New Delhi : The Government on Saturday decided to confer the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, to the 40-year old cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar who just retired from his sports career as also to eminent world-renowned chemistry scientist C N R Rao who is also a true national icon in the field of science as one of the greatest scientists of our times.
The announcement of the award came from the Prime Minister”s office that hailed Sachin as “undoubtedly an outstanding cricket and a living legend who has inspired millions across the globe.” It said he has been a true ambassador of India in the world of sports, several awards to him as testimony of his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman. He is the first sportsman to be bestowed with the country’s highest civilian honour.
Prof C N R Rao, who has not retired even at the age of 79 as he now heads the scientific advisory council of the PM, has been hailed as a well recognised international authority on solid state and materials chemistry, whose contribution has been recognised by most major scientific academies around the world through conferment of memberships and fellowships.
He has published over 1,400 research papers and 45 books and honoured with several international and national awards including the Padma Vibhushan, the announcement said. He was nominated for the Nobel award in chemistry several times.
He is the third scientist after C V Raman and former President A P J Abdul Kalam to be given the Bharat Ratna.
He currently serves as the Head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. There have been continuous demands for a long time for Tendulkar to be conferred the top honour and the eligibility criteria for it was revised last year to accommodate sportspersons as well.
Tendulkar is also the first active sportsperson to become a Rajya Sabha member last year. The Bharat Ratna was announced after a gap of four years with Hindustani music doyen Bhimsen Joshi being the last recipient in 2009.