With an intention of applauding women’s resilience and their fighting spirit, this year’s Uncha Mazha Zhoka awards, took place in a very encouraging environment, similar to the previous years. This year marks the fifth year of the awards ceremony and it intends to recognize and award women in diverse fields, whose tireless efforts have played an instrumental role in bringing a change in the attitude, thought processes and mentality of the society. For her immense contribution, Sunandabai Patwardhan was awarded the Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar and Anuna tai Wagh was also lauded for Grammangal, her unique educational institution. The award ceremony was attended by distinguished luminaries hailing from the fields of social welfare, cultural arts and politics.
Maharashtra has had a long and proud history of women activists and social reformers. Among them, some have been rightfully acknowledged and saluted in the later years, while some have been languishing under obscurity, leaving many people unaware of their importance. The Uncha Mazha Zhoka award aims to recognize and award the efforts of such unsung women reformers and bring them in the spotlight.
Dr Vaishali Patil who launched an agitation for the rights of displaced Adivasis, Pramila Kakde who runs a school for the blind and specially abled children, Lalita Babar who made it to the final rounds in the steeplechase competition in the Rio Olympics, Nirmala Kandalgaonkar whose garbage and waste management practices have helped to generate employment in large numbers, Aruna Dhere whose written works have helped Marathi literature scaled new heights and Dr. Vidita Vaidya whose research studies in Neurosciences have broken new grounds are some of the many achievers that were feted this year at the Uncha Mazha Zhoka awards.
An endearing moment of the ceremony was when Gauri Sawant given an award. For several years now, she has been fighting for the rights of the Transgenders, a community that has been marginalized by the society for a long time. Sawant a transgender herself had a harrowing time coming to terms with her own sexuality. And when she shared some of these experiences, the audiences were left with a lump in the throat. She said “The society has always kept us at an arm’s length. People look at us in a demeaning way whenever they spot us in the trains or at the traffic signals. They ask us why we don’t do anything about our miserable state. I want to ask them that why haven’t you done anything for us? We don’t ask much of you, but to view us with empathy and that should do the needful.
Sunanda Patwardhan who has founded and nurtured educational institutions in faraway barren Adivasi settlements like Jawhar and Mokhada was awarded Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar. Hon. Justice Shri Chandrashekhar Dharamdhikari presented this award to Patwardhan. Thanks to her endless efforts, hardwork and dedication, Patwardhan managed it to make it to the final round of the Steeplechase competition at the Rio Olympics 2016. And she was lauded for the same in the awards ceremony. The event saw several noted artists give splendid dance performances and win the hearts of the attendees. The show was conceptualized by noted actors Prasad Oak and Umesh Kamat, while Kshitij Patwardhan handed the writing and directorial responsibilities. The Award selection process was smoothly handled by noted editor Girish Kuber and Dr. Snehalata Deshmukh, the Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University. The Uncha Mazha Zhoka Award ceremony will be telecast on 27th August at 7 pm IST on Zee Marathi and Zee Marathi HD.
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