Image: Padma Awards recipients from Nagaland.
Morung Express News
A total of 15 personalities representing the state of Nagaland have been honoured with Padma Awards so far. Out of this, two are Padma Bhushan, considered the third highest civilian honours of the country, while the rest - 13 are Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award.
The Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day, were instituted in the year 1954. In the matter of precedence, the Bharat Ratna is considered the highest civilian award of the country followed is by Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
In 2020, the former Chief Minister of Nagaland as well as former Governor, Dr Senayangba Chubatoshi Jamir, better known as Dr Sc Jamir, was conferred the Padma Bhushan for “Public Affairs.”
According to the Padma Awards Dashboard hosted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the first Padma awardee from Nagaland was Rev L Kijungluba Ao. He was conferred the ‘Padma Shri’ in 1976 in the field of ‘Social Works.’ Chubalemla Ao (1981) was the second recipients in the same field.
However, it was later brought to notice from the family members of an awardee that there was a previous recipient before 1976.
The recipient was Late Thepfürüya Haralu (T Haralu), who was conferred the Padma Shri in 1964 in the field of ‘Civil Service.’ He received the award 1964 while serving as the Assistant Political Officer (APO), in Bomdila, Kameng District of the then North-East Frontier Agency (Arunachal Pradesh).
He later became the first Deputy Commissioner of the then undivided Kameng District constituted in 1965 as per the ‘Gazetteer of India - Arunachal Pradesh - East Kameng West Kameng and Tawang Districts’ (1996).
An official report of the proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on March 22, 1971 informed that Late Haralu later served as Secretary, Agriculture and Forests, Nagaland Government and finally as the Deputy Commissioner, Kohima (May 1967-Aug.68). He resigned from the Administrative Service in November, 1968 and was elected to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly in 1969 where he became the Leader of the Opposition. He died in early 1970s at the age of 50.
On closer examination, it was found that Late Haralu name was listed as a recipient from the state of Andhra Pradesh on the dedicated Padma Awards' Dashboard maintained by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
His name is listed as 'Thepfoorya Haralu' and erroneously designated as an awardee from the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Accordingly, in the correct chronological order of awardees in the light of the new information, Thepfürüya Haralu (T Haralu) is the first Padma award recipient from the state. He was conferred Padma Shri in 1964 for 'Civil Service.' The second recipient was Rev L Kijungluba Ao in the field of ‘Social Works' in 1976. Chubalemla Ao (1981) was the third recipient in the same field. (see table)
The following year, Rani Gaidinliu was honoured with the first Padma Bhushan from the state for ‘Social Works.’
In other fields, educationist Mayangnokcha Ao was the first one to get Padma Shri for his contribution to ‘Literature and Education’ while Sentila T Yanger (2008) and K Asungba Sangtam (2009) were honoured for ‘Art’ and ‘Public Affairs’ respectively.
None from the state has been conferred with either Bharat Ratna or Padma Vibhushan, the highest and 2nd highest civilian honours of the country respectively.
Padma Awards Winners from Nagaland