Bihar’s Sharad Vivek Sagar, MP’s Lahri Bai Padiya and Rajasthan’s Dr. Vaibhav Bhandari selected for Prof. Yeshwantrao Kelkar Youth Award 2023

The ‘Professor Yeshwantrao Kelkar Youth Award’ recognises outstanding work in education, society, environment, and science by young individuals
Ajit Kumar Singh

The selection committee for Professor Yeshwantrao Kelkar Youth Award 2023 has chosen Sharad Vivek Sagar (Patna, Bihar), for ‘Enabling Bharatiya youth from low-income and deprived groups to receive world-class education’, ‘Millets Queen’ Lahri Bai Padiya (Dindori, Madhya Pradesh) for ‘Original work at the ground level towards conservation and enrichment of Shree-Anna (Millets)’ and Dr Vaibhav Bhandari (Pali, Rajasthan) for ‘Improving the standard of living and raising self-confidence of Divyangs’. This year, marking the ‘Amrit Mohotsav Year’ of ABVP, the committee has decided to confer awards on three deserving individuals, commemorating 75 years of ABVP, deviating from the usual practice of awarding a single person every year. Shri Sharad Vivek Sagar, Lahri Bai Padiya, and Dr Vaibhav Bhandari will receive the award at the ABVP National Conference in Delhi from December 7-10, 2023.

This award, initiated in 1991, is presented in memory of Professor Yeshwantrao Kelkar, known as the architect of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and is remembered for his role in the organisational expansion and strengthening of ABVP. Prof. Yashwantrao Kelkar played a significant role in establishing and defining the ideological foundation, organisational development, and working methodologies of ABVP. This award is a joint initiative of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Vidyarthi Nidhi Trust, organisations committed to working for the progress and education of students.

The award aims to highlight the work of young social entrepreneurs, encourage them, express gratitude towards them, and inspire young Bharatiya individuals to get embodied in social work. The award includes a sum of ₹1,00,000/-, a certificate, and a memento.

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Selected for Prof. Yeshwantrao Kelkar Youth Award 2023, Shri Sharad Vivek Sagar hails from the small village of Jeeradei in Bihar. He was introduced to the teachings of Shri Ramakrishna-Vivekananda at a very young age. Driven by the goal of strengthening Bharat’s future, Sharad founded ‘Dexterity Global.’ This initiative aims to empower future generations through educational opportunities and training, addressing various challenges in youth education. ‘Dexterity Global’ has connected over 7 million young citizens from remote villages and towns of Bharat, bringing positive transformations to their lives. Former students of ‘Dexterity Global,’ initiated by Sharad, have achieved victories in over 1,000 major national and international competitions and secured scholarships exceeding ₹175 crores from the world’s top 500 universities. More than 80% of these students come from low-income and deprived families. Many ‘Dexterity Global’ alumni are actively contributing to enhancing Bharat’s prestige on global educational platforms. Sharad’s remarkable contributions are crucial in uplifting the lives of Bharatiya youth.

Lahri Bai Padiya from the Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh, selected for the Prof. Yeshwantrao Kelkar Youth Award 2023, discovered the nutritional value of millets from her grandmother and mother, from which she got inspired to preserve seeds of millets. She is actively engaged in conserving and enriching rare millet varieties, owning a seed bank of 150 nutritious millets. Recognized as a ‘Millets Ambassador,’ Lahri Bai, belonging to the Baiga tribal community, has conveyed crucial messages nationwide about good health, nature conservation and dietary habits that align with today’s needs, making her work exceptionally important. Acknowledging Lahri Bai’s efforts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised her, and on September 12, 2023, the Honorable President of Bharat, Shrimati Droupadi Murmu, honoured her with the ‘Plant Genome Savior Community Award’ in New Delhi. Popularly known as the ‘Millets Queen,’ Lahri Bai is actively working for the upliftment of traditional farming.

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Dr. Vaibhav Bhandari, originally from Pali, Rajasthan, has been selected for the Prof. Yeshwantrao Kelkar Youth Award 2023. He has demonstrated exceptional work in improving the quality of living for people with disabilities. He has completed his PhD in Law. Facing life-altering challenges due to muscular dystrophy in his childhood, Vaibhav did not succumb to adversity but instead showcased unwavering determination to inspire social change. His actions have brought about transformations in various aspects of society, making pathways easier for people with disabilities. Dr. Vaibhav Bhandari has been at the forefront of service in various sectors. Recognising his outstanding environmental conservation efforts, the Rajasthan government’s Ministry of Forest and Environment honoured him in 2007. He has been honoured with a national award by the Honorable President of Bharat, Shrimati Droupadi Murmu, for his contribution to supporting people with disabilities. His journey is defined by dedication, resilience, and passion for making a positive impact. His commitment to creating positive change sets him apart on this remarkable journey.

ABVP National President Dr. Rajsharan Shahi, National General Secretary  Yagywalkya Shukla, National Organising Secretary  Ashish Chauhan, and Convener of Selection Committee, Prof. Milind Marathe, extend heartfelt congratulations to the winners of the ‘Prof Yeshwantrao Kelkar Youth Award 2023’ – Sharad Vivek Sagar, Lahri Bai Padiya, and Dr Vaibhav Bhandari wishing them success in their future endeavours.