- Tulsi Gowda was bestowed with the Padma Shri on account of her indomitable will in preserving the environment and planting over 30,000 saplings over six decades.
- Harekala Hajabba – Ordinary orange vendor with an extraordinary spirit of making education accessible to the underprivileged. Builds school with a current strength of 175 students.
- One of the finest hockey players that the country has witnessed, MP Ganesh, past coach and captain of the Indian Hockey team was also awarded the Padma Shri
- Manjamma Jogati – Transgender folk dancer and first-ever transgender president of Karnataka Jaanapada Academy for performing arts gets recognized for her efforts aimed at popularising folk art forms observed in rural Karnataka, Maharashtra and a few segments of Andhra Pradesh.
Tribal icon from Honnali village, Tusli Gowda, popularly known as ‘Encyclopedia of Forests,’ was honoured with the Padma Shri for social work. The 77-year-old hails from an indigenous tribe in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. The award recognized her journey of planting over one lakh saplings, which started when she was merely 12 years of age.
Poverty struck Tulsi Gowda was barely 2 years of age when her father passed away. She tied the knot with Govinde Gowda when she was a minor. It all started when she was employed as a daily wage worker at a nursery where she bore the responsibility of taking care of seeds to be garnered and reaped at the Karnataka Forestry Department.
As an acknowledgement of her work and possession of a plethora of knowledge about medicinal plants, she was offered a permanent job at the department. Barefoot, the tribal environmentalist reaches Rashtrapati Bhawan to get felicitated by President Ramnath Kovind.
Yet another inspiring story originates from the Harekala-Newpadpu village of Mangaluru, a coastal district in Karnataka, where 66-year-old orange vendor, Harekala Hajabba led a revolution in rural education by raising a school in the district. The school presently tutors 175 underprivileged students residing in the village.
With zero access to education, Hajabba earned a living by selling oranges at a bus depot since 1977. The yearning to improve the education scenario in his village was ignited in him when he failed to communicate with a foreigner who asked him the cost of oranges.
He earned the title of Akshara Santa by way of his philanthropic work. Former MLA late UT Fareed sanctioned the construction of the Hajabba’s school in the year 2000. In 2004, his efforts were brought to light by the local media which earned him a ₹5 lakh cash award. Successively, a multitude of people came forward to offer him a helping hand.
A resident of Kodagu (then Coorg) of Karnataka, Mollera Poovaiah Ganesh is one of the most splendid field hockey players our nation has known. His life took a turn when he got into the Indian Army and started playing for them. He was picked to play for India and debuted in the year 1970. He was a part of the team which bagged silver medals in the 1970 and 1974 Asian Games, alongside bronze in the 1971 World Cup. He has also been captain and coached the Indian team in addition to being a recipient of the prestigious Arjuna award in 1973.
Manjamma comes from the Ballari district of Karnataka and has learned till the 10th standard. Opening up about her life journey, Manjamma, who was born as Manjunatha Shetty, said that she began identifying herself as a woman when she was aged 15. In the pretext of her behaving like a girl right from her teens, her parents took him to a temple in Hospet where she was made to perform the Jogappa (a customary ritual in which devotees are presumed to be married to a God or Goddess.
That day marked the transition of Manjunatha Shetty to Manjamma Jogati. She, however, was forbidden from returning home. Manjamma set out on her journey by begging on the streets wearing sarees. She encountered Kallava Jogathi where she learnt the art form Jogati Nritya and began performing across the state.
Manjamma became the first-ever transgender president of Karnataka Jaanapda Academy, which is a government body for performing arts in Karnataka.