Azad among 5 from J&K, Ladakh get Padma Awards

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 25: Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and renowned Sanskrit scholar Prof Vishwamurti Shastri among three persons from Jammu Kashmir and two from Ladakh Union Territory have been selected for Padma Awards for the year 2022.
Ghulam Nabi Azad has been awarded Padma Bhushan while Prof Vishwamurti Shastri from Jammu, Faisal Ali Dar from Kashmir, Akhone Asgar Ali Basharat and Tsering Namgyal, both from Ladakh, have been awarded Padma Shri for their distinguished services in different fields.
While Mr Azad has been selected for Padma Bhushan Award in the category of Public Affairs, Prof Vishwamurti Shastri and Akhone Asgar Ali Basharat have been awarded for their distinguished service in the field of literature and education. Faisal Ali Dar and Tsering Namgyal have been awarded for their distinguished service in the field of Sports and Art, respectively.
The Padma Awards- one of the highest civilian awards of the country, are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year. These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year.
This year, the President has approved conferment of 128 Padma Awards including four Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards. 34 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 10 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 13 Posthumous awardees.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has been awarded Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order, was the 7th Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir State from 2005 to 2008. He also served as the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha until February 2021. He remained Parliamentary Affairs Minister and the Minister of Health and Family Welfare in Manmohan Singh led UPA Government. He remained Minister in all the Congress led Governments at Centre since 1980.
Prof Vishwamurti Shastri of Jammu is a renowned Sanskrit scholar, astrologer and Member Board of Directors of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. He is former Principal of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan Jammu and Director of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Gurukul, Katra. He is also chairman of J&K Dharmarth Trust Advisory Committee.
Prof Shastri has written a number of books in Sanskrit and organized more than hundred non- formal Sanskrit teaching programmes in J&K. He is well known for delivering religious discourse from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan, which are telecast live on national TV channels during Navratras.
Faisal Ali Dar-in his early 30s-hailing from Bandipora district in Kashmir, has been awarded Padma Shri in the sports category for his contribution to the field over the years. Talking to the Excelsior, he said that the award will change the narrative related to sports in J&K and as a result, more and more youngsters will be attracted to the field of sports.
A former international martial arts champion, Faisal is a coach and has established a martial arts training academy in his home district where he has been training youngsters who have over time brought laurels to J&K. He is also credited to have trained young world kickboxing champion Tajamul Islam including a 7-year-old Asian Karate Gold medalist Hashim Mansoor.
Back in his town, he is referred to as ‘Master Faisal’ and has been tirelessly working for the last over a decade in the field and has been able to produce, train quality players. At ‘Ali Sports Academy,’ which Faisal heads, over 4000 kids have been so far trained in different martial arts.
69-year old Tsering Namgyal is from Hinju village in Wanla, Leh and engaged in wood curving activities for the last 40 years. He had 10 well trained students who learnt wood curving from him. Tsering has worked in different monasteries of Ladakh and also in foreign countries like Vietnam where his wood curving work can be seen.
Akhone Asgar Ali Basharat of village Karkitcho in Kargil district is a renowned scholar who made great contributions in promoting rich Balti language and literature in Ladakh.