The Home Ministry today announced the list of recipients of the Padma awards - one of the highest civilian awards of the country- ahead of the 73rd Republic Day. Mizo academician VL Nghaka (91 yrs) receives the Padma Shri for Literature & Education, making him the only awardee from Mizoram this year. 

A total of 128 people have been honoured this year with the Awards that are conferred in three categories - Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri.

V.L Nghaka has outstanding performance in voluntary activities and social services. He also made significant contribution to the promotion of Education and Hindi in Mizoram. The most significant proof of his heroism is his act of retrieving the body of an 18year-old girl from an underground pond called Tuilut, located in the outskirts of Kolasib in 1971. 

He worked as a peacemaker between the Indian Army and the Mizo National Front during the 20 year insurgency. During this period, he was the interpreter as he was the first Mizo to pass Shiksha Visharad. He bailed out more than 100 Mizo prisoners from the Indian Army by negotiating with the authorities, paying bail money from his own pocket and by signing Bail Bonds. On account of his brave encounter with the Commandant of the Indian Army in Kolasib, forced coolie work impose upon the local people came to an end. 

From 1954 till his retirement, V.L Nghaka worked tirelessly for the promotion of Hindi Education in Mizoram amidst the opposition from different angles such as the Mizo National Front before and during the insurgency. In 1954, the first Mizoram Hindi Prachar Sabha was established under his presidentship. The Sabha has expanded to 18 schools with B.A Hindi course, 35 Prachar centres and 64 Vidhyalayas. B.Ed Hindi Training College has also been set up. All these are the fruits of the effort of V.L Nghaka to promote Hindi education in Mizoram. He is currently the only surviving member of the first Board of Mizoram Hindi Prachar Samiti 1954. He authored three important books for Hindi learners- Hindi Grammar, Hindi- Mizo Dictionary and Hindi Pariksha Sahayika.

The 91 year old Padma Shri awardee currently lives with his family at his residence in Ramhlun South, Aizawl.