Two noted personalities from Mizoram were honoured with Padmi Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award on Monday.
India’s oldest working journalist and war-veteran Lalbiakthanga Pachuau and litterateur C. Kamlova received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind during the award ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Pachuau and Kamlova were among the 141 selected for the Padma Award in 2020.
While Pachuau received the ward in literature and education-journalism, C. Kamlova received it in the literature and education category.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other Union ministers attended the event.
Pachuau, who is known to be the oldest working journalist in the country, is also a world war-II veteran and social worker.
Born in 1927 at Saichal village (now in Saitual district), 80 km away from the state capital Aizawl, Pachuau joined Assam Regiment of the British Indian Army in 1945 and fought against the Japanese force for the British during World War-II and won many military medals.
He started his career in journalism with a relatively small paper Zoram Thupuan in 1953 and then started editing his own local daily Zoram Tlangau since 1970.
The 94-year-old soldier turned journalist was declared “oldest working journalist in the country” by Mizoram’s Information and Public Relation Department and Mizoram Journalist Association (MJA), an umbrella organisation of all journalists in the state, in 2016.
Pachuau held the position of MJA president for three terms.
Pachuau was one of the founder members of the Association for Voluntary Blood Donation (AVBD) in Mizoram and once had become the president of the association.
He was the founder president of Mizoram Social Defence Union during the 1990s and campaigned vigorously against alcohol and drugs.
Pachuau said he was very glad to have received the award, which he never expected.
“I am glad to be awarded with Padma Shri. I never expected such an award in my life. I am deeply indebted to the Centre, my journalist colleagues and well-wishers for their support to enable me to receive the prestigious award,” he said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also personally congratulated him on winning the award during the ceremony.
Pachuau said that he has had a passion for journalism since he was in the Army in the 1950s.
He said he will continue with the profession till he can work.