The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday presented the pestigious 'Kalpana Chawla Gallantary Award for 2006' to WB Vasantha Kandasamy, an Assistant Professor in IIT-Madras for her crusade for social justice.
Chief Minister M Karunanidhi presented the award after hoisting the National flag from the ramparts of Fort St George and addressing the public in Chennai on Tuesday morning.
A panel, constituted by the government, selected Vasantha for the award, in recognition of her fight for social justice in Madras IIT. The award comprised Rs 5 lakh and a medal.
A scholar and researcher in Mathematics, Vasantha has been in the Mathematics Department for 17 years. She has written 14 books, published in the United States and also written two books on AIDS awareness.
Vasantha was the only teacher among 480 others working at IIT to demand and fight that the administration appoint teachers on the basis of social justice.
Karunanidhi also presented the awards for exemplary service to the physically-challenged. Best Non-Governmental Organisations, which are involved in providing rehabilitation, medical and employment facilities to the visually and physically-challenged persons were given the awards.
The awards in different catagories, carried a Gold medal, a cash of Rs 50,000 and citations. After distributing the awards, Karunanidhi distributed sweets and food packets to 10 physically-challenged children.