Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, who played a crucial role in clinching the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal; Bollywood actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Akshay Kumar; eminent Tamil writer D. Jayakanthan and noted Kerala academician A. Sreedhara Menon were among the 62 personalities who were presented the Padma awards 2009 by President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday. ovation

Ms. Patil presented the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest civilian award, to five distinguished personalities, the Padma Bhushan to 14 and the Padma Shri awards to 44. The awards were presented at a special civil investiture ceremony at the Ashoka Hall. It was attended, among others, by Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

If repeated rounds of applause greeted Bollywood actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Akshay Kumar, Ms. Patil’s gesture also drew applause as she stepped ahead to present the awards to Shamshad Begum and Govind Narain who were escorted in wheel chairs.

Padma Vibhushan for 5

Besides Dr. Kakodkar, the Padma Vibhushan was presented to Dr. Ashok Shekhar Ganguly, Director on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India, Dr. Chandrika Prasad Srivastava, Secretary-General Emeritus of the International Maritime Organisation, U.N., Govind Narain, an eminent civil servant of the ICS era, and Prof. Jasbir Singh Bajaj, who heads the Academic Council of the National Academy of Medical Sciences. Sister Mary Nirmala Joshi, former Superior-General of the Missionaries of Charities, also chosen for the Padma Vibhushan award, was not present.

The Padma Bhushan recipients included L&T chairman Anilkumar Manibhai Naik, management guru C.K. Prahalad, eminent Tamil writer D. Jayakanthan, Ayurvedic physician Vaidya Devendra Triguna, leading personality from Telugu film industry G. Krishna, member of the Northeastern Council Inderjit Kaur Barthakur and Planning Commission member Kirit Shantilal Parikh.

Litterateur and poet Kunwar Narain, academician Minoru Hara, playback singer of yesteryears Shamshad Begum, INTACH chairman S.K. Mishra, Bharatanatyam artistes V.P. Dhananjayan and his wife Shanta Dhananjayan and sculptor and architect Vaidyanathan Ganapati Sthapati were also conferred the Padma Bhushan.

44 get Padma Shri

Ms. Patil conferred the Padma Shri awards on Bollywood actors Aishwarya Rai Bachhan and Akshay Kumar, Hindi playback singer Kumar Sanu, eye surgeon Ashok Kumar Grover, Chairman, Board of Editors of Nai Dunia daily, Abhay Chhajlani, surgeon Ashok Kumar Gupta and Ghazal singer Penaz Masani.

Other recipients of the Padma Shri included B.R. Shetty, Bansilal Rathi, Prof. Birendranath Datta, C.K. Menon, Devinder Singh Rana, G. Vijayaraghavan, Geeta Kapur, Geshe Ngawang Sampen, Govind Ram Nirmalkar, Goriparthi Narasimha Raju Yadav, Gurumayum Gourakishor Sharma, Hashmat Ullah Khan, Iravatham Mahadevan, Jalees Ahmed Khan Tareen, John Ralston Marr, K. Viswanathan, K.P. Udayabhanu, Kalamandalam Gopi, Kanneganti Brahmanandam, Kiran Seth, Laxman Mane, Mattannoor Sankarankutty Marar, Niranjan Goswami, Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa, Norden Tshering Bhutian and Panchapakesa Jayaraman.

Prakash Narain Dubey, Pratapaditya Pal, R.K. Krishna Kumar, Ram Kishore Chhipa, Shaik Khader Noordeen, Shashi Despande, Shyamlha Pappu, Sunil Kanti Roy, Sunny Varkey, Suresh Dutta, Surinder Mehta and Yash Gulati also received the Padma Shri.

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