A gynaecologist, a hockey coach, an architect, a theatre for performing arts, an environmental organisation and a social organisation may share nothing in common. But on Friday, each of these was recognised for their contribution to varied aspects of city life, at a glittering ceremony at the HT for Mumbai awards.
In the individual category, the winners were Anahita Pundole, a gynaecologist who waged a 12-year-long battle against illegal hoardings and posters, Merzban Patel — fondly known as Bawa — for teaching underprivileged children hockey for free for 39 years, and architect PK Das for his campaign for equitable development in the city.
In the category for organisations, the 137-year-old Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) won for their work on environment conservation, Stree Mukti Sangathana for working for betterment of waste-pickers and Prithvi Theatre for providing a platform for multi-culture activities.
The second edition of the awards saw renowned architect and urban planner Charles Correa receiving the Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to the city.
In his opening remarks, Soumya Bhattacharya, the editor of Hindustan Times, Mumbai, described the nominees as changemakers. “They have had the courage to believe in change, and in the magic change can bring. They are the people who have worked selflessly, tirelessly just so that this city could change for the better.”
A panel discussion, Is imaginatively developing the eastern waterfront Mumbai’s last chance to reinvent itself?, put forth varied ideas on what could be done while agreeing on one aspect – that opening the eastern waterfront shouldn’t go the mill land way.
A diverse audience of citizen activists, politicians and policy makers attended the award ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel, Worli. After receiving the award, Correa, a strong proponent of public transport, said, “The energy of people in Mumbai comes from its mobility. We have taken a city of public transport and converted it into a land of private cars and traffic jams.”
Patel also won the readers’ choice award. “My hockey factory is still going on. It’s not been an easy task. We need to keep in touch with children and parents for a brighter India,” said Patel.