Last Updated: January 25, 2023, 23:25 IST
Veteran kalarippayattu coach SRD Prasad of Kerala and experienced Thang-Ta master K Shanathoiba Sharma were conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award as they were two of three sports personalities to make it to the list of Padma Awards for their contribution to their respective fields.
The list, which was announced on the 25th of January, also included former cricketer and coach Gurcharan Singh.
Sangeet Natak Akadem awardee Prasad, who runs the renowned SRD Prasad Gurukul as a means of imparting knowledge of the niche art form to those interested, is a well-respected and experienced figure in the world of kalarippayattu and is also a well-versed author and orator, with mastery over the martial artform.
Prasad, who got into the traditional art form at a very young age, learnt his trade from his father, Chirakkal T Sridharan Nair, believes that kalari has deep spiritual significance and believes that children should be encouraged to take up the art form as it is an ideal exercise for physical fitness, self-defence and mental agility.
He has also authored five books pertaining to kalari and is also a visiting faculty at Kannur University which has introduced a course in martial art.
Another Sangeet Natak Akadem recipient, Sharma, a leading exponent of the indigenous Manipuri martial art dance form of Thang-Ta, was also honoured in the list.
Thang-Ta, which translates to sword and spear, was a traditional martial art used by the Manipuri populace to defend themselves from attack in years gone by.
It combines the usage of weapons along with physical control and coordinated movements.
The Padma Shri is one of the highest civilian honours that could be bestowed upon one, given out in three categories, namely, the Padma Vibushan, for distinguished and exceptional service, the Padma Bhushan, for distinguished service of higher order and the Padma Shri for distinguished service.
The nominations received for Padma Awards are placed before the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister. The Awards Committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and includes the Home Secretary, the Secretary to the President and a couple of eminent persons.
The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the Prime Minister and the President of India for approval.
The awardees are to be presented with their awards during the month of March or April at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.
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