2 Irula snake catchers among Padma awardees

“We thank the government for the prestigious award. It was herpetologist Romulus Whitaker who took us in his team that captured a large number of pythons,” Masi Sadaiyan told DT Next.
TN’s snake catchers Vadivel Gopal, Masi Sadaiyan
TN’s snake catchers Vadivel Gopal, Masi Sadaiyan

CHENNAI: Two expert snake catchers hailing from the Irula communities from Chengalpattu, who were part of the team led by renowned conserva-tionist and herpetologist Romulus Whitaker who flew to Florida, US, to work on controlling the population of pythons there, are among the Padma winners.

The list of awardees was announced on Wednesday. Vadivel Gopal (47) and Masi Sadaiyan (45) helped the international team catch the Burmese pythons, which were exotic to the US and endangered local wildlife.

“We thank the government for the prestigious award. It was herpetologist Romulus Whitaker who took us in his team that captured a large number of pythons,” Masi Sadaiyan told DT Next.

Other awardees from Tamil Nadu are Padma Bhushan for noted singer Vani Jairam, and Padma Shri for K Kalyanasundaram Pillai, Palam Kalyana Sundaram and Dr Gopalsamy Veluchamy.

MM Keeravaani, composer of RRR’s Naatu Naatu song, was awarded Padma Shri in the field of arts.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, former External Affairs minister in the UPA government SM Krishna and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain were selected for Padma Vibhushan.

Medical professional Dilip Mahalanabis who returned from the US to serve in 1971-Bangladesh war refugee camps, and noted architect Balkrishna Doshi were selected for the Padma Vibhushan posthumously.

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