Shanti Devi, a grassroot level social worker from Odisha who has been serving humanity for the last seven decades, has won Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, for her commendable social works.
Known for her philanthropic activities and for dedicating her life for the cause of social work for seven long decades, Shanti Devi from Koraput districts is one of the several Padma Shri Awardees of 2021.
It is her indomitable spirit to offer every minute of her life for social works that has earned her the moniker ‘Koraputia Gandhi’ (Koraput’s Gandhi)
As many as six personalities from Odisha will receive Padma awards for their notable contributions towards the welfare of society.
Shanti Devi was awarded Padma Shri for her distinguished service in the field of Social Work.
Shanti Devi, who was born on April 18, 1934, leads a voluntary body called Seva Samaj with an aim to rehabilitate the orphans and destitute children and provide them education and vocational training. She has set up an Ashram at Gunpur for this purpose.
Prior to this, she had started a small Ashram in Koraput and later established the Seva Samaj in Rayagada for the development of the girl children of the area.
This feisty 87 years old Shanti Devi is a household name in undivided Koraput district of Odisha.
She was greatly influenced by the ideology of Vinoba Bhave. She along with her husband Ratan Dash shifted to Koraput district. Then she was 17 years old. The couple first set up an Ashram at a tribal dominated village Khambesu Shankalpadada in 1951.
The couple dedicated their lives for betterment of orphaned children and distressed women. She still stays in Gunupur town. And she has founded an orphanage named Seva Samaj. Here tribal orphaned children and their education are taken care of. As of now, she is running four girls’ Ashrams at Limapada, Jabharaguda, Gunpur and Rayagada town in Raigarh district.
She also awarded in 1994 as Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Development & Welfare of Women And Children.
Padma awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year.
Padma Awards – one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz.- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. ‘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.