On 9 November, President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Padma awards to 119 recipients in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various disciplines involving an element of public service.
On this backdrop, a photo of a female recipient collecting the award from the president is viral on social media. Netizens claim that the woman is Nouf al-Marwaai of Saudi Arabia, who became her country's first yoga teacher and received Padma Shri for propagating it there. Netizens also claim that the Indian media won't show it out of the fear of the radical jihadis here.
Indian Ministry of Ayush shared the photo and captioned, "Nouf Marwaai, Saudi Arabia's first woman #yoga master, was recently felicitated with the Padma Shri Award for her contribution in spreading the message of Yoga across the world. @rashtrapatibhvn".
Following the Twitter post by the Ministry of Ayush, the photo went viral.
A Twitter user shared the photo with a similar claim. The caption reads in English, "Don't retweet, don't like it...but don't ignore it."
Nouf al-Marwaai of Saudi Arabia was conferred the Padma Shri award in 2021 for propagating yoga in her country.
The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the claim and found it to be misleading. The viral photo is old. Nouf al-Marwaai received the Padma Shri award in 2018.
We conducted a Google reverse image search of the viral photo.
We found a Twitter post of the President of India where he shared the same picture on 20 March 2018. The image was captioned, "#PresidentKovind presents Padma Shri to Ms Nouf Almarwaai, first certified Yoga Instructor in Saudi Arabia. She played an instrumental role for legalising Yoga in Saudi Arabia. Born with an auto-immune disease, she overcame the challenge through Yoga and Ayurveda".
We found a Twitter post by Nouf Almarwaai where she retweeted the President of India's tweet on 15 January 2019. She captioned it, "Thank you @rashtrapatibhvn for the honour. I dedicate this award to my beloved country Saudi Arabia& all the people who supported me. I pray to God that KSA & India prosper & flourish in all fields as India is my second home".
We also found another Twitter post by Nouf Almawaai where she retweeted the Ministry of Ayush's tweet on 10 November. She captioned it, "Thank you @moayush. I got my Padmashri Award in 2018 thank you for the recognition again".
We also searched for media reports on the internet. According to an Alarabiya News article published on 25 March 2018, Marwaai was awarded the Padma Shri award, India's fourth-highest civilian award, on 19 March 2018. She collected the award in recognition of her efforts to popularise yoga in Saudi Arabia and getting it recognised as a sports activity.
According to a Saudi Gazette article published on 27 March 2018, Marwaai was the first-ever Saudi national to receive the highest civilian award from India. She was later felicitated by the Indian Consulate General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh for being bestowed the prestigious Padma Shri Award by the Indian president.
To sum up, Nouf al-Marwaai of Saudi Arabia did receive the Padma Shri award from the President of India for her contribution in propagating yoga in Saudi Arabia, but that was in 2018, not recently. Therefore, the viral claim is misleading.
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