Berawal clinic, Salumbar. She has set her sights high and believes that – “When one steps outside home, one’s knowledge increases”. Now she wants to know everything!”
Aravali Award is awarded for the outstanding achievements in sports and games from Rajasthan. This year two awards were given; Mr. Suresh Khoiwal, an International Volleyball Player from Fateh Nagar, Udaipur, Rajasthan who represented India in Junior Men Volleyball Team at International Volleyball Tournament held at Kelibia, Tunisia in 2013; 16th Asian Junior Men’s Volleyball Championship held at Uremia, I.R. Iran in 2012. The other Awardee Mr. Dilip Khoiwal is an International Volleyball Player from Fateh Nagar, Udaipur, Rajasthan with already many successes at International, National and State levels. He was recently selected for the prestigious Rajasthan State Sports Prize ‘Maharana Pratap Award – 2015’ by the Sports Council, Rajasthan. In 2009 Dilip Khoiwal had been selected for the Indian Volleyball team to participate in the Youth World Championship held in Italy where the team secured 7th place.
This year Best Police Station of Rajasthan Award was given to Police Station Dargah,
District Ajmer, Rajasthan.
This year Bhamashah Student Award was given to 18 students, Maharana Raj Singh Student Award to 9 students and Maharana Fateh Singh Student Award to 49 students.
Vote of thanks was given by Mr. Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar of Udaipur, Trustee, Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur.