Society Magazine

Padma Awards 2022 - Padma Shri Acharya Chandana Ji

Posted on the 25 January 2022 by Sampathkumar Sampath

Very unlikely that you may identify this noble person -  simply clad in a white sari, always accompanied by a smile on her face, Acharya Shri Chandanaji is the vision of peace. She unrestrictedly showers her blessings and kindness. A ray of sunshine in the sorrow-struck lives of millions, Acharya Shriji is regarded as one of the rarest, most precious souls in the history of Jain spirituality. Fondly called Tai Maharaj, she is truly an exceptional jewel.  You may spot her on the dusty ground of Bihar, surrounded by the poor and sick, and you’ll see how she warms the cockles of their hearts. Or you may see her walking confidently on the delicate rubble of earthquake-shattered Kutch, her arm around an orphan, pain in her eyes, as she swiftly facilitates shelter for those who lost their families and hope to Mother Nature.

Padma Awards 2022 - Padma Shri Acharya Chandana ji 

I am moved –- please hold your conscience, do you know this person  or would have ever cared to know what  she had done great things changing the society - have more reasons to hail the present Govt and our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modiji; always feel that somewhere our priorities went wrong and that people started looking at only Cine stars, Cricketers and politicians as heroes and noteworthy persons in the society  .. ..

There are people who have been doing yeoman service to the Society but of whom little had been known – are now in the limelight receiving the honor and adding value to the awards.   Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service). The awards seek to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved. The Government of India instituted two civilian awards-Bharat Ratna & Padma Vibhushan in 1954. The latter had three classes namely Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg and Tisra Varg. These were subsequently renamed as Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri vide Presidential Notification issued on January 8, 1955.  

Veerayatan stands on the three pillars of Seva (service to humanity), Shiksha (education for all), and Sadhana (self-development) to inspire and empower lives, reads its web.  Veerayatan is derived from the words ‘Veer’ for Lord Mahavir and ‘aayatan’ which means holy place. In keeping with its meaning, the organization unanimously serves all socio-economic-religious classes. Run by the radiant, Acharya Shri Chandanaji, it was inspired by the teachings of Tirthankar Mahavir and Rashtrasant Amar Muniji Maharaj.

Since its inception in 1973, Veerayatan has transformed several lives; those who weren’t as much as acknowledged as part of society. It has served as a beacon of hope for millions. It has facilitated incredible impact through extraordinary service towards alleviating human suffering.

Padma Awards 2022: The Centre today  unveiled the list of Padma awardees for 2022, with Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra, Paralympic athlete Avani Lekhara among those awarded the Padma Shri. Paralympic athlete Devendra Jhajharia was the only sportsperson awarded with the Padma Bhushan. The other sportspersons awarded with Padma Shri are Sumit Antil, Pramod Bhagat, Sankaranarayana Menon Chundayil, Faisal Ali Dar, Vandana Kataria, Brahmanand Sankhwalkar.

The awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year. This year the President has approved conferment of 128 Padma Awards including 2 duo case (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one). The list this year comprises 4 Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards. 34 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 10 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 13 Posthumous awardees.

Those conferred with Padma Vibushan are :   1 Ms. Prabha Atre Art Maharashtra 2 Shri Radheyshyam Khemka (Posthumous) Literature and Education Uttar Pradesh 3 General Bipin Rawat (Posthumous) Civil Service Uttarakhand 4 Shri Kalyan Singh (Posthumous) Public Affairs Uttar Pradesh.

As we read, for sure, we are to hear more about persons who have been rendering service to Society but have not had great recognition thus far.   Today, we are reading about Acharya Chandana ji.  .. 

Padma Awards 2022 - Padma Shri Acharya Chandana ji

Chandana ji, a revered moni is known as ‘Tai Maharaj’ -  belongs to the Amarmuni Sampradaya which reportedly is the only Jain monastic lineage to have promoted a nun to the rank of Acharya.   She founded Veerayatan—a non-profit, non-governmental service organization—which has centers in more than ten countries.  At the age of fourteen she renounced the world, took Jain diksha, and became Sadhvi Chandana. She made a twelve-year vow of silence to study Jain scriptures, the meaning and purpose of life, and different religions. She obtained the degrees of Darshanacharya from Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai; Sahitya Ratna from Parayg; and a master's degree from the Pathardi Dharmik Pariksha Board. Chandana gained the title of Shastri in the subjects of Navya-Nyaya and Vyakaran from Banaras Hindu University.

Acharya Chandanaji has been rendering  humanitarian work in a poverty-stricken area in the state of Bihar, from 1974.   In 1998, Chandana traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, where she offered the opening prayer at the National Federation of Asian Indians of North America convention and was honoured for her contributions to peace. Her organization - Veerayatan operates hospitals, schools, colleges, and vocational training programs for the underprivileged throughout India. Veerayatan runs an eye hospital at Rajgir; a charitable school at Lachuar; and a BEd college at Pawapuri. In the Kutch district, Veerayatan runs two primary and one secondary educational institutions, an institute of pharmacy offering undergraduate and graduate programs, an institute of management and computer applications offering undergraduate programs, an institute of engineering, management, and research offering graduate and diploma programs. Veerayatan initiated emergency relief camps and rehabilitation programs in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat,  the tsunami in 2004, during the Surat floods in 2006. and the Kosi River floods in 2008.

We bow to Acharya and appreciate the Central Govt and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji in ensuring recognition of National awards for the richly deserving people.

More to come !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar25th Jan 2022.

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