Venkatraman Ramakrishnan receives Padma Vibhushan; A.R. Rahman, Aamir Khan get Padma Bhushan

Nobel laureate Indian-origin scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, noted theatre personality Ebrahim Alkazi and founder-chairman of the Apollo Hospitals Prathap Chandra Reddy were conferred the Padma Vibhushan, second highest civilian award, by President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday.

Music maestro A.R. Rahman, film actor Aamir Khan, classical vocalist Pandit Channulal Mishra and prominent hotelier Captain C.P. Krishnan Nair were among 21 distinguished persons who were honoured with Padma Bhushan at a ceremony in the Ashoka Hall at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The loud applause was reserved for sportspersons Saina Nehwal (badminton), Virendra Sehwag (cricket) and Ignace Tirkey (hockey), when they walked up to the podium to receive Padma Shri award from the President.

Despite his IPL fixture in the Capital, Sehwag, vice-captain of the country's squad, made it a point to stay throughout the award ceremony, in sharp contrast to some cricketers who were named for Padma Shri last year but skipped the presentation ceremony.

Dhrupad exponent Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar; businesswoman Anu Aga; multi-lingual actor Arundhati Nag; the former CBI director, D.R. Karthikeyan; plant scientist Palpu Pushpangadan; eye surgeon Vikas Mahatme; and cardiologist K.K. Aggarwal were among those awarded Padma Shri.

Among the Padma Bhushan awardees were eminent neurosurgeon Satya Paul Agarwal; Tan Chung, a scholar who has worked tirelessly for promoting India-China friendship; renowned artist Ram Kumar; and eminent cardiac surgeon Ramakant Panda, who performed the “beating heart” surgery on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year.

The former Vice Chancellor of Goa University, P.R. Dubhashi (for civil service), and Abhijit Sen, member of the Planning Commission, were also conferred Padma Bhushan.

The former Union Minister, Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, received the award for social work.

Among others honoured with Padma Bhushan were, Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj; Balgangadharnatha Swamiji; Jagdish Chandra Kapur; Kushal Pal Singh; Mohammad Amin; N.C. Satyanarayana; P.K. Warrier; Satyavrat Shastri and Shripaul Oswal.

Founder-chairman of Nagarjuna Construction Company Alluri Venkata Satyanarayana Raju, president of the Al Fara'a Group in the UAE J.R. Gangaramani and Ravi Pillai of the RP Group of industries received Padma Shri in the trade and industry category.

The award was also conferred on environmental crusader Baba Sewa Singh, vocalist Ulhas Kashalkar and scientist Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath.

Other recipients of Padma Shri included Arvind Kumar, A.T. Meetei, B. Ramana Rao, Bertha Gyndykes Dkhar, Carmel Berkson, Gul Bardhan, Hari Uppal, Jitendra Udhampuri, Lalzuia Colney, Laxmi Chand Gupta, M.R. Satyanarayana Rao, Maria Aurora Couto, Mukund Lath, Philip Augustine, Ponisseril Somasundaram, Rabindra Narain Singh, Rafael Irubieta Fernandez, Pandit Ragunath Panigrahi, Ram Dayal Munda, Sumitra Guha, and Surendra Dubey.

The nephew of the late Ramaranjan Mukherjee, “Vivekananda Professor” at the Ramkrishna Mission for Culture, Kolkata, received the award on his behalf.

Noted scholar Govind Chandra Pande (Padma Shri) and poet Pandit Puttaraj Kavi Gavaigalavaru (Padma Bhushan) were not present to receive their awards.

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