Nepal’s ophthalmologist Dr Sanduk Ruit and Myanmar’s well-known author, thinker and conservationist Dr Thant Myint – U are among this year’s recipients of Padma Shri awards announced by Indian government on the eve of the 69th Republic Day.
Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan. Awarded by the Government of India, it is announced every year on India’s Republic Day.
Dr Sanduk Ruit is an eye surgeon from Nepal who has restored the sight of over 100,000 people across Africa and Asia using small-incision cataract surgery. He is also a founder of the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology.
In 1969, Ruit graduated from Siddhartha Vanasthali School in Kathmandu, Nepal and later was further educated in India.
He studied MBBS from King George’s Medical College, Lucknow from 1972 to 1976. And from 1981 he studied at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.
He also studied in the Netherlands, Australia, and the United States, and was mentored by Australian ophthalmologist Professor Fred Hollows.
Well-known author, thinker and conservationist from Myanmar Dr Thant Myint – U is the recipient of Padma Shri award in the public affairs category.
Thant Myint-U was educated at Harvard and Cambridge University and later taught history for several years as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
He has also served on three United Nations peacekeeping operations, in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat in New York.
He is the author of a personal history of Burma and penned several books including The River of Lost Footsteps, Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia, etc.
Padma Awards were instituted in 1954 to be awarded to citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the Arts, Education, Industry, Literature, Science, Sports, Medicine, Social Service and Public Affairs.
It has also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who were not citizens of India but did contribute in various ways to India.
President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday approved the award of 85 Padma awards.