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Michel Danino Padma Shri Awarded In 2017

Michel Danino

Michel Danino

Award Name : Padma Shri

Year of Award : 2017

Award for : Literature

Location : Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India


Michel Danino was born in 1956 at Honfleur (France) into a family which had emigrated from Morocco. He was attracted to India from an early age. Yogis of India, Sri Aurobindo and The Mother particularly attracted him. In 1977, dissatisfied after four years of higher scientific studies, he left France for India, where he has since been living. In The Invasion that Never Was (2000), he criticized the "Aryan invasion theory" and its proponents, instead opting for the notion of "Indigenous Aryans". Danino asserts that Aryans are indigenous to India. Danino is a guest professor at IIT Gandhinagar, where he is assisting the setting up of an Archaeological Sciences Centre. He spent a few years in Auroville, Tamil Nadu. Later, he lived in the Nilgiri mountains for two decades. In 2003 he settled near Coimbatore and adopted Indian citizenship.

While in the Nilgiris he fought against the daily destruction of Shola or evergreen montane rainforests of the Western Ghats and turned into a nature conservationist. His work prompted the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in 1998 to invite a committee of local citizens to assist in protecting Longwood Shola near Kotagiri. He said about the incident, "It shows that public's participation is the key and that the government alone, even when it has goodwill, is simply not geared to face today's challenges, but it is important that people get involved." On 25th January 2017, Government of India announced "Padma Shri" award for his contribution towards Literature & Education.