9 Centenarians Who are Going Strong And Making India Proud

The number of centenarians in India is around 27000 and we rank 4th in the world when it comes to the number of 100-year-old seniors. While old age comes with its own bundle of issues, some of these 100-club members are going strong with their determination to make their country proud. Here's a list of Indian centenarians who are inspiring others to join the club.

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6 MIN READ

1Pappukutty Bhagavathar (106)

Renowned for his work in the Indian film industry with his exceptional voice and acting skills, Mr. Pappukutty Bhagavathar was born on 29th March 1913. Born in ‘God’s own country’, Kerala, his contribution to the Malayalam film industry is immense. Born and raised in a family of two brothers and sisters, Mr. Bhagavathar studied in a government school, in Vypin, Kochi.

He started his career in the cultural field when he was just 7 years old. He was a child artist in a musical named ‘Vedamani’. He played a role as an actor and singer in his first movie ‘Prasanna’. He had a very successful career and worked in several movies like Guruvayoorappan, Sthreehridayam, Muthalali, Oraal Koodi Kallanaayi, Vila Kuranja Manushyar, Anju Sundarikal, Viruthan Shankhu, Padicha Kallan, Shyamalachechi, Aadyakiranangal and Kattukurangu. The last film he acted in was Vice-Chancellor.

He created history in Malayalam film industry by singing for 2010 released Marykkundoru Kunjadu at the age of 98. In 2013, he celebrated his 100th birthday and joined the 100’s club.

2Aiyappan Pillai (105)

Mr. Aiyappan Pillai is an Indian lawyer, politician, former member of the legislative assembly and a writer. Born on 24th May 1914, he is the senior-most living member of the Bar in India. He was born in Travancore and completed his education from the Law College, Trivandrum. He participated in the Quit India Movement after he met Mahatma Gandhi when he was a student. With Gandhi’s advice, he decided to stand for elections and formed a new legislature of Travancore. He was representing Trivandrum as a Congress candidate.

In 1971, the Bhartiya Janata Party approached him to be the figurehead. His interests in politics reduced, however, he was a Chairman and Vice President of the party on several occasions.

3Man Kaur (103)

Man Kaur is an Indian track and field athlete, also known as the fastest centenarian. Born on 1st March 1916 in Punjab, she has won several medals at international levels. She holds the record of various athletic events, especially in at World Masters Games. World Masters Game is considered as an Olympic for senior citizens. Man Kaur at the age of 103, still follows her schedule like waking up at 6 am and run for at least 20 km a day.

Apart from athletics and making her mark all around the world in running, Kaur is the oldest person in the world to walk at the top of Auckland’s tower which is 328 meters tall. It seems that with growing age, she is becoming more and more excited to test her limits. She is still practicing and looking forward to winning more medals at the 2020 Masters Game in Japan.

Her son, Gurudev Singh who is also an athlete is mentoring her to break more records in coming years.

4Shyam Saran Negi (102)

Shyam Saran Negi is a retired school teacher and first voter of India after independence in the year 1951. He was born on 1st July 1917, in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh.

When India’s first General Elections were held in 1951, Negi was assigned poll duty. But such was his enthusiasm to be a part of the process, that he requested to cast his vote first and then move to his polling booth for duty. That’s how he became India’s first voter,

At the age of 99, he has made a special appearance in a Bollywood movie named Sanam Re in the year 2016.

In the year 2010, Negi was invited in the celebration of Election Commission’s diamond jubilee celebration. Negi is an inspiration for the younger generation and is set to vote in 2019 Lok Sabha election. Currently, Negi is the brand ambassador of Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaign by the Election Commission of India.

5H. S. Doreswamy (101)

Harohalli Srinivasaiah Doreswamy is an Indian activist and journalist. Born on 10th April 1918 in Mysore was raised by his Grandfather, as his father Srinivasan Iyer passed away when he was 5 years old. He was influenced by the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the book ‘My Early Life’ and joined the Indian Freedom Movement. After completing his B.Sc. in 1942, he along with his brother participated in Quit India Movement. He was arrested right before joining the Quit India Movement for selling bombs. However, these bombs were harmless to humans and freedom fighters used it in front of courts and government offices. Doreswamy used to believe in ‘Do or Die’, however, his thinking towards life changed and he chose the path of Ahimsa (peace).

Later on, he settled in Mysore and opened a bookshop in the year 1947. He also became an editor of the local newspaper, however, this newspaper was under investigation by the Mysore government.

After Independence, he also joined ‘Mysore Chalo’ campaign which was for the unification of Karnataka.

6Sharadchandra Shankar Shrikhande (107)

Sharadchandra Shankar Shrikhande is a revered Indian mathematician and well known for his accomplishments in combinatorial mathematics. Born on 19th October 1912, he has worked with the best mathematicians of the likes of R C Bose and E T parker for ‘Leonhard Euler conjecture’. Shrikhande earned a Ph.D. in the year 1950 from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the direction of R. C. Bose. He was a professor at Banaras Hindu University and the founding head of the mathematics department.

Currently, Shrikhande is the member of the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Mathematical Institute, USA.

7Hema Bharali (100)

Hema Bharali is well known for a contribution towards women empowerment. Born on 19th February 1919, Bharali a ‘Gandhian’, had an influential impact during the independence fight for the nation. The 1950’s devastating earthquake in Assam had an impact on her life, since then she decided to work for uplifting and development of the society. She became the leader of the Bhoodan movement launched by Vinod Bhave in 1951. Bharali is the founder member of Central Social Welfare Board.

In 2005, she was awarded Padma Shri for her remarkable contribution towards the society. Followed by Padma Shri she was conferred with the National Communal Harmony Award by an autonomous organization working under the Ministry of Home Affairs. In early 2009, she received Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Memorial Award for National Integration from the government of Assam.

As of now, Bharali is an unmarried centenarian and still interacting with people on a regular basis.

8Philipose Mar Chrysostom (101)

Philipose Mar Chrysostom is a retired Bishop of the Malankara Mar Thoma Church. He acted as the Bishop for 66 years and was referred to as Chrysostom Thirumeni. Born on 27th April 1918 in Travancore and his birth name is Phillip Oommen. Belonging to Adangappurathu Kalamannil family who has a high number of priests and one of the reasons he chose to become a priest and serve the word of God. He was the President of the National Council of Churches and was present World Council of Churches in 1954 and 1968. After almost five decades serving for the church on 28th of August 2007, Phillip decided to step down as supreme head of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church due to old age and sickness.

Philipose Mar Chrysostom has been honored with Padma Bhushan on 20th March 2018 for services to society.

9Ambutai Vishnupant Thorve (99)

Ambutai Vishnupant Thorve also known as ‘Ajji’, is another inspiration for the youth of India. At the age of 99, she cast her vote with the knowledge of current affairs of Indian politics. Because of old age, Ambutai is unable to walk, however, this did not stop her from contributing to the future of India. Well aware of the secrecy of candidate to whom she has voted, Ambutai has not disclosed this information and is eagerly waiting to know the result of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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