Kolkata: Devi Awards hail women who have made world better place
21st edition of the award ceremony saw 15 dynamic women being honoured for their path-breaking contributions to their respective professions
After a glorious and high-voltage debut in 2019, Devi Awards have been one of the most anticipated events in Kolkata for the past two years. With the pandemic out of our way, Devi Awards was back in the city on Friday, July 29, attended by the glitterati and eminent personalities of the City of Joy. The 21st edition of the award ceremony saw 15 dynamic women being awarded for their pathbreaking contributions to their respective professions and for impacting society positively.
The Devi Awards started with the vision to recognise the contributions of women from all walks of life who have triumphed in their respective fields and uplifted their communities as they went along. The event saw an engaging session with the chief guest, former Union minister Dr Subramanian Swamy.
“Women have reached newer heights in terms of professions, but they, somewhere, still fall behind at different levels such as equal economic advantage. This award ceremony is an attempt to recognise their contributions,” shared Dr Swamy. He further added, “You see women competing with men at every stage.
Women essentially are disadvantaged in the economic sphere and distressed in multiple ways beyond that. They are still at the edge of disadvantage in our country with cases of abuse and distress being reported every day. I believe women must be taught martial arts from a very young age so that they learn to identify these early on and grow up being their own defence.”
This year’s recipients included cricketer Jhulan Goswami, fashion designer Paromita Banerjee, scientist Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, pulmonologist Dr Sushmita Roychowdhury, filmmaker Nandita Roy, classical dancer Vandana Alase Hazra, head of Kolkata Creative Centre Richa Agarwal, industrialist and philanthropist Alka Bangur, cultural historian Tapati Guha Thakurta, social activist and entrepreneur Priyadarshini Hakim, actor Swastika Mukherjee, sportsperson and entrepreneur Sanaya Mehta Vyas, water conservationist Preeyam Budhia, author Debarati Mukhopadhyay and educationist Seema Sapru.
The evening began with author and columnist Kaveree Bamzai and Director of The New Indian Express and Event Express Neha Sonthalia Periwal welcoming and introducing the Devi Awards. This was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Bamzai, featuring eminent speaker Dr Shashi Panja, minister of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, West Bengal. During the ceremony, Jhulan Goswami, the former captain of the Indian national women’s cricket team, also spoke about the importance of Women’s IPL in India.
Jhulan was one of the award recipients of the night, whose biopic Chakda Xpress will soon hit the theatres. Actor Anushka Sharma will be stepping into the shoes of the cricketer in the movie. As the recipients received their awards from Dr Swamy, they opened up about their success stories. While Preeyam Budhia, President of Patton Group and Cofounder of Café ICanFlyy, talked about her water conservation initiatives, dancer Vandana Alase Hazra opened up about how she feels having received this award.
“My responsibility towards society increases tenfold after receiving this award. I wanted to become a doctor, but I got married off at the age of fifteen. I completed degrees and achieved whatever I have while balancing kids and family. I feel nothing can stop women from achieving what they want to,” said Alka Bangur, Managing Director of LNB Group, on receiving the honour.
Some of the noteworthy attendees at the Devi Awards were actors Jaya Ahsan, Susmita Chatterjee, Tuhina Das, Priyanka Mondal, Anuradha Mukherjee, Tanika Basu, Anubhav Kanjilal, filmmakers Subhrajit Mitra, Indrasis Acharya, Arjunn Dutta, Sarmistha Maity and Rajdeep Paul.
Scenographer Swarup Dutta, designers Abhishek Dutta, Abhishek Ray, Rimi Nayak, Rini Seal, Saroj Jalan and Rohan Arora were also present. The platinum partner for Devi Awards 2022 was RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group. The associate partners were Senco Gold and Diamonds, National Jute Board, Softline from Rupa, Pentonic from Linc Ltd., Placid Ltd., and LIC. The outdoor partner was SelvelOne.
ACHIEVERS WHO WERE HONOURED
- Jhulan Goswami, cricketer
- Paromita Banerjee, fashion designer
- Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, scientist
- Dr Sushmita Roychowdhury, pulmonologist
- Nandita Roy, filmmaker
- Vandana Alase Hazra, classical dancer
- Richa Agarwal, head of Kolkata Creative Centre
- Alka Bangur, industrialist and philanthropist
- Tapati Guha Thakurta, culturalhistorian
- Priyadarshini Hakim, social activist and entrepreneur
- Swastika Mukherjee, actor
- Sanaya Mehta Vyas, sportsperson and entrepreneur
- Preeyam Budhia, water conservationist
- Debarati Mukhopadhyay, author
- Seema Sapru, educationist