NEW DELHI: Legendary Indian cricketer and eminent scientist Professor CNR Rao have joined the list of the nation’s Bharat Ratnas. Tendulkar and Professor Rao were conferred with the country's highest civilian honour - Bharat Ratna - by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function held in 'Durbar Hall' of Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday.
Tendulkar, who retired from international cricket at the end of the Test series against West Indies in November 2013, is the first sportsperson to be given the honour; and at the age of 40, is also the youngest recipient of the award. He is the ninth person from Maharashtra to join the exclusive club of 43 Bharat Ratna awardees till date.
Tendulkar, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, is likely to attend Parliament when it convenes for a two-week session on Wednesday.
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The announcement that Tendulkar would be awarded the Bharat Ratna was made official shortly after he had bid an emotional farewell at the Wankhede Stadium.
An official Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) release called Tendulkar "an outstanding cricketer - a living legend who has inspired millions across the globe".
"During the last 24 years, since the young age of 16 years, Shri Tendulkar has played cricket across the world and won laurels for our country. He has been a true ambassador of India in the world of sports. His achievements in cricket are unparalleled, the records set by him unmatched, and the spirit of sportsmanship displayed by him exemplary. That he has been honoured with several awards is testimony to his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman," said the release.
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A day after his retirement, Tendulkar had dedicated his Bharat Ratna award to mothers: his own, and the countless, faceless many who toil for their children.
“As a child you don’t understand what parents go through to make you happy,” Tendulkar said. “The beauty of it all is that I was never told what all was done for me. Going further, there are millions and millions of mothers who sacrifice thousands of things for their children, and I would like to share this award with them.”
Tendulkar had also congratulated CNR Rao, the scientist who has won the award alongside him. “It’s a great honour to be named alongside Dr. CNR Rao, as his contribution to science is immense. Cricket is played in the public sphere hence seen by thousands of people, but not many can be witness to scientific achievements. I would like to congratulate him for winning the award.”
Professor Rao is one of India's most renowned scientists and is known for his work in solid state and structural chemistry and has contributed immensely to the field in the last five decades. He is the honorary president of Bangalore's Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, which he founded in 1989. The 79-year-old Dr Rao, a former director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has been honoured with several national and international awards.
Professor Rao was also appointed the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in January 2005. He is also the director of the International Centre for Materials Science (ICMS).
The government had last year changed the nomination criteria for the Bharat Ratna to include sportspersons. Legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand was also recommended for the award but Tendulkar was preferred.
LIST OF TENDULKAR’S NATIONAL HONOURS:
- 2014 - Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award announced and to be presented on 26 January 2014, the Republic Day of India.
- 2008 - Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award.
- 2001 - Maharashtra Bhushan Award, Maharashtra State's highest Civilian Award.
- 1999 - Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award.
- 1997-98 - Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India's highest honour given for achievement in sports.
- 1994 - Arjuna Award, by the Government of India in recognition of his outstanding achievement in sports.
- 1997 - Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
- 2003 - Player of the tournament in 2003 Cricket World Cup.
- 2004, 2007, 2010 - ICC World ODI XI.
- 2009, 2010, 2011 - ICC World Test XI.
- 2010 - Outstanding Achievement in Sport and the Peoples Choice Award at The Asian Awards in London.
- 2010 - Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World.
- 2010 - ICC Award-Sir Garfield Sobers trophy for cricketer of the year.
- 2010 - LG People's Choice Award.
- 2010 - Made a Honorary Group captain by the Indian Air Force.
- 2011 - BCCI Cricketer of the Year award.
- 2011 - Castrol Indian Cricketer of the Year award.
- 2012 - Wisden India Outstanding Achievement award.
- 2012 - Honorary Life Membership of Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG)
- 2012 - Honorary Member of the Order of Australia, given by the Australian government.
- 2013 - Indian Postal Service released a stamp of Tendulkar and he became the second Indian after Mother Teresa to have such stamp released in their lifetime.
- Yahoo Cricket's full news coverage of Sachin Tendulkar's retirement
- ‘I was speaking to the pitch and I got emotional’
- It was the right time to retire, says Tendulkar
- Sachin Tendulkar's emotional goodbye speech
- Gideon Haigh: Defining Tendulkar's greatness
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