Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Puraskar to Suman MutheThe role of an Indian woman traditionally has been that of a mother, sister, wife in the Indian household.Today, however, the Indian woman has changed and in her own way wants to contribute to the society.The Indian woman rubbing shoulders with men is a common sight today and she has excelled in everyquarter in the society. This also holds true for women’s contribution to the society and there are so manyexamples. Many women like Rani Laxmi bai, Devi Ahilyabai, Mother Teresa, Savitribai Phule have left amark in their own ways to contribute in the Indian society.There are manysuccess stories today and it is important that such women should be publicly recognizedso that they become role models and inspire future generations, not only women but everyone. If thesewomen are given their due recognition, it would also go a long way in encouraging their contribution andmotivate them to give more to the society. It would be fair to say that these are special god sentemissaries that have a unique mission, a definite purpose for their existence.The government in its efforts has instituted various awards to recognise the achievements of thesewomen and among these, there are five national awards which are called Stree Shakti Puraskar. Theseawards are in the name of the following eminent women personalities in the Indian history, who werefamous for their personal courage and integrity and of course societal contribution:-Devi Ahilya BaiHolkar, Kanngi, Mata Jijabai,Rani Gaidenlou Zeliang,Rani Lakshmi Bai. These award carry a cash prizeof Rs.1 lakh and a citation. The awards are given to women who have challenged circumstances thatwomen go through and triumphed over them that resulted in proper justice and empowerment of womenin India.Women who have worked for the support and rehabilitation of women and children and resolved issuesfor destitute women, marital problems, early marriage, fraud, widows, old aged and disabled women andvictims of atrocities and conflicts are given recognition for empowering women. The government alsoawards the achievements of women who have worked in the areas of education, health, agriculture, ruraland tribal areas, conservation of forests and environment and those who have raised awareness amongstwomen issues through use of media are also recognized and awarded by the Government.One of theawards will be given towards recognition of personal achievements by a woman who has challengeddifficult circumstances. The Department of Women and Child Development invites nominations for theawards from Non-Governmental Organisations, Women Development Corporations, National and Statelevel Commissions for Women etc. through the State Governments and Union Territory Administration.Suman Muthe, noted social activist, author and speaker received the “Ahilyabai Holkar Puraskar” during1999-2000 at the hands of the then Chief Minister of Mahrashtra, Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh. Suman Mutheis based in Nasik, Maharashtra and has been actively working in the areas of child welfare and tribalwomen development particularly in the tribal belts of Maharashtra, India since more than 20 years. Shehas initiated and implemented several projects and empowered women on various aspects such as childhealth care, women rights, family counselling etc. In recognition of her contribution, she has beenawarded by many organisations in the past. Recently, she received the "Siddha Sewa" award by SwamiHardas Foundation, Pune which is her 22nd award in her list of recognitions. Besides doing grass rootwork, she has authored four books, delivers lectures and is a prolific writer.Suman Muthe has undertaken various projects and camps with the help of volunteers in SatyaniketanTrust and has successfully implemented projects to empower tribal women. The issue of wrongfulexploitation of women in these areas has reduced considerably due to the efforts taken by Suman Muthe.Even at the age of 64 years, she makes it a point to visit these villages, hold meeting with members of thetrust and work towards women empowerment.