These are virtues that we wish every child carries. This year’s Bal Puraskar awardees carry virtues in abundance. 32 children from across the country have been awarded the ‘Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar’ for their exceptional abilities and outstanding accomplishments in innovation, scholastics, sports, arts, culture, and social service and bravery.
The awardees are from 32 districts of 21 States/UTs. Seven awards have been given in the field of Art & Culture and nine for Innovation and five for Scholastic Achievements. Seven children have won in Sports category, three for Bravery and one child has been honoured for her efforts in the field of Social Service.
Each award carries a medal, a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000, a certificate, and a citation. In this article, we bring you the list of the children being awarded and a summary of their achievements.
1. Ameya Lagdu (12)
Awarded for her exceptional contribution in the field of dance, Ameya, a resident of Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, has been learning Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi since the age of four. She has also performed over 100 times in countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal and even Vietnam.
2. Hrudaya R Krishnan (17)
This gifted Veena player from Thiruvananthapuram is a scholarship holder from the Centre of Cultural Resources and Training for instrumental music. Hruduya is also the recipient of several awards, including the Ujjwala Balayam, Deen Dayal Sparsh, etc.
3. Vyom Ahuja (11)
This young boy from Lucknow plays nine different instruments – the flute, the mouth organ, drums, the synthesiser, conch, table, guitar, the Doumbek (Goblet drum), and the Glockenspiel. Vyom is also known as a versatile flute beatboxing performer. He has performed in more than 300 shows.
4. Anurag Ramola (16)
A resident of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, Anurag has been selected for the award for his achievements in the field of art and culture. Conferred with 19 international honours, 38 national awards, and over 70 state and district awards, his artwork was also displayed in an exhibition at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi last year. He has also received the National Child Artist Award and National Art Excellence Award among other awards.
5. Tanuj Samaddar (16)
This talented artist hails from Kamrup district of Assam. He is known for his work with colour pencils, oil, and watercolours. He also works very deftly with charcoal and acrylic. His artworks have been exhibited in renowned art galleries worldwide, and he has won 10 international and 35 national awards in the field.
6. Venish Keisham (15)
Venish is from Manipur’s Imphal West district and has already bagged several state, national and international level awards for her outstanding works in the field of art. A student of class-11 of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Venish aspires to become an art professor and loves to paint and sing.
7. Souhardhya De (16)
A resident of Medinipur West district of West Bengal, Souhardhya is already an accomplished Indian author of historical fiction and mythology. Besides this, he is also an art and culture columnist. Souhardya also holds the distinction of being the youngest ever Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
8. Jyoti Kumari (16)
Jyoti suddenly came into the limelight during the COVID-19-induced lockdown for cycling over 1200 kilometres from Gurugram to Bihar in May last year. She undertook this seven-day journey with her debilitated father as her pillion rider. She aspires to be a national level cyclist and has been receiving praise from all across the globe for her feat.
9. Kunwar Divyansh (16)
All of 13 when the incident occurred three years ago, Divyansh has been awarded for bravely defending his five-year-old sister and seven other classmates of hers from a raging bull. He stood between the bull and the young kids and managed to chase the animal away- suffering several fractures in the encounter. The animal was running wild near a bus station in his town of Makhdumpur. This teenager from Barabanki district has already been awarded several state and national level awards for his bravery.
10. Kameshwar Jagannath Waghmare (14)
This young boy from Maharashtra is being awarded for his bravery in February 2020, when he saved two of his friends from drowning. What is noteworthy is that both the boys he saved were older than Kameshwar himself. This award comes 11 months after his heroic act. He aspires to become a national level swimmer.
11. Rakesh Krishna K (15)
Rakesh is a young innovator from Bannur in Puttur taluk. He invented the multi-seed sowing machine called the ‘Seedographer’, for systematic cultivation. The Karnataka state government has also appreciated him for his innovation.
12. Shreenabh Agrawal (17)
This young genius from Nagpur has many achievements to his credit. He won first prize in ‘The International Youth Math Challenge’, one of the biggest Maths competitions for students worldwide. His contribution to the agricultural sector has also transformed thousands of farmers’ lives. He has already published more than 200 scientific articles, two books and seven research papers.
13. Veer Kashyap (10)
All of 10 years of age, Veer built a board game during the lockdown induced by COVID-19 pandemic. Veer’s board game is known as ‘Corona Yuga. It educates and creates awareness about the Coronavirus. He designed this board game with materials he found lying around at home. The game reflects the quarantine period, the importance of using hand sanitiser, social distancing, wearing masks, etc. and has received appreciation from all quarters.
14. Namya Joshi (13)
A resident of Ludhiana, Namya received many accolades from Satya Nadella for creating course material for teachers using Minecraft. She has trained over 100 teachers through her innovative game-based learning. She is also the youngest recipient of the Global E-Innovation award 2019. Click here to read more about her work.
15. Archit Rahul Patil (14)
A resident of Jalgaon in Maharastra, Archit has developed a life-saving, low-cost, silicone device called the ‘Post-Partum Haemorrhage Cup’, which calculates obstetric blood loss accurately in real-time and helps save the lives of pregnant women.
16. Ayush Ranjan (15)
Hailing from East Sikkim district, Ayush is a serial innovator. His interest lies in software development, having developed many award-winning software for which he has been felicitated at the national level. His creations include DigiSmart Bin – a garbage billing platform that generates bills based on how much you throw, and MushroomArc – a Mushroom Artificial Intelligence (AI) Classifier, which classifies edible and poisonous mushrooms, thus saving lives.
17. Hemesh Chadalavada (14)
Hemesh’s amazing innovation allows one to monitor the whereabouts of Alzheimer patients. The smart wristband can keep track of the patient’s pulse and BP and can send an automatic alert to the caregiver and doctor concerned, in case of any abnormality. The device also has a GPS, which helps update the patient’s caregiver of his or her whereabouts. He is also the recipient of several state and national awards.
18. Chirag Bhansali (16)
Chirag has developed and launched a website called SwadeshiTech. It searches for alternatives for Chinese apps and products. It came right after the government crackdown on apps of Chinese origin.
19. Harmanjot Singh (13)
Having won under the innovation category, Harmanjot, a resident of Jammu, has been given this award for creating a mobile application relating to women’s safety during the COVID-19 lockdown. His application, named Raksha, was also selected for the prestigious Silicon Valley Code of Honor Certificate.
20. Mohammad Shadab (17)
Awarded for his excellence in academics, Mohammad is a student of class 11 at the Aligarh Muslim University’s school. During an interaction with the Prime Minister on 25 January 2021, he said he would join the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Mohammad is also the recipient of the US State department’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Programme.
21. Anand Kumar (17)
A resident of Kota, Anand is known for his excellence in Mathematics. Known as ‘Jupiter’ among his classmates, Anand won the Ramanujan Fellowship Award in 2020 for his exceptional display of mathematics prowess. He has also authored several papers on various mathematical concepts.
22. Avnesh Subham Pradhan (15)
Awarded for his excellence in academics, Avnesh is a resident of Bhubneshwar in Odisha. He has several awards to his credit and also won three consecutive gold medals in the Singapore and Asian School Math Olympiad.
23. Anuj Jain
Anuj from Harda in Madhya Pradesh has represented India on various platforms and has received the award in the Scholastic category. At the International Earth Science Olympiad, he bagged Gold, Silver and Bronze in three competitions. He has also been ranked among the top 1 per cent in the Standard Examination of Chemistry and 5th in the Mental Arithmetic (UCMAS) Competition.
24. Sonit Santosh Sisolekar (14)
Known as a geology prodigy, Sonit is among the youngest volcanologist and planetary geologists in India. His research on the effects of ionising radiations on the reddening of the soil on Mars even helped him win the NASA-CIS competition. He was also awarded the Best Scientist Award at the age of 11. He is also an accomplished table player who has received several awards for the same.
25. Prasiddhi Singh (7)
This year’s youngest awardee, Prasiddhi Singh is a social volunteer from Chengalpattu district in Tamil Nadu. She has been awarded for her work in social work. Founder of Prasiddhi Forest her name is also featured in the India Book of Records for being the youngest fruit forest creator in the country. She has already planted over 13,500 fruit trees and has created 13 fruit forests.
26. Savita Kumari (16)
Awarded for her excellence in sports, Savita is a very keen archer. A resident of Jharkhand, Savita has her eyes set on representing India at the Asian Games.
27. Arshiya Das (10)
Arshiya from Tripura has received an international gold medal, and she is also a national chess champion. Having begun playing chess at the age of only five, in 2019, she won a gold medal in the Asian School Chess Championship in Uzbekistan, and she also won a gold medal in the National School Chess Championship held at Raipur in under-9 category. She is also the youngest international rated player of the state with an ELO rating of 1053 in 2017.
28. Palak Sharma (13)
A resident of Indore in Madhya Pradesh has been chosen for the award under the sports category for her exceptional abilities in diving. Having won a gold medal in 2019 in an Asian diving championship, she has also represented Madhya Pradesh in six national-level tournaments and so far, won 12 gold and four silver medals in different categories.
29. Mohammad Rafey (16)
Mohammad is a gymnast from Uttar Pradesh who made India proud by winning the first-ever bronze medal in the 1st Junior Artistic Gymnastics Asian Cup held in Mongolia in 2019. He has also won several accolades at various National level competitions and championships.
30. Kamya Karthikeyan (13)
Kaamya Karthikeyan is the youngest person to conquer Mount Aconcagua and the youngest to ski from Mount Elbrus’s summit. This young mountaineering enthusiast wishes to climb the highest peaks in all the seven continents and ski to the North and South Poles.
31. Khushi Chirag Patel
The talented Khushi, a young skating champion, hails from Ahmedabad and has won numerous medals at districts and national level championships. She has also represented India at international championships.
32. Mantra Jitendar
Mantra from Rajkot is the youngest athlete from India to win two gold medals in swimming at the World Summer Games held at Abu Dhabi Special in 2019. Despite having down syndrome, Mantra took to the water at a very young age and pursued the sport since he was four years of age.
Here’s wishing each of these young awardees all the very best.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)