NEW DELHI: So whilst generally the news about the northeast India is about blasts and destruction, insurgency and killings, here is a delightful and a welcome digression from the norm- as many as six eminent personalities from the region have been chosen and will soon be conferred this years Padma awards.

The six acclaimed names are of national Award-winning Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua, renowned Assam environmentalist Jadav Payeng, pianist and Shillong Chamber Choir founder Neil Herbert Nongkynrih along with celebrated Assamese writer Lakshmi Nandan Bora, noted Manipur’s medicine expert Sarungbam Bimola Kumari Devi and eminent social worker from Arunachal Pradesh H Thegtse Rinpoche.

While Barua, a former Padma Shri recipient will be conferred with the Padma Bhushan, the other five would be honoured with the Padma Shri.

Barua, an acclaimed filmmaker has won 10 National Film Awards and over 25 awards at International festivals. His "Halodhiya Choraye Baodhan Khai" (Catastrophe) won the President's Swarna Kamal for the best feature film in 1987, while "Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door" (It's a Long Way to the Sea) received the Swarna Kamal for best director in 1996.

His "Firingoti" (Spark) won the second best national film award and the best actress award for Moloya Goswami. In 2003, he was given the Padma Shri for his contribution to cinema.

Jadav Payeng, often referred to as the “'Forest Man of India”, aged 56 , single-handedly planted nearly 1,400 acres of forest on a Brahmaputra sandbar near Majuli known as Molai Kathonibari. He is a resident of Aruna Sapori at Kokilamukh in Jorhat district.

Nonkynrih from Meghalaya, the patient pianist, is also the founder of the famous Shillong Choir, which had performed for President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle during their first visit to India in 2010. His major work is the folk opera Sohlyngngem. In seeking to preserve the Khasi language, Nongkynrih had composed the folk opera that has been premiered in Switzerland and three of its songs were premiered in July 2005 in Vienna, along with excerpt performances in India and abroad.

Lakshmi Nandan Bora, the noted Assamese short-story writer and a novelist is also a former president of Axom Xahitya Xabha and has about 60 books to his credit.

Meanwhile, Devi, the Chief Medical Officer of Imphal West has been awarded for her contribution to the society as a medical professional, while Rinpoche is associated with the Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh and has been chosen for his contribution as a social worker.

Padma awards – one of the highest civilian awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri and are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.

The awards are given in various disciplines. Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field

These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year.