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53 receive Padma awards from President

Staff Reporter

This is the second part of the investiture ceremony Air Commodore Jasjit Singh: "It is overwhelming. It is a unique medal... ''



HONOURED: Some of the recipients of Padma awards at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday. — Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

NEW DELHI: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam conferred the Padma Vibhushan, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri on 53 persons in the second part of the investiture ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday.

Well-known architect Charles Correa, eminent scientist Obaid Siddiqi, the former Chief Justice of India, V.N. Khare, and medical professional Prakash Narain Tandon received the Padma Vibushan. Unlike last time, the glittering Ashoka Hall was packed with relatives, friends and media persons.

The Padma Bhushan was conferred on Devaki Jain for her contribution to social justice and women empowerment.

Wildlife conservationist Arjan Singh was also conferred the Padma Bhushan. A frail Mr. Singh was met half way by Mr. Kalam who walked up to him amid thunderous applause.

The Padma Bhushan was also conferred on Hira Lall Sibal for his contribution to the cause of justice, Hindi writer Kamleshwar and well-known authority on the Constitution M.V. Pylee.

Air Commodore Jasjit Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his distinguished service to the country. He marched up smartly to add another medal to his large collection. Speaking to the media later, the brave soldier said: "It is overwhelming. It is a unique medal. My family is one of the most highly decorated families in India, this is another seal.'' Displaying sensitivity as usual, Mr. Kalam walked forward to confer the Padma Bhushan on N. Srinivasan Ramaswamy. Prof. Ramaswamy has been a pioneer in management education, animal welfare, philosophy, culture, appropriate technology and rural development.

Actor Chiranjeevi was also awarded the Padma Bhushan. Dressed in a white kurta-pyjama, Mr. Chiranjeevi later told reporters that he was very happy and that this award was due to the love showered on him by his fans. The chief mentor of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Tarun Das, also received the Padma Bhushan.

The Padma Shri was bestowed on Punjabi fiction writer Ajeet Cour, eminent gynaecologist B. Palaniappan, journalist Fatma Rafiq Zakaria and Ayurvedic physician Ghanashyam Mishra. Odissi dancer Ileana Citaristi, distinguished cardiologist Kamal Kumar Sethi and journalist Mrinal Pande were also conferred the award.

Beauty expert Shahnaz Husain, dressed in sparkling white gown with feathers around her neck, also received the Padma Shri.

Speaking to the press, Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas, who was awarded the Padma Shri, said: "I was very excited since the morning. When I came here this evening, it felt awesome. I can't describe what I am feeling to be an Indian and getting this award from the President.''

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