President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday evening presented the prestigious Padma Awards to 89 winners at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Regarded as one of the highest civilian awards of the country, these are conferred in three different categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
While 85 recipients were selected for the prestigious awards, the one that became the talk of the town was Smt Lekshmikutty, who was presented with Padma Shri for her distinguished service in medicine.
About Smt Lekshmikutty
Hailing from the indigenous tribal community of the Western Ghats in the Trivandrum district of Kerala, Smt. Lekshmikutty is a traditional medicinal healer with a vast knowledge of the medicinal herbs of Western Ghats.
Despite various social restrictions prevailing in the 50s, she broke the shackles of what binds a girl in a tribal community and was the first girl in her area to attend school. Her mother, a tribal healer herself supported her immensely in pursuing education.
Attaining the traditional medicinal knowledge from her mother, she has treated thousands of people with natural medicine, especially for snake and insects bites. She has saved the lives of almost 300 from snake and insects’ bites alone, whereas treated more than 1000 people for other diseases.
In fact, other than preparing 500 herbal medicines from memory, Lekshmikutty also gives lectures on natural medicines at institutions across the Southern States. She teaches at the Kerala Folklore Academy and is also associated with the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute, Palode Trivandrum in the ethnobotanical studies in formulating medicinal drugs from traditional knowledge. She even lends her support by sharing her expertise to the research students working in the field of ethnobotany, traditional knowledge and folklore of various universities and institutes.
For her incredible service in the field of medicine, she was awarded ‘Nattu Vaidya Ratna’ in 1995. The Kerala State Biodiversity Board honoured her for her efforts in the protection of traditional medicinal knowledge. Smt Lekshimikutty has received more than 35 awards and honours.
About Padma Awards
The Padma awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.
These awards are eligible for all persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex, which is the sole reason for keeping the nomination open to the public, with the possibility of even self-nomination.
The award seeks to recognise works of distinction and for distinguished and exceptional achievements/service in all fields of activities/disciplines, viz,- social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.