63 years old Khandu Wangchuk Bhutia from Namchi, South Sikkim makes it to the list of awardees for the fourth highest civilian award in India ‘Padma Shri’. He is being conferred with the prestigious award in Art Category.
Bhutia is one of the most prominent independent Thanka artist from Sikkim and has been practicing his art since the age of 15. Bhutia acquired the art under the guidance of his masters Zapa Acho and Phuntshok Sangpo and has passed the techniques and teaching of Thanka Art to almost 400 young minds in sikkim
He has also been awarded with various awards and accolades. He has been conferred with the National Award in handicrafts from the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India in the year 1981, Kala Nedhi Award in the year 2006 and the Bharat Excellence award from the Friendship Forum of India. He currently resides at Namchi, South Sikkim and is married to Tshering Diki and has a son and two daughters.
Speaking with Sikkim Chronicle he expressed his happiness on being selected for the Padma Shri award. He said “I received a phone call today morning about the award and felt extremely happy and humbled”.
This year nine prominent figures from Northeast India in the field of art, literature and education, social work, trade and industry have been selected for the award.
Along with Khandu Wangchuk Bhutia, T Senka Ao from Nagaland for Literature and education, Shakuntala Choudhary from Assam for Social work, Lourebam Bino Devi from Manipur for Art, Shyamamani Devi from Manipur for Trade and industry, Dhaneswar Engti from Assam for Literature and education, V L Nghaka from Mizoram for Art, Konsam Ibomcha from Manipur for art and Badaplin War from Meghalaya for Literature and education are among the northeastern awardees.
Padma Awards are among the highest civilian awards of the country and are conferred in three categories, namely Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/fields of activities, viz, – art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguish service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
These 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 which comprises of 4 Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri awards. 34 of the awardees are women and the list also include 10 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 13 Posthumous awardees.