New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: President Ram Nath Kovind conferred 119 people with Padma Awards, the highest civilian awards in India, on Monday, November 8, 2021. Among all was Air Marshal Dr Padma Bandopadhyay (Retd.), who received the Padma Shri award in the field of medicine.

Bandopadhyay is a decorated former flight surgeon of the Indian Air Force. She was the first woman to be promoted to the level of Air Marshal in IAF and the second woman in the Indian Armed Forces to be promoted to a three-star rank, after surgeon Vice Admiral Punita Arora. She continues to serve people as a civilian now.

She joined the Armed Forces Medical College Pune in 1963 after studying pre-medical at the University of Delhi's Kirori Mal College. After completing her higher studies, Bandopadhyay joined the Indian Air Force in 1968. She was the first woman to become a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Society of India and the first Indian woman to conduct scientific research at the North Pole. Not just this, she was the first woman Armed Forces officer to have completed the Defence Service Staff College course in 1978.

Now, Bandopadhyay is an aviation medicine specialist and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Air Marshal Dr Padma Bandopadhyay: Awards

In the year 1973, she was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM0 for her conduct during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The Padma and Sati Nath were the first IAF couple to receive a President's award in the same investiture parade. Then, in 2002 she received Ati Vishist Seva Medal and Param Vishist Seva Medal in 2006.

Coming back to Padma Awards, it is one of the highest civilian honours of India, which is announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher-order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service). The award seeks to recognise achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.

Posted By: Niharika Sanjeeiv