Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Shia leader Prince Karim Aga Khan were among five eminent personalities who were conferred with country’s second highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan by President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday.
Among the 50 leading lights, who were bestowed with the three categories of Padma awards, legal luminary K K Venugopal, Dharmadhikari of Karnataka’s Shri Manjunatha Swamy temple Dharmasthala Veerendra Heggade, nuclear scientist M Ramaswamy Srinivasan were given Padma Vibhushan.
Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior Ministers, BJP patriarch L K Advani, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were among those who were present.
Due to illness, 92-year-old veteran actor Dilip Kumar, who was also one of the Padma Vibhushan awardees, could not attend the civil investiture ceremony held at the majestic Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Prominent among the eight Padma Bhushan awardees include 12-time national award winning film maker Jahnu Barua, Canada-born mathematician Manjul Bhargava, internationally acclaimed computer scientist Vijay Bhatkar, spiritual guru Swami Satyamitranand Giri, constitutional expert Subhash C Kashyap and eminent endocrinologist Ambrish Mithal.
Head of Sree Siddaganga Mutt in Karnataka, 107-year-old Shivakumara Swamigalu, who was one of the Padma Bhushan awardees, was not present.
Women hockey player Saba Anjum, project director of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission S Arunan, internationally known scholar on Indology, Austria born Bettina Sharada Baumer, whose special focus of research was on ‘Kashmir Shaivism’ and intellectual, spiritual and cultural traditions of Kashmir, Indian-American economist Nadarajan Raj Chetty and member of NITI Aayog Bibek Bebroy were given Padma Shri awards.
The Padma awards were announced on the eve of Republic Day. This year 104 persons were named for the awards comprising 9 Padma Vibhushan, 20 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri Awardees.
17 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 17 persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and 4 Posthumous awardees.
On March 30, the first lot of awards were presented by the President.