We were thrilled to see the names of our favourite Olympic stars Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar among this year’s Padma Shri awardees. But the list this year had bigger surprises to offer. Featuring a diversity which was welcome if not surprising, many of the names mentioned gave recognition to fields that are rarely applauded at the national level. Three female Padma Shri awardees in particular stood out for us!
1. Meenakshi Amma, “Granny with a sword”, Kalaripayattu Expert
Few women truly deserve the title of badass as much as she does. Meenakshi Amma, as she is affectionately called by the thousands of students she has trained, is one of oldest practitioners of an ancient Indian martial art. Originating from Kerala, Kalari is not as well-known as most other martial arts, but has a rich tradition in the south of India. So, if you’re at all intrigued by India’s very own Mr Miyagi, this video interview, which also shows Meenakshi Amma in action, is a must watch!