Celebrating ‘Devis’ of excellence!

Give a woman an internet, she creates an enterprise, says former Puducherry L-G Kiran bedi At The 23rd edition of TNIE’s devi awards.

Published: 09th February 2023 08:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2023 11:33 AM

CHENNAI:  Whatever you give a woman, she will make it greater, said Kiran Bedi, former Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, while presenting the 23rd edition of the Devi Awards, organised by The New Indian Express, to 12 distinguished women in Chennai on Wednesday.


Bedi referred to British writer William Golding’s well-known quote, “I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make it greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges whatever is given to her.”

Adding to this, she said, “If you give a woman the internet, she creates an enterprise, and (if) you give me an NCC uniform when I was only 14 years old, I converted it into an IPS uniform.” She said that every woman who awakens courage with humility is a Durga, every woman who awakens transformation in herself is a Kali, devotion is a Parvathi, nourishing within herself is a Annapoorna, every woman’s friend is a Shakthi, and therefore every woman is a Devi.

Welcoming the gathering, TNIE CEO Lakshmi Menon noted that this was the fourth time the Devi Awards were being held in Chennai. The Devi Awards recognise and celebrate exceptional women who display dynamism and innovation in their work. This year’s edition was sponsored by the Adani Group, Vellore Institute of Technology, and Ahujasons. The Awards were instituted in December 2014, with the first edition being conducted in New Delhi. Since then, more than 200 remarkable women from across the country have been recognised with the Devi Awards.

The first to be presented the award on Wednesday, historian and environmentalist Dr Nanditha Krishna, told the gathering that hard work had played a key role in her 45-year journey, and family support is also crucial. One of the other awardees, Carnatic vocalist Vidya Subramanian, also shared how her husband had sowed in her the entrepreneurial dream. Visahaka Hari, a practitioner of Hari Katha, performed an excerpt of a Carnatic song praising the goddess Devi.

Kiran Bedi during her address

Another awardee Dr P Poorna Chandrika, former director of the Institute of Mental Health, explained how the public had started acknowledging the importance of mental heath after the pandemic. The other awardees were Radhika Santhanakrishnan, managing trustee of the Sri Dhanvantri Trust; Anuradha Krishnamoorthy and Namrata Sundaresan, founders, Kase; Vijayalakshmi Nachiar, co-founder, Ethicus; Priyadarsini Govind, Bharatanatyam artiste; Dr Ramya S Moorthy, founder, Nimaya Robotics; Dr Gagandeep Kang, physician-scientist; and Joshna Chinappa, professional squash player.

Earlier, chief guest Bedi lighted the lamp in the presence of TNIE editor Santwana Bhattacharya, editorial director Prabhu Chawla, CEO Lakshmi Menon and chairman and managing director Manoj Kumar Sonthalia.

12 awardees

Dr Nanditha Krishna
Historian & author

Chennai-based environmentalist, historian and author Nanditha Krishna has worked for revival of Kurumba art, Kota pottery, traditional art in Mamallapuram, and introducing Tamil folk art in schools. She has authored 23 books, and pioneered documentation of India’s ecological heritage

Vidya Subramanian
Carnatic vocalist

Vidya Subramanian is a disciple of maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman, and the founder of Vidya Subramanian Academy, an online portal that has been imparting training in Carnatic music and other traditional Indian arts to students from all over the world for over a decade. She runs it with a socio-commercial focus

Vishakha Hari

Kalaimamani Vishakha Hari is a practitioner of the ancient art form, harikatha or katha keerthan. She weaves stories of value and wisdom interspersed with songs of great composers from yesteryears. Blending music and katha, she spreads messages of love and peace throughout the world

Dr Gagandeep Kang
Physician & scientist

Gagandeep Kang is currently working on vaccines and public health, with an emphasis on children and enteric infectious diseases in India. Her research on the transmission, development and prevention of enteric infections and their sequelae in children has led to new insights toward prevention

Radhika Santhanakrishnan

Radhika Santhanakrishnan, has dedicated her life to a larger cause, and started Penn Nalam, a unit of Sri Dhanvantri Trust with support of Dr Selvi Radhakrishna. She has made significant progress in increasing awareness and treatment of breast, cervix and oral cancers

Dr P Poorna Chandrika
Medical professional

A professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health, Chennai, P Poorna Chandrika is known for her friendly approach towards people. She is a dedicated role model, who is acutely attentive to the needs of differently-abled patients

Vijayalakshmi Nachiar

Vijayalakshmi Nachiar is a director at Appachi Eco-logic Cotton and the co-founder of Ethicus  —  an organic and sustainable farm-to-fashion brand. Passionate about textiles, she is involved in the manufacture and revival of the finest handloom tradition of India

Priyadarsini Govind

Priyadarsini Govind is one of the foremost Bharatanatyam dancers among the current generation. A dancer known for her adherence to tradition, she seamlessly blends new choreography with the traditional, thereby gently redefining the boundaries of Bharatanatyam

Joshna Chinappa

Joshna Chinappa, an Indian female squash player, became the first Indian woman to win the British Squash Championship in the Under-19 category in 2003. In 2022, she won the Indian National Championships for a record-breaking 19th time, beating Anahat Singh in straight sets

Dr Ramya S Moorthy

Dr Ramya S Moorthy is the founder and director of Nimaya Robotics from Chennai. She has developed Suprayoga, an IoT-based cloud-monitored device and training methodology that helps accelerate the rate of learning by over 60% in children with ASD

Anuradha Krishnamoorthy & Namrata Sundaresan

Anuradha Krishnamoorthy has two decades of working experience in the social sector. She has been instrumental in setting up initiatives toward promoting the employability of People with Disabilities (PwDs) and also heads Can Do, a skill development initiative for PwDs. Namrata Sundaresan worked for over a decade in international trade and investment and is now recognised as a force in natural cheesemaking. She has trained under David Asher and is the only training partner for the Academy of Cheese, UK for India

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