Awards
This year, it is Lakshmikutty – popularly known as the grandmother of the jungle and MR Rajagopal, who is known as the Medical Messaiah, who have received Padma awards.

The Central government announced the list of Padma awardees late on Thursday evening and the list includes people who have proved their merit in different walks of life.

Read full list of awardees here:

While the list includes renowned music director Isaignani Ilaiyaraja who has been awarded Padma Vibhushan, the list also includes two people from Kerala.

This year, it is Lakshmikutty – popularly known as the grandmother of the jungle and MR Rajagopal, who is known as the Medical Messaiah, who have brought the glory of Padma awards to their home state.

Lakshmikutty is a 75-year-old tribal woman who lives deep in the forest of Kallar in Thiruvananthapuram district. She is a poet, poison healer and teacher at Kerala Folklore Academy.  

Lakshmikkutty prepares as many as 500 herbal medicines from her memory and have helped cure thousands of people in a variety of diseases and snake and insect bites.

All her knowledge on herbal treatment was passed on from her mother, who worked as a midwife. 

Many fondly refer to her as ‘Vanamuthassi’ (Grandmother of the jungle in Malayalam) and she gives lectures on natural medicine at various institutions across the southern states.

It was in 1995 that Lakshmikutti got noticed by those outside her forest when she received the ‘Naattu Vaidya Rathna’ award (award for naturopathy) from the Kerala government.

Her persistence made her the only tribal girl from her area to attend school in the 1950s.

In March 2017, TNM visited Lakshmikutty at her small hut. Read about her inspiring journey here.

M R Rajagopal hailing from Kerala is a physician who specialises in palliative care and is also known as the father of palliative care in India. Palliative care is a pain relief process for people suffering from terminal illnesses.

He also set up India's first palliative care unit at Kozhikode in Kerala. He is also one of the physicians globally recognised for his safe anesthesiology procedures and is ranked among the top 30 anesthesiologists globally.

He has also done a great service to the society by increasing the accessibility and affordability of pain relief drugs. A documentary has been made on Rajagopal titled  'Hippocratic: 18 Experiments in Gently Shaking the World'.