Padma Shri awarded to publishing stalwarts after a decade

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Indian publishing fraternity congratulates Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon for bagging Padma Shri award for excellence in literature and education, which is the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India. It is awarded to citizens of India to recognize their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the arts, education, industry, literature, science, sports, medicine, social service and public life. The award was instituted in 1954 and it was in the year 2000 when Dina Nath Malhotra, a father figure in Indian publishing was awarded Padma Shri.

Urvashi Butalia, Ritu MenonBoth Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon richly deserved the honour for being the pioneers for developing the body of knowledge and literature on women in the Third World. Urvashi is a dedicated woman’s and civil rights activist, she writes on issues relating to women, the media, communications and communalism. Urvashi Butalia, co-founded ‘Kali for Women’, with Ritu Menon, India’s first publishing house set up in 1984.

Urvashi is an author, publisher, feminist, historian of distinction. Urvashi has edited and authored many books including The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India, the critically-acclaimed and path-breaking chronicle of the untold stories of  survivors of the Partition, and  with emphasizes the role of violence against women in that historic  tragedy. The book has been translated into several languages including Chinese and Japanese and has won international recognition. Presently, she is the director of Zubaan Books, an imprint of ‘Kali for Women’ which she founded in 2003.

While, Ritu Menon is a publisher, writer, independent scholar and activist. She has been in the trade of academic publishing for more than twenty-five years and co-founded ‘Kali for Women’, India’s first and oldest feminist press. She is active in the women’s and women’s studies movements in India and South Asia. She is a founder-member of Women’s World, an international free-speech network of writers and publishers, which has worked with over 200 women writers in India on the question of gender-based censorship. She is also a co-author of Borders & Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition (Kali for Women, 1998). Her edited book No Woman’s Land: Women from Pakistan, India & Bangladesh about the Partition of India was published by ‘Women Unlimited’ which is an imprint of ‘Kali for Women’ in 2004.

AABP congratulates Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon for giving the Indian publishing fraternity a place of pride.

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