On the eve of the 74th Republic day, the Government of India announced the names of the Padma awardees for the year 2023; among the awardees, a total of four citizens have been chosen from the tribal heartland of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, all of them shall be awarded the prestigious Padma awards for their exemplary service to the nation, let’s have a look on their journey to the prestigious awards.
Janum Singh Soy – Padma Shri (Jharkhand)
Janum Singh Soy, a resident of the Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum of Jharkhand, is a Ho language scholar who has been working for the preservation and promotion of the Ho language for four decades.
Soy, an author of as many as six books on the culture and lifestyle of Ho tribes, has helped make Ho a language for studies in universities.
He has retired from Kolhan University after an illustrious career stretching around four decades; he has been selected for the Padma Shri award.
Doman Singh Kunvar – Padma Shri (Chhattisgarh)
Doman Singh Kunvar is a resident of Latabod village of Balod in Chhattisgarh; he had been associated with one of the first ‘Naacha Group’ (people who performed folk dance) of Chhattisgarh.
Doman was active with Dau (another renowned Naacha dance performer) in the era of the 60s, following which he founded his own Naacha Group party known as “Lok Naacha Mayaaru Mor.”
In his career stretching over more than six decades, Doman Singh has so far performed in more than 5000 shows; he shall be awarded the Padma Shri award.
Ajay Mandavi – Padma Shri (Chhattisgarh)
Hailing from the insurgency-hit Kanker of Chhattisgarh, Ajay Mandavi belongs to a family of artists, as his father is also a renowned clay artist.
Mandavi, a Wood Carver by profession, is a brilliant artist who has mastered himself in engraving religious texts and literature on woods; he also teaches his mastery to the prisoners held in Kanker district jail. Most of his students were the captive Maoists who had now mastered the art of wood carvery under the guidance of Mandavi.
He shall be awarded the Padma Shri award for his exemplary service in rehabilitating former Left Wing Extremists through his art in the Kanker region of Chhattisgarh.
Usha Barle – Padma Shri (Chhattisgarh)
Born in Bhilai, Usha Barle (55) is a renowned Pandavani (a type of folk singing) singer of the Kapalika sect; she has trained and learnt the art of Pandwani singing under the legendary Teejan Bai itself.
She was also active in the movement for a separate Chhattisgarh state and was awarded the Guru Ghasidas award in 2016; she was the first singer to re-present the life of Guru Ghasidas in Pandavani.
Her mastery in Pandavani singing can be understood by the fact that apart from Chhattisgarh and other parts of India, Usha has also performed in countries like Britain, Japan and the United States of America.