Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence, Kalaburagi (Karnataka) that confers completely free of cost education to rural students including ‘free medical education’, organised the Sri Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence on the occasion of the 98th Birthday Celebrations of the 21st century spiritual master, Sri Sathya Sai Baba on Nov 24. Among those awarded are seven inspiring women who have demonstrated the role of changemakers in their small but powerful way. C P Radhakrishnan, Governor of Jharkhand gave away the awards at a ceremony held in the university.
Mukta Dagli brought light into the lives of several blind children by giving them ‘Education’ and is helping those lead dignified lives. Kalavati, who got married off at an early age of 14, lived all her life at a slum in Kanpur, and transformed the slum into a hygienic haven of ‘Health’ by building more than 400 latrines.
The title of ‘Women Water Champion’ was conferred on Renuka Kotambar, who made several drought- prone regions of Maharashtra water-secure and took several steps to conserve water for the ‘Environment.’
Doing anything for ‘Woman and Child Welfare’, Bhagashri Lekhami dissuaded conservative parents from getting their daughters married off at an early age, but instead helped them pursue education. To protect the dignity of women, she has helped with toilet construction; she educates girls about menstrual hygiene, and helps women access basic healthcare.
Dr Mahe Tilat Siddiqui, a muslim by birth, but a ‘sanatani’ at heart, she embraces all religions, and has done an extensive work on ‘Ramayana’ to translate it into Urdu. The name ‘Artikrafts’ goes after Arati Hiremath, who has revived the ancient embroidery ‘Fine Arts’ form of ‘Kasuti’ and trained more than 850 women to make ‘Kasuti’ sarees.
Let children learn to play and the rest, including their health, education, and skills development will be taken care of is the motto with which Priya Nadkarni dedicated her life to hone the sporting skills of children.
The jury comprising Prof JS Rajput, Dr Gururaj Karajagi, Dr J Shashidhara Prasad, Dr Anita Saxena, Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, Dr Ajay Mathur, Ms Donna L Goodman, Mr Ravi Singh, Dr Sajeeda Begum, Ms Gayathri B Kalia, Dr Padma Subrahmanyam, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Dr Sudha Ragunathan, Mrs Tanusree Shankar, Ms Gulshaa Begum, Prof Samuel K Samuel, Swami Mitrananda, Swami Nikhileswarananda and Dr Hafeezur Rahman, Dr Sunil Gavaskar and Mr Somdev Kishore Devvarma decided this year’ awardees. The seventh edition of Sri Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence recognised seven women, most of whom were from the rural sectors of India, and contributed all their might towards rural upliftment in the areas of Education, Health, Environment, Woman and Child Welfare, Unity of Religions, Music and Fine Arts and Yoga and Sports.
The man behind this unique mission that continues the legacy of Baba, to provide free nutrition, education and healthcare to all, is Sri Madhusudan Sai, a disciple of Baba. He is today, one of the youngest social and spiritual leaders who has been leading a mission of ‘service and spirituality’ for the last 11 years, touching the transforming the lives of millions of people across 33 countries.
Sri Madhusudan Sai said: “I congratulate all the seven women who have done exemplary work in their respective fields, and selflessly worked for the betterment of others. It is simply an example of how much a woman can achieve if she decides to achieve. Bharath lives in rural areas—this is true 75 years ago and even now. To achieve the vision of a developed nation, rural India has to develop. A developed nation is one in which every citizen of the country can access of good nutrition, education, and healthcare. We need to work for the upliftment of the people in rural areas, and hence this year’s award was themed for ‘Rural Upliftment.’ We are here to set the right kind of ideal examples of selfless service. Working for the welfare of all, by all is the idea of ‘One World One Family’, which is the very motto of our mission.”