Rani Laxmibai Stree Shakti Puraskar for Manasi Pradhan
Statesman News Service
Bhubaneswar, 7 March
Ms Manasi Pradhan will receive the Rani Laxmibai Stree Shakti Puraskar, the highest national honour given to a woman, from the President of India tomorrow.
The spirited lady whose life is a story of struggle and exemplary courage is the first Odia to be chosen for the national honour.
The award instituted in the year 1991 includes a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh and a citation.
The 2012 Rani Laxmibai Stree Shakti Puraskar was conferred by the President posthumously on the Delhi braveheart “Nirbhaya” last year.
Mrs Manasi Pradhan has been chosen for the award for her exemplary courage as reflected in her own personal life and in her relentless fight for the rights of women, leading a nationwide movement to end violence against women.
She heads the Honour for Women National Campaign which works towards creating countrywide public opinion for prompt steps to end violence against women and has successfully made several states cut down on liquor trade. It also champions the cause of including self-defence training for women in the educational curriculum.
Born to a very poor family in a remote village called `Ayatapur’ in Banpur block of Khurda district, Manasi Pradhan battled odds and trekked 15 km daily to study and become the first post graduate and woman lawyer of Banpur.
Her passion was not just to empower herself but to inspire and empower thousands of women, who rarely find the courage to pursue their dream.
She leads the Honour for Women National Campaign and has constituted the  “Nirbhaya Vahini” with over 10,000 volunteers across the country to take on the fight for women’s rights.
In 2011, Mrs Manasi Pradhan was conferred with the prestigious ‘Outstanding Women Award’ along with global chief of Missionaries of Charity Sister Prema at the International Women’s Day ceremony jointly held by United Nation’s UN Women & National Commission for Women.
Following the award, she was inducted as Inquiry Committee Member of National Commission for Women. She is also a member of the International Governing Council of World Women Organisation (WWO).