In a first, President Ram Nath Kovind is set to honour professional poker player and animal rights activist Muskan Sethi with the ‘Women’s Achievers Award’ next month.
The recognition comes at the initiative of Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, whose ministry decided to honour 100 women achievers in India from various walks of life. The date and venue of the award ceremony is yet to be announced.
“We have been felicitating unusual groupings of women for the last two years and have honoured 100 women achievers from across the country. This time, we thought it fitting to bring together women who have been the first to make a career in male-dominated professions on a common platform and laud their achievement,” Gandhi told Hindustan Times while confirming the news.
“I was officially contacted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development of our country in July. They informed me that I was selected to receive this honor and I still can’t believe it. It’s hard to express how I feel, my journey so far is flashing before my eyes, feeling blessed and really looking forward” said Sethi in a statement to online news portal Pokerguru.
The other awardees that are set to be felicitated include Ira Singhal, the first differently abled woman to top the civil services; Punita Arora, the first woman to become lieutenant general; Priya Jhingan, the first cadet to join Indian Army; Radhika Menon, the first female merchant navy captain and Harshini Kanhekar, the first woman firefighter.
Sethi being felicitated with this prestigious award is the first instance where poker is being recognised as a profession by the central government and is likely to help the growth of the game in the country.