Aamir, Sehwag, Rahman among others to get Padma awards

Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, theatre personality Zohra Segal are among those awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the country`s second highest civilian award, in the Republic Day honours list announced on Monday. Actor Aamir Khan, Oscar-winning musician A.R. Rahman are among the 43 people awarded the Padma Bhushan.

New Delhi: Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Apollo Hospital group chairman Prathap C. Reddy, and theatre personalities Ebrahim Alkazi and Zohra Segal are among the six people awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the country`s second highest civilian award, in the Republic Day honours list announced Monday.

Actor Aamir Khan, Oscar-winning musician A.R. Rahman and Indian American editor Fareed Zakaria are among the 43 people awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest honour.

Actors Rekha and Saif Ali Khan, musician F. Wasifuddin Dagar, cardiologist K.K. Aggarwal, sports stars Virendra Sehwag (cricket), Saina Nehwal (badminton), Vijender Singh (boxing) and Ignace Tirkey (hockey) as also cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar are among the 81 people named for the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award.

For the second successive year, the Bharat Ratna, the country`s highest civilian honour, has not been awarded. It was last given in 2008 to classical singer Bhimsen Joshi.

Of the Padma Vibhushan awardees, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a US citizen, received the 2009 Nobel Prize for chemistry. Reddy set up India`s first corporate hospital with the Apollo in Chennai in 1983. Today, the group has over 22 centres in major metropolises in India with a combined turnover of over $100 million.

Alkazi is the founding head of the India`s premier theatre training institute, the National School of Drama; Segal, 97, is the doyenne of theatre and has appeared in numerous Bollywood and Hollywood movies.

Seventeen of the Padma awardees are women while 13 are foreigners, NRIs or people of Indian origin (PIOs).

Of the 130 awardees, the bulk - 37 - are from the world of art, 24 from the sphere of literature and education, 16 from medicine, 14 from trade and industry, 10 from science and engineering and six from the world of sports.

Others who have been honoured are 11 social workers, five for public affairs, four for civil service and one each for public service, journalism and environment protection.

President Pratibha Patil will give away the awards at an investiture ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan in March/April.

Among the others honoured with the Padma Vibhushan are percussionist Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman and former Reserve Bank of India governor Y.V Reddy.

The Padma Bhushan awardees include Ramakant M. Panda who had conducted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s heart surgery last year. Others honoured include dancer Mallika Sarabhai, Bipin Chandra (literature and education), former minister of state at the centre Eknath Rao alias Balasaheb Vikhe Patil (social work), hotelier C.P. Krishnan Nair, industrialist S.P. Oswal and realtor K.P. Singh.

Prominent among those awarded the Padma Bhushan in the category of foreigners/NRIs/PIOs are Fareed Zakaria (journalism), Tan Chung (literature and education), hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, and Manvinder Singh Banga (trade and industry).

Odissi exponent Mayadhar Raut, Oscar-winning sound enginer Resul Pokutty, former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief D.R. Karthikeyan, Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan and industrialist Kapil Mohan are among those named for the Padma Shri.

Three foreigners, Indologist Hermann Kulke of Germany, Sanskrit scholar Sheldon Pollock of the US and Spaniard Rafael Iruzubieta Fernandez (public affairs) have also been awarded the Padma Shri.

The Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, the Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of a high order and the Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field.


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