Three from Rajasthan named for Padma Shri awards

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Jodhpur, Jan 26 (PTI) A trinity of a musician, an environmentalist and a tribal author hailing from different parts of Rajasthan has been named for the prestigious Padma Shri awards this year.

The names of sarangi player Lakha Khan from Jodhpur, environmentalist Shyam Sunder Paliwal from Rajsamand and author Arjun Singh Shekhawat from Pali for the prestigious awards were announced on the eve of Republic Day on Monday Lakha Khan, 71, born in Raneri village in Jodhpur was awestruck upon hearing the news about his name being selected for the Padma Shri.

Conversant in delivering vocal renditions in five local languages, the sarangi player belongs to the famous Manganiyar community and has been recognized globally for exotic music of the desert state.

Trained since childhood in rendering the compositions of the Multan school of Manganiyars, Khan is today the sole survivor from his community to play the Sindhi Sarangi and sings flawlessly in Hindi, Marwari, Sindhi, Punjabi and Multani languages.

Having travelled around the globe to perform in diverse music events, Khan has been honoured with the Sangeet Natak Academy Award apart from many global awards.

“I am honoured and would keep serving music and train the new generation to keep this art form alive and make it grow,” he said.

Arjun Singh Shekhawat, 87, also selected for the Padma Shri award for 2021 hails from Pali district. A retired principal of a government school, Shekhawat is a post-graduate in Rajasthani and Hindi and has written and edited over 50 books. He had started his career as a teacher at a government school in Bali subdivision of Pali in 1967. Having spent his service tenure in the tribal belt of the region, he had a chance to study the lives of tribals. With burgeoning interest in their culture, he started writing on tribals. One such work by Shekhaat titled 'Bhakar Ra Bhomiya' earned wide acclaim for its immaculate peek into the lives of the tribal people.

Other books which earned him accolades include Sanskriti ri Vasiyat, Sanskriti ra Badera and Adawal Ardayo among others which are completely dedicated to the life and culture of the tribal people. Still active and healthy through the practice of ancient ayurveda medicines and yoga, he has been honoured with many awards including the Bhartiya Sahitya Academy award.

The third recipient, Shyam Sunder Paliwal, is known as an eco-feminist and hails from Piplantri village in Rajsamand district. This former sarpanch of the village dedicated his life to planting trees and encouraging the wellbeing of girl children.

The mission of planting trees found its genesis in the untimely demise of his 16-year-old daughter. He began planting trees in her memory in his village.

He is famously known for his Kiran Nidhi Yojana by planting 111 trees for every girl child born in his village along with a financial scheme. Both his initiatives bore tremendous results. While the skewed sex ratio in the village improved, ground water table of the village recorded drastic rise.

The Padma awards are conferred by the President during ceremonies at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in March or April every year. The awardees' names are announced on the eve of Republic Day. PTI CORR RDM RDM