President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday handed over the Padma awards to 44 recipients. At a ceremony in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President conferred the Padma Vibhushan on mystic Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev and singer KJ Yesudas. The wife of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Sunder Lal Patwa received the honour on his behalf.

Those given with the Padma Bhushan were the inventor of the musical instrument ‘Mohan Veena’, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, professor of modern languages and Acharya of Kashi Vishvanath Temple, Devi Prasad Dwivedi, and Jain monk Jainacharya Ratnasundersuri Maharaja. Journalist Cho S Ramaswamy was also honoured with the award posthumously.

Among the recipients of the Padma Shri were chef Sanjeev Kapoor, singer Kailash Kher, Bollywood chronicler Bhawana Somaaya, former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal, Olympians Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik and Vikas Shive Gowda.

Among the “unsung heroes”, honouring whom was a central theme of the Padma awards this year, was school dropout Jitendra Haripal, who is known for Odisha’s most popular recorded song “Rangabati”. Ela Ahmad, 81, from Assam, who has been running the only women’s magazine in the northeast since 1970, and volunteer fire fighter Bipin Ganatra from West Bengal were also awarded.

Other Padma awardees included archaeologist Asoke Kumar Bhattacharyya (posthumously), writer of children’s literature Eli Ahmed, Shehnai maestro Krishna Ram Choudhary, telecom expert Tripuraneni Hanuman Chowdary, social worker Dattatrey Narayan and journalist Balbir Dutt.

The president also conferred the Padma Shri on painter Tilak Gitai, scientist Jitendra Nath Goswami who was part of the Chandrayaan mission, actor Sadhu Meher, transplant surgeon Mukut Minz, Odissi dancer Aruna Mohanty, Birkha Bahadur Subba Muringla who developed the Limboo language into its modern form and mridangam artist TK Murthy.