Padma Bhushan for B.N. Suresh
Six Bangaloreans — four of whom are from the cutting-edge fields of science and engineering — made it to the elite and prestigious list of Padma award winners announced on the eve of the 64th Republic Day celebrations. The seventh recipient is paralympic silver medallist H.N. Girisha, from Hassan.
Apart from him, also making the cut were former cricket skipper Rahul Dravid and and theatre artiste B. Jayashree.
Bangalore being the knowledge capital, it is hardly surprising that four of the seven recipients were from some of India’s tallest science and research institutes.
Roddam Narasimha, chairperson, Engineering Mechanical Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, was conferred the prestigious Padma Vibhushan. He told The Hindu he was “deeply honoured”. “It’s recognition of the work that the scientific community is doing; recognition of what a large number of students, post-docs and researchers at my institute do.”
The Padma awards, he said, have always recognised scientific achievements and this is in continuation of that tradition.
Bagging the Padma Bhushan is B.N. Suresh, former director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, and founding director of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology. He is known for his contribution to space capsule recovery experiments.
“I’m extremely happy .… scientists these days are getting recognition on a par with people from other fields. With the scientific advancements taking place in the country, awards like this will certainly motivate scientists to work for the country.”
Another prominent city scientist who won the Padma Shri, K. Vijayraghavan, director of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, also praised Bangalore’s scientific temper. “It’s a great honour for all of my colleagues and collaborators who have worked to create a wonderful intellectual home in Bangalore. And it is terrific to see a good number of awards to science.”
Physicist Ajay K. Sood of the Department of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science and member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said of his Padma Shri: “I feel humbled that the country has recognised my efforts. It reflects the efforts of students and collaborators .… who equally deserve this award.”
Hassan boy and paralympic high jumper who brought home a silver at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, H.N. Girisha said his Padma Shri is the “best bumper birthday gift ever”. Saturday being his 24th birthday, he said he had no words to describe his happiness, and compared his joy to when he won the silver in London.
“Coming from a rural background, and to win such a prestigious award, I never thought of all this even in my wildest dreams. I thank everyone for recognising my achievement and promise to strive harder to improve on my performance.” It may be recalled that before his achievement in London, Mr. Girisha was running from pillar to post to secure a government job. This award, he said is “much more than a dream”.
Speaking to The Hindu about her Padma Shri, B. Jayashree, theatre artiste and Rajya Sabha member, emphasised on the responsibilities that this award would put on her shoulder. “The award has increased my responsibility to work more in the field of theatre and also as a member of the Rajya Sabha. I want to dedicate this award to the theatre fraternity and the people of Karnataka.”