Jain community has awarded 7 Padmas in 2015
This year's Padma list (2015) were seven members of the Jain community. Barely 0.4% of the country's
population, Jains have always punched well above their weight. In this year's Padma list, the community accounted for about 7% of the 104 awardees.
The community has scooped one Padma Vibhushan and six Padma Shris, covering a variety of fields including philanthropy, traditional and performing arts and administration.
The Jain community has always nurtured exceptional talent whether it is
eminent scientist Vikram Sarabhai, who is considered the father of the country's space programme, or poet, thinker and spiritual leader
Banarsidas who composed the magnum opus Ardhakathanaka, the first ever autobiography in Hindi literature.
Jains top the charts in literacy and work participation among males, the with figures significantly higher than the national average. For
instance, the Jain community has the highest literacy rate at 94.1%, above the national average of 64.8%. The gap between male and female
literacy is the lowest among Jains at 6.8% compared to the national average of 21% and work participation among males is also the highest at 55.2%.
So, it is no surprise that this year's Padma list includes Dr D Veerandra Heggade who has been awarded Padma Vibhushan while Rahul Jain,
Ravindra Jain, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Veerendra Raj Mehta, Tarak Mehta and Mitha Lal Mehta (posthumously) have been awarded Padma Shri.
Dr Heggade is a philanthropist and head of the Dharamsthala temple, assuming the mantle at the age of 20 years. He has institutionalized his
charitable work, managing 40 educational institutions including colleges for ayurveda, naturopathy, dental, engineering, medical, law and
business management. Dr Heggade has also worked for rural employment and skill development in partnership with public and private companies. His
organization has worked in diverse fields ranging from sustainable energy, alcohol abuse and rehabilitation to preservation of the country's temples.
Former bureaucrats on the honour roll this year include the late Mitha Lal Mehta and Veerendra Raj Mehta. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who
has regaled audiences with films like 'Khamoshi', 'Devdas' and 'Black', is joined by music composer Ravindra Jain, known for his soulful
compositions and bhajans. The blind artiste has been responsible for numerous commercially successful songs in films as well.
Contrasting with Bhansali's opulence is humourist Tarak Mehta's earthy wit. The eminent Gujarati humourist has written, acted in and directed
many plays. The seventh recipient is Rahul Jain, a leading expert of the traditional textile arts of India. Currently working as an advisor with
the Calico Museum of Textiles, Rahul Jain is India's most acclaimed design practitioner in the field of traditional brocade-weaving.