Several Muslim artists, social workers, clerics, literati also received award from Indian president.
NEW DELHI (AA) – Several Muslim achievers were among those, conferred with the Padma awards – India’s highest civilian awards — by the government for the years 2020 and 2021.
The civilian awards in the country are conferred in three categories; Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri. The awards are given in various disciplines and fields of activities.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also attended the ceremony held on Monday and Tuesday at Rashtrapati Bhawan (presidential palace) said he was happy to see awards being given to grassroots achievers.
Mohammad Sharif, 83 a resident of northern Uttar Pradesh state was given the award in the field of social work for performing the last rites of more than 20,000 unclaimed bodies.
“I will continue with my work till I am alive. Even after my death, I have told my son to continue my work,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Sharif’s son was killed in 1992 and since then he took to social work.
Sarood and Afghani rabab player (musical instruments), Gulfam Ahmed, also a resident of Uttar Pradesh was awarded as recognition for his work.
Awarded in the field of arts, the government release said: “He is known for promoting Indo-Afghan cultural relations.”
Rabab is the national musical instrument of Afghanistan.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ahmed said that he has learned and taught playing rabab in Afghanistan for around five years.
“Other than teaching the Rabab in our country, I have taught playing Rabab in Afghanistan for around five years,” he said.
“This award is the recognition for my work and efforts,” he added.
Famous Indian writer Imran Shah from the northeastern state of Assam, who was awarded in literature and education said he wanted the younger generation to do “something” in the field like education and culture.
“I am committed to literature and education and I am doing my best to do whatever I may or I am capable of,” he said when asked about the award.
Others who were awarded included eminent Indian Islamic scholar and peace activist Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and cleric Syed Kalbe Sadiq and social worker Abdul Jabbar, who fought for the rights of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster that had killed at least 3,000 people. They were awarded posthumously.
Bangladeshi artist Sanjida Khatoon, war veteran Qazi Sajjad Ali Zahir, and Pakistan-born Indian musician Adnan Sami also took awards from Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.