The Devi Awards are back, this time in Chennai! Meet the 11 women who will be honoured this year

Here is a portfolio of the 11 dynamic women who will be felicitated at the Devi Awards, which honours the contributions of women in various fields
Meet the Devis who will be honoured this year
Meet the Devis who will be honoured this year

The New Indian Express’ most anticipated event of the year, the Devi Awards is back! With the 23rd edition of the awards ceremony returning to Chennai for the second time, we present to you all that you need to know about the 12 extraordinary women who will be honoured this year for their contributions to various fields.

Dr Nanditha Krishna | Historian & author

An environmentalist, historian and author based in Chennai, Nanditha Krishna is responsible for the revival of the Kurumba painting, Kota pottery, traditional drawing and painting in Mamallapuram, and for the introduction of Tamil folk art forms in schools. The author of 23 books on Indian art, culture, religion and environment, Nanditha has pioneered the documentation of India’s ecological heritage. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Nari Shakti Puraskar, Stree Ratna and Outstanding Woman of Asia. She also received the National Fellowship from the Indian Council of Historical Research recently.

Vidya Subramanian | Vocalist

Carnatic vocalist Vidya Subramanian is a disciple of maestro Padma Bhushan Lalgudi Jayaraman. She is 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. Vidya runs her academy with a socio-commercial focus on empowering artistes, especially women, with the ability to successfully share their knowledge in music and other art forms via the online platform. Vidya was conferred with the Women Transforming India (WTI) 2021 award, Kalaimamani Award 2018, Champion of Chennai Award (2022), Homepreneur Award (2018) as well as Vocational Excellence Award by Rotary Club of Chennai Spotlight (2016). Vidya was also recognised as an inspiring woman entrepreneur in the technology/social impact space by NITI Aayog and FICCI in their prestigious Road to Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 event.

Vishakha Hari | Singer

Kalaimamani Vishakha Hari is a practitioner of the ancient and beautiful art form, harikatha or katha keerthan. She weaves beautiful stories of value and wisdom interspersed with melodious songs of great composers from yesteryears. Blending both music and katha beautifully, she spreads valuable messages of love and peace throughout the world. She has been awarded several titles and has raised funds through her programmes for several social causes. Vishakha is currently guiding teenagers and youngsters to look up to Indian culture and arts. The vocalist is also the Distinguished Professor of Oriental Studies and Arts at SASTRA University, Thanjavur.

Dr Gagandeep Kang | Physician & scientist

Professor Gagandeep Kang is currently working on vaccines and public health, with an emphasis on children and enteric infectious diseases in India. Her interdisciplinary research on the transmission, development and prevention of enteric infections and their sequelae in children has led to new insights and practical approaches toward prevention. She investigates the complex relationships between infection, gut function and physical and cognitive development and seeks to build stronger human immunology research in India. Dr Kang, an elected Fellow of all the Indian science academies, is the first Indian woman to be elected to Fellowship of the American Academy of Microbiology and to the Royal Society and is the only physicianscientist to receive the Infosys Award in Life Sciences.

Radhika Santhanakrishnan | Philanthropist

Radhika Santhanakrishnan, a fulltime humanitarian who has dedicated her life to a larger cause, started Penn Nalam, a unit of Sri Dhanvantri Trust with the support and guidance of Dr Selvi Radhakrishna. She has made significant progress in increasing awareness and treatment of breast, cervix and oral cancers. After commendable achievements in women’s cancer care, Radhika worked on cancers that occur due to tobacco use and started a separate unit called Aan Nalam with a prime focus on treating cancers and diseases of the mouth for men and women.

Anuradha Krishnamoorthy & Namrata Sundaresan | Entrepreneurs

Anuradha Krishnamoorthy has two decades of working experience in the social sector. An alumna of the prestigious Goldman Sachs, 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 globally 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. Pairing food, beverages and chocolates with coffee is an area of her interest and expertise.

Dr P Poorna Chandrika | Medical professional

A professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health, Chennai, Dr P Poorna Chandrika is known for her compassionate and friendly approach towards people. She is a dedicated and disciplined role model, and a competent administrative leader who is acutely attentive to the needs of differently-abled patients and the voiceless. Dr Chandrika has created employment oppor tunities for those who recovered from mental health issues and has been actively rehabilitating and integrating them into mainstream society with dignity. She has also successfully ensured zero casualties among her in-patients during COVID-19.

Vijayalakshmi Nachiar | Entrepreneur

Vijayalakshmi Nachiar is a Director at Appachi Eco-logic Cotton and the cofounder and creative director of Ethicus — India’s first organic and sustainable farm-to-fashion brand. Passionate about textiles, she, through her work with Ethicus, is involved in the manufacture and revival of the finest handloom tradition of India. She also takes a keen interest in grooming young designers at the Ethicus Design Studio. She has been travelling to design schools in India and abroad spreading awareness about ethical consumerism and sustainable fashion. Ethicus has received the Future Shaper award in 2012 from Textile Exchange for its work in promoting sustainable textiles.

Priyadarsini Govind | Dancer

Priyadarsini Govind is one of the foremost bharatanatyam dancers among the current generation. A dancer known for her adherence to tradition, she manages to seamlessly blend new choreography with the traditional, thereby gently redefining the boundaries of bharatanatyam. Priyadarsini has been performing at prestigious venues all over India and the globe, taking bharatanatyam to many major international and national festivals as a soloist. Priyadarsini Govind has been honoured with many awards for her excellence and service in the field of arts, which include the Nritya Kalanidhi by the Madras Music Academy (2019), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2012), Yuva Kala Bharathi, Kalaimamani and Nrityachoodamani, to name a few.

Joshna Chinappa | Sportswoman

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 the 20th Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, the pair of Joshna Chinappa and Deepika Pallikal scripted history by winning India’s gold medal in squash on August 2, 2014. Being India’s No 1, Joshna made her first appearance back on the tour after the COVID-19 suspension at the CIB Egyptian Open, where she reached the quarterfinals, becoming one of the three female players to do so. In 2022, she won the Indian National Championships for a record-breaking 19th time, beating Anahat Singh in straight sets.

Dr Ramya S Moorthy | Entrepreneur

Dr Ramya S Moorthy is the founder and director of Nimaya Robotics from Chennai and has spent the last eight years of her life working towards a singular goal — to help children with special needs. Dr Ramya developed Suprayoga, an IoT-based cloud-monitored device and training methodology that helps accelerate the rate of learning by more than 60 per cent in children with ASD. She has been awarded the Women Transforming India Award 2021 by NITI Aayog. Her work has also been published in several international scientific journals on robotics.

The Devis have been chosen through a voting process conducted by the senior editorial team of The New Indian Express and an independent jury. The primary sponsor for the event this year is the Adani group, with Vellore Institute of Technology as the associate partner and ITC Grand Chola as the hospitality partner.

February 8, 5.30 pm. At ITC Grand Chola.

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