106-year-old Bhageerathi Amma (left) and 98-year-old Karthyayani Amma (right) have been selected for 2020 Nari Shakti Puraskar
106-year-old Bhageerathi Amma and 98-year-old Karthyayani Amma have been selected for this year’s Nari Shakti Puraskar. The nation's highest civilian award for recognising the achievements and contributions of women, instituted in the year 1999 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is given in six institutional categories and two individual categories.
Bhageerathi Amma, a native of Kollam district of Kerala, had cleared the 4th level equivalency exam in 2019. As a rare honour for her stupendous achievement, Bhageerathi Amma had found a special mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s the Mann Ki Baat programme in February 2020. Karthyayani Amma, who lives in Alappuzha district of Kerala, Bhageerathi Amma’s fellow learner, also bagged this year’s Nari Shakti Puraskar. She scored 98 out of 100 in the final examination, securing the first rank!
Addressing the 9th Episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat 2.0’, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi narrated the inspiring story of 105-year-old Bhagirathi Amma. She lost her mother and husband at a very young age. She restarted her school education at the age of 105! She started studying again! In spite of her advanced age, Bhagirathi Amma wrote her level 4 exam and then eagerly awaited her results. She scored 75 per cent in her exams and wants to continue her education. He said that people like Bhagirathi Amma are the strength of this country; a great source of inspiration for all of us.
When she passed the 4th level equivalency exam in 2019, Bhageerathi Amma was 105 years old. Bhageerathi Amma wrote the Level 4 equivalency exams conducted by the State Literacy Mission. She scored 205 (74.5%) out of the total 275 marks in the exam. She has scored full marks for Math, 75 on 75.
Born in Kollam, in Kerala, Bhageerathi has six children and 16 grandchildren. She is now living a happy life with her fifth-generation descendants. Representatives of the Common Wealth had visited her house and honoured her. Her dream is to pass the 10th level examination.
Karthyayani Amma never attended school when she was young. She earned a livelihood as a cleaning employee in temples. She was married at 30, widowed early, and raised six children. Karthyayani Amma enrolled for studies in January 2018 after taking inspiration from her 60-year-old daughter Ammini Amma who recently passed a literacy mission course. Karthyayani Amma now aims at clearing the Class 10 equivalency examinations. She also aspires to acquire computer skills.
The two women from Kerala were also selected as the Commonwealth of Learning Goodwill Ambassadors. The award will be presented by President Ram Nath Kovind at a function organised by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on the International Women's Day. The award carries a cash prize of rupees one lakh (INR 100,000) and a citation.