Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar (left) and eminent scientist C N R Rao receiving the ‘Bharat Ratna’ award from President Pranab Mukherjee during an awarding ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi yesterday.
New Delhi: Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and eminent scientist C N R Rao were yesterday conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, by President Pranab Mukherjee at a glittering ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
The two joined the list of 41 eminent personalities who have been given the Bharat Ratna in recognition of their contribution to society.
Tendulkar, 40, nominated to the Rajya Sabha last year, is the first sportsperson and the youngest recipient of the award. He was accompanied by his wife Anjali and daughter Sara to the ceremony.
Rao, 79, is the fourth scientist after C V Raman, M Visvesvaraya and former president A P J Abdul Kalam to get the Bharat Ratna.
It was a brief ceremony that lasted six-and-a-half minutes. Mukherjee entered the historic Durbar Hall at exactly 12 noon to honour Rao and Tendulkar.
Prime Miister Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, A K Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge and Rajiv Shukla were also present.
Tendulkar dedicated the honour to his mother and all mothers of the country who sacrificed their personal aspirations so that the dreams of their children are realised.
“This is the biggest honour. Extremely delighted at getting this award. I want to reiterate again that I want to dedicate this award to my mother and all other mothers of India who sacrificed their aspirations so that their children’s dreams come true,” said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar ended his illustrious career with a fair clutch of records. He has 15,921 runs from a record 200 Test matches at an average of 53.58 and 51 centuries.
He scored 18,426 runs from 463 ODIs with an average of 44.83 including 49 centuries. He was also the first to score a double hundred in the 50-over format. Tendulkar quit the one-day form of cricket in 2012 and Tests last year.
Rao is known for his work in solid state and structural chemistry. “Well, this is fantastic, my own country has given me this award. This is a big thing. I have been a professor of science for 55 years and I have got so many awards in the past but this is the best. I will cherish this award the most in my life,” Rao said.
Rao feels that India is performing well in the field of science but other majors like China and South Korea are doing better.
“We are doing good but others like China and South Korea are doing better. We are also investing a lot of money in the area of scientific research but a lot more needs to be done,” he said.
Rao is the honorary president of Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, which he founded in 1989. He was appointed chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in January 2005. He is also the director of the International Centre for Materials Science.
The government last year changed the nomination criteria for Bharat Ratna to include sportspersons. Legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand was also recommended for the award but Tendulkar was chosen.