The Padma Awards for 2009 were announced in the Capital on Republic Day eve. Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Express, has been conferred the Padma Bhushan. Naidunia Indore’s Abhay Chhajlani, Naidunia Delhi Editor Alok Mehta, and veteran broadcaster and one of the most recognised voices on Indian radio, Ameen Sayani, have been conferred the Padma Shri.
Shekhar Gupta has been honoured for his contribution to the field of journalism. He has been anchoring the popular show ‘Walk the Talk’ on NDTV 24x7. As a reporter with The Indian Express, he had broken the news of the Nellie massacre in Assam. On being congratulated for the honour bestowed upon him, Gupta said, “It’s really for the paper, though I am a direct beneficiary.”
Abhay Chhajlani has been conferred the Padma Shri in the journalism discipline. He was elected President of the Indian Newspaper Society for 2002-03.
Alok Mehta is a veteran journalist and was the Editor of Outlook Hindi prior to joining Naidunia. He has also been a former President of the Editors Guild of India. Mehta is being conferred the Padma Shri in the literature and education discipline.
Ameen Sayani had hosted the popular Bollywood music countdown show ‘Binaca Geetmala’ (later known as ‘Cibaca Geetmala’) for several years and has been a popular radio host. He has been conferred the Padma Shri in the commentary and broadcasting discipline.
In all, 133 Padma Awards have been announced, of which 10 are Padma Vibhushan, 30 are Padma Bhushan, and 93 are Padma Shri.
Quite a few sportspersons find mention in this year’s Padma Awards – Abhinav Bindra (Padma Bhushan); MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Pankaj Advani and Balbir Singh Khullar (Padma Shri).
It may be recalled that three well-known media personalities were conferred the Padma Shri in 2008 – Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Dua and Barkha Dutt.
Padma Awards ‘08: Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Dua, Barkha Dutt honoured