Padma Awards

Indian American Professor Ved Prakash Nanda has been honored with a Padma Bhushan award. (University of Denver photo) 

NEW DELHI — Indian American Ved Prakash Nanda is among 85 people to be honored with one of India’s highest civilian honors, the Padma Award, which recognizes distinguished service. 

Nanda, a professor at the University of Denver since 1965, is a legal scholar and expert in international law. He is the founding director and director emeritus of the International Legal Studies Program; director of the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law; and was previously a United States Delegate to the World Federation of the United Nations.

Billiards player Pankaj Advani, cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Metropolitan Bishop of the Mar Thomas Syrian Church of India Philipose Mar Chrysostom and former Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin (1999-2004) were among the other eminent personalities selected for the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honor. Kadakin has been honored posthumously. 

Archaeologist Ramachandran Nagaswamy, painter Laxman Pai and musicians Arvind Parikh and Sharda Sinha were also named for the Padma Bhushan. 

Famous south Indian film composer and musician Illaiyaraja, classical musician Ghulam Mustafa Khan and thinker P. Parameswaran have been selected for the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honor, the government announced Jan. 25.

A total of 85 people have been selected for Padma awards this year, including three Padma Vibhushan, nine Padma Bhushan, and 73 Padma Shri awards. Fourteen awardees are women, and 16 are foreigners or non-resident Indians. Three people have been honored posthumously.

The awards are given in various disciplines and activities, including the arts, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports and civil service.

While the Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, the Padma Bhushan is given for distinguished service of high order. The Padma Shri is granted for distinguished service in any field. 

These awards are conferred by the president of India at ceremonial functions held at Rashtrapati Bhavan here, each year in March and April.  

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