After a glittering and high voltage debut in 2019, and an equally successful second edition in 2022, where 15 women were awarded for their path-breaking contributions to their professions and also impacting society positively, The Devi Awards was back this year at ITC Sonar to felicitate 12 more such dynamic women.
The Devi Awards was started with the vision to recognise the contributions of women from all walks of life who have triumphed in their respective fields and uplifted fellow women and men as they went along. After 18 editions in Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi, Lucknow and Chennai, the Devi Awards, conceived in 2014, came to Kolkata for the first time on August 31, 2019, to celebrate woman achievers from Kolkata and the East.
Neha Periwal, director, of The New Indian Express Group welcomed the guests, “In this venerable land of Bengal the primordial deity has always been Kali or the divine mother, even the trinity being subordinate to her. In India, we have believed Devi personifies all that is divine, as the universal mother. We, at The New Indian Express Group, uphold that strong independent women are the backbone of the nation. We act on our beliefs by organising the Devi awards. Our devis are women with inner strength to overcome obstacles and achieve end goals.”
This year the event saw an engaging session with Rongili Biswas, singer and academician and Jaya Seal Ghosh, dancer and actor moderated by author and senior journalist, Kaveree Bamzai of The New Indian Express Group on the influence and inspiration of art, culture and performing arts in contemporary society. While Biswas mentions the impact of arts in shaping politics and vice versa by re-iterating about her father music composer, singer and activist Hemango Biswas, Ghosh comments on the power of art in unifying people. Biswas mentions, “When you are talking about politics, no art can be divorced from it. My music has started from the idea of an archive inspired by my father who believed folk should inform our protest songs and cultural figures should learn from it.” Ghosh comments, “For being human, art is important. Art gives us the unity. When I go to my guru, all our students are from different places but we are pursuing one art form. All this knowledge makes us complete as a person. It leads you on a spiritual journey”
Actress and politician Kushboo Sundar who was the chief guest, also fielded questions with panache during a meaningful conversation with Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express. She says, “It’s important for women to stand by each other. Times have changed and I’m glad we are coming into a different part of the society where men come together to see women succeed as well. We celebrate Devi awards, here its show we are together and how important it is to encourage women . A little pat and push can make a lot of difference.”
This year’s recipients included entrepreneur Saloni Jhunjhunwalla, fashion designer Rimi Nayak, educationist and fashion entrepreneur Shivika Goenka, architect and heritage professional Nilina Deb Lal, actor Paoli Dam, actor and director Churni Ganguly, singer Iman Chakraborty, actor and politician Satabdi Roy, co-founders of fashion label Karomi Sarita Ganeriwala and Sarika Ginodia, conservationist Tiasa Adhya, and actor Jaya Ahsan.
The award ceremony was an eclectic showcase of powerhouse talents. Kolkata at least hasn’t seen so many accomplished women unite under one roof in a while, and that too on a platform celebrating them. The recipients received their awards from Prabhu Chawla, Kushboo, Joita Sen of Senco Groups and Diamonds, Madhu Neotia, founder The India Story, Nehi Periwal, Lakshmi Menon, CEO of The New Indian Express, and opened up about their success stories. Joita Sen comments, “Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to speak on our IPO success. It was the lifelong dream of my father-in-law that the brand remains even beyond us.”
"I must thank The Indian Express Group for giving me this lovely evening along with other inspiring achievers. It has been an honour and I am deeply humbled,” says Churni Ganguly while Paoli Dam comments, “I would like to Thank the New Indian Express for the surprise Devi Award this evening. It’s lovely to see so many women achievers from every field. Devi Awards celebrating and felicitating those women who have worked so relentlessly to do something for themselves and the people around them.”
“I am so grateful to receive this award. It's always so special to do something for children and making them happy.” Says Shivika Goenka who just gifted the city this year a stunning global school called RP Goenka International School. Fashion Designer Rimi Nayak too mentions, “A Devi to me is someone who fights against all odds and breaks the barriers to achieve their goals.”
Some of the noteworthy attendees at Devi Awards were actor-director Kaushik Ganguly, actor Ujaan Ganguly, French Consul general Didier Talpain, actor Ushasi Ray, Swastika Dutta, Priyanka Mondal, Darshana Banik, Koneenica Banerjee, Sayantani Guha Thakurta, Tanika Basu, Anuradha Mukherjee, Shaheb Bhattacharjee, Ishan Mazumder, choreographer and dancer Sudarshan Chakravorty, directors Shiboprasad Mukherjee, Subhrajit Mitra, Arjunn Dutta, Indrasis Acharya, Abhiroop Basu, Zinia Sen among others.
This year Adani Group was the presenting partner of the glittering event and the associate partners include Senco Gold and Diamonds, National Jute Board, Visit Saudi, LNB Group, Life Insurance Corporation of India, KGA Electronics & Home Appliances, with Diageo India as Celebration Partner , Ahujasons as Gifting Partner and Selvel One as Outdoor Partner.