Four from Vidarbha win the prestigious Padma Shri award

Amar Ashok Jajoo | Jan 26, 2018 10:37

From Left: Gangadhar Pantawane, Dr Rani Bang, Dr Abhay Bang and late Sampat Ramteke.

Four persons from Vidarbha – Dr Abhay and Dr Rani Bang, Late Sampat Ramteke and Gangadhar Pantawane – have been honoured with the Padma Shri award by the Governemt of India for the year 2018. The names of the recipients of Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri were announced by the government on Thursday.

For the people

Social activists Dr Abhay and Dr Rani Bang head the NGO – Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH). They have been awarded for their relentless work over the years in the health sector, particularly for the poor people in the Gadchiroli district. The couple’s approach to reduce infant mortality has been praised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and  UNICEF and is being imitated across India and some parts of Africa.

Man on a mission

When Late Sampat Ramteke’s son Harshal was diagoned with the Sickle Cell disease (SCD), he understood the need of awareness regarding the same. In 1991, late Sampat Ramteke founded the Sickle Cell Society of India (SCSI) to raise awareness about the disease in the country. He strived for almost 30 years to do the same and for the welfare of people suffering from SCD. Ramteke, who passed away last year, was nominated twice for the Padma Shri award but didn’t win. He has been awarded posthumously this year.

Power of Words

Born, brought up and educated in Nagpur, veteran Dalit litterateur loved writing since childhood. Pantawane taught to students in Aurangabad for more than 25 years and also launched ‘Asmitadarsh’ – a journal which made Marathi Dalit literature a widespread movement and also highlighted the problems and sufferings of the community. He has written several books, one which also includes – Muknayak – a biography of Dr BR Ambedkar.