IMPHAL, January 25: Noted Khongjom Parba singer, Khumanthem Ningol Nameirakpam Ongbi Ibemni Devi (87) has been selected as an awardee of the Padma Shri in the category of music. The famous oral balladeer hails from a family of performing artistes and is a recipient of various grants and awards including the Manipur State Kala Akademi award (1989), Certificate of Honour (1991) conferred by the state level committee of Republic Day celebration of Manipur, Sangeet Natak Akademi award (2004) and the Sangeet Ratna of the Manipur Sahitya Parishad (2005).
Apart from Nameirakpam Ibemni, 3 other notable artistes from the North Eastern states have been also found mention in the award list. Late Dr. Bhupen Hazarika will be conferred the Padma Vubhusan posthumously while Sunil Janah of Assam (photography) has been conferred a Padma Shri in the arts category and Dr. Ralte L. Thanmawia of Mizoram will be conferred the Padma Shri for the category of Literature and Education.
This year the President has approved 109 awards comprising 5 Padma Vibhushan, 27 Padma Bhushan and 77 Padma Shri Awards. It may be noted that the Padma Awards which is the country’s highest civilian awards, are conferred in three categories: Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in all disciplines or fields of activities including art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service. The ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.The awards are conferred by the President of India at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhawan sometime around March/ April.