SHE awards - What’s a ‘shevening’? An evening dedicated to she POWER! XI wow women were celebrated at The Telegraph SHE awards. t2 leads the standing ovation

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 28.07.16

What: The first ever The Telegraph She Awards, presented by Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals Kolkata, in association with Senco Gold & Diamonds, with Celebrations Partner Seagram’s 100 Pipers Music CDs, Television Partner ABP Ananda and Radio Partner 91.9 Friends FM.

When & where: July 23 evening at Pala, ITC Sonar 

The award: “The Telegraph 

She Awards has been instituted to recognise women achievers with a Bengal connect,” announced Tollywood star Swastika Mukherjee, who was the emcee for the Shevening. 

Eleven women achievers in different fields were honoured with a trophy designed by sculptor Narayan Sinha, a bouquet of flowers and a gift bag from Senco Gold & Diamonds. 


Dare to think big, dare to change the world. As former (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, women’s rights are human rights. And tonight’s event is an example of advancing the status of women worldwide, because we know that it’s not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do.... I congratulate the awardees and also The Telegraph for recognising the importance of women. 
— Craig L. Hall

What a wonderful thing it is to be here and a great idea it is for The Telegraph to do it... and with such style.  
— Naresh Kumar

I feel so happy to see our country is blessed with so many wonderful women. Thank you The Telegraph for recognising this talent. The Telegraph is not just a newspaper, they have been doing work that changes people’s lives. Thank you also, for making me aware of my capabilities... I feel so empowered! The She Awards should go on and on and on.... 
— Rituparna Sengupta

In our society, the belief that women should take care of only the family still survives. It is here that today’s woman scores over her male counterpart, moving seamlessly between the office and home. No matter how 
high-profile her career is, she still takes time off for the needs of her family, and the word “multitasker” was probably coined for women in today’s world.... My salute to all the winners!
— Rupali Basu


Anoyara Khatun receives her award from US consul-general Craig L. Hall and dancer Priti Patel
THE BRAVEHEART: A 20-year-old from the Sunderbans, she has saved more than 85 girls from being trafficked in the last seven years — yes, she turned saviour at age 13. Idolises Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

Q: Anoyara, The Telegraph has called you India’s Malala; how does that make you feel? 
A: “I liked it when The Telegraph called me India’s Malala. Malala’s struggle with women’s and children’s education is a source of inspiration for all of us. I have been working for child protection for the past several years. But The Telegraph She Awards is not just my own. It is for all those who have stood by me in my struggle. I hope all of you bless me and support me so that I can achieve my goals and keep moving forward.” 


Sharbari Datta receives the award from filmmaker 
Anjan Dutt and singer-songwriter Anupam Roy 
woman in a man’s world: She’s been successful in changing mindsets and altering perceptions about men’s dressing (think black and red dhotis). Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have all worn her.

q: Who is that one man you still want to dress?
a: “E shob ki bolte achhe (Should one be saying such things)?!” 


Anamika Khanna receives The Telegraph She Power Award from Italian consul-general Damiano Francovigh and Rakhi Sarkar, the director of  CIMA Gallery

the fashion icon: What she thinks today, the country, led by Sonam Kapoor, wears tomorrow. Grounded in her craft, and reclusive in her art, she lets her clothes do all the talking!

q: What is tougher for you… designing a sublime collection or saying yes to a dinner invite?
a: “There, you catch me in the right spot! I was in Delhi yesterday and all my colleagues said, ‘You can’t leave, Couture Week is going on!’ I said, ‘No, I’m going to Calcutta and The Telegraph... that’s home. And they said, ‘Don’t mess with her!’
To come to your question, I think it would be saying yes to the dinner invite.... I love what I do. It’s something that keeps me going, and you have to prioritise. So you choose and you give up something. It’s all right.”  


Shamlu Dudeja receives her trophy from philanthropist Sunita Kumar and squash champ Saurav Ghosal
the KANTHA QUEEN: She has helped revive the craft of kantha and take it to the world. The profits go to a foundation that provides kantha artisans with medical, nutritional, educational and financial help. 

Q: To someone who does not know what it is, how would you describe kantha?
a: “It is a stitch that the tailorbird makes. A tailorbird takes two leaves and with its long beak it breaks a little snippet from the plant and sews the two leaves together to make its home. The same running stitch is done in kantha in a slightly more fashionable way.... For the women who are members of our foundation, who have put their heart and soul into reviving kantha, the running stitch has today made homes for them.” 


Priya Paul receives the award from tennis veteran Naresh Kumar and actress June 

THE STAR HOTELIER: Having taken up the reins of The Park hotels almost overnight after losing her father, she has made it a hospitality brand to be proud of. 

q: Your proud mom (Shirin Paul) is here to see you receive the award. What would you like to say to her?
a: “I wouldn’t be who I am without my mother. She has been really a fantastic person in my life. While I am here, I do want to thank my family who are all here in full support... (hoots and cheers from the Paul clan fill Pala!)... the family has really been my fantastic support that kept me going. I want to thank the people of Calcutta, and Calcutta the city itself. That’s really what I carry with me. That’s really what has formed me.”


Lovey receives the award from filmmaker Suman Mukhopadhyay and actress Parno Mittra

THE DESSERT DON: An indulgent chocolate boat or a trendy catering menu, her mantra is simple: good food sells, so don’t compromise. She is also a gutsy businesswoman. And if you’ve tasted the Kookie Jar Lemon Tarts, we needn’t say more!

q: What is the secret ingredient behind your Lemon Tart? On a less serious note, what is the secret ingredient in Kookie Jar’s success?
a: “The answer to both is that we have a lot of love and passion for what we do. That’s it.”


Sister Cyril is inducted into The Telegraph She Awards Hall of Fame by D.D. Purkayastha, the MD and CEO of ABP Pvt Ltd, and Tollywood star Rituparna Sengupta, to a standing ovation from the Pala audience.

THE EDUCATION PIONEER: The 80-year-old Irish nun has been working in Calcutta for an inclusive education system since 1973, picking up children from garbage dumps and slums and educating them as equals at Loreto Day School, Sealdah. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007.

q: Sister, what gives you the biggest satisfaction after so many years of selfless work?
a: “I think my greatest satisfaction was when someone labelled ‘incapable’ or ‘academically below par’ by other schools would land up in my school and I would see them do well in the final examination. I’m totally against competition. With all the gifts that God has given you… don’t look at other people and say, ‘I want their gifts, I want to be like them, I want to come first.’ It is competition that has, I think, destroyed wonderful relationships. Even in the Olympic Games, we have people who are cheating and taking drugs and it’s all coming from the school system, from parents that encourage their children to fight for the top place. There should be no ‘top place’. There can’t be one top place because we are all created different.”


Malabika Sarkar receives her award from filmmaker Suman Ghosh and Rupali Basu, president and CEO, eastern region, Apollo Hospitals Group

THE TALENT MAGNET: The former vice-chancellor of Presidency University helped the new university attract top teachers and world-class mentors from different parts of India and abroad. At present she is principal academic adviser at Ashoka University. 

q: What is the one quality that a woman must have to break the glass ceiling?
a: “To succeed, a woman has to have self-belief, one must also be at peace with oneself and then be smart, but under the radar. Let it not be noticed by those you are working with.... I also want to say that this award is not for me alone. It’s for the generations of students I have taught since the late 1970s.... I would also like to thank everyone who was at Presidency during the time I was there.”


Smita Pandit Chakraborty, MD of Phoenix Conveyor Belt India, receives the award from German consul-general Olaf Iversen and directors of Senco Gold & Diamonds, Ranjana Sen and Joita Sen

Q: What is the one thing that companies need to do to retain top female talent?
A: “Of course genius and talent are irrespective of gender, 
at the same time I would say companies should support female employees definitely in terms of flexible work timings.... But I would also say that the women themselves who are so capable, have so much talent within, but they don’t let it come to the surface. If they do, I would say many more women would make it to the top.”


MADHUMITA BASU, chief, sales & marketing, and a member of the country executive council, Lafarge India, receives the trophy from couture jeweller RAJ MAHTANI and actress TONUSHREE CHAKRABORTY

Q: Battery, then cement… what is the next male bastion that you want to conquer?
A: “All that we’ve seen today, the ladies who have come to the stage, they’ve all worked in male bastions, so I don’t think being in the corporate sector I have had a different order of challenges. It’s lovely being here with all these great ladies and I think I’m a little more prepared now to take on that male bastion which is probably not yet visible to me.” 


Raji Ramaswamy, managing partner, J. Walter Thompson Calcutta, receives the award from filmmaker Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and Atul Bhalla, general manager of ITC Sonar

Q: What is the one ad on women that makes you smile?
A: “The kind of advertising that does not stereotype women into holes and is able to show what the great possibilities are, in terms of what she could do to change the world, because women can truly change the world if you believe in them.”


Jury members Rupali Basu and Rituparna Sengupta

Swastika Mukherjee and Parno Mittra

Naresh and Sunita Kumar 

“The dinner is delicious, especially the fish,” says Sister Cyril as Madhumita Basu stops by her table


Pictures: Rashbehari Das, B. Halder, Pabitra Das and Arnab Mondal