Philanthropist and social worker Baba Iqbal Singh, who is on a ventilator, is among this year's Padma Shree award winners.
He retired as the director of agriculture in the Himachal Pradesh government in 1986 and the very year started Akal Academy, a school on the foothills of Baru Sahib in the state.
The school which had five students at the beginning, is today a chain of 129 CBSE affiliated English medium schools. He also set up two private universities which now have around around 70,000 rural students.
Furthering the cause of women empowerment in rural areas, the 96-year-old set up educational institutions dedicated to women, teachers training program and employment centres within the villages.
In an interview to Berkley Center in 2010, he said as a small boy one of his favorite pastimes was to listen to and later to read the stories of ancient saints like Dhruv and Prehlad (both boy-princes), and other sages, seers, saints, and the Sikh Gurus.