The Padma Awards 2017 ceremony was held on the Republic Day and the list of winners included cricketers MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, Olympic winners PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar and former Lok Sabha Speaker and Meghalaya chief minister PA Sangma among others. Padma Awards, which is divided into three categories namely Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, are among the highest civilian awards of the country. And this year Padma Shri awards list also included the ‘Unsung Hero’ of the country who worked hard to promote the traditional art and for the good of the public without thinking about the limelight. Among them is 76-year-old Meenakshi Amma, India’s oldest Kalaripayattu exponent. (ALSO READ Swami Niranjana Nanda Saraswati in Padma Awards 2017 Winners List: Five things you need to know about founder of Satyananda Yoga). Also Read - IPL 2020, Match 44 Preview: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings

Meenakshi Amma, also called Meenakshi gurukkal defies the age with a twirl of her sword. She has been training and teaching the ancient for of martial art from Kerala, Kalaripayattu, for over 68 years. She started learning Kalaripayattu at the age of seven under the guru Raghavan master, who married her when she turned 17. Meenakshi Amma continued learning Kalaripayattu at a time when girls were not encouraged to learn this art. Today her Kalaripayattu school Kadathanadan Kalari Sangam, which is located in Vadakara near Calicut, Kerala, has 150 students and more than a third of them are girls. The age of the students range from six to twenty-six and there is not age or caste bar. However, an early start is recommended for learning Kalaripayattu. Her school runs on whatever dakshina it receives by the students at the end of each year. The classes are conducted from June to September every year and the Northern style of Kalaripayattu is taught at the school. If this sword wielding granny doesn’t inspire you to stay active, no one can.

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