New Delhi: Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh on Monday described A. R. Rahman’s music as
inspirational, saying when he heard his songs in the White House, he
had a sense of joy and achievement.
“Rahman’s music is
inspirational... When I heard Rahman in the White House, you cannot
imagine the sense of joy and achievement...,” Dr. Singh said,
conferring the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year award on the Oscar-winning
Rahman, who was
also given an award for entertainment, said “lessening the divide”
through music was his intention.
Achievement Award was given to sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Dr. Singh called
him an “inspirational genius,” saying “there is only one Panditji
and he has been a role model and will be a role model.”
For sports, Saina
Nehwal was given the prize for taking Indian badminton to
unprecedented heights by becoming the first Indian woman to win a
Super Series title.
In business, Dr.
Singh gave the award to the Satyam revival team for the deft
handling of the crisis triggered by a scam in the IT company. For
public service, the award was given to Pratham, an NGO, working in
the field of education.
The Indian cricket
team, which bagged the first ranking by the ICC for Tests, was also
honoured. The former captains, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Anil
Kumble, received the award from the Prime Minister.
Culmination of journey
Dravid said the
award was the culmination of a journey which began in 1947, while
batsman V.V.S. Laxman praised Ganguly saying that under him the
“attitude of the team changed.”
In his message,
captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the Indian team would try to live
up to the expectations of the people, though it was tough at times.
Replying to a
question whether he would like to have Rahul Gandhi in his Council
of Ministers, Dr. Singh said: “I have tried many times but not
succeeded. I will be very happy to have him in the ministry.”
At the function,
Mr. Gandhi was adjudged the “Politician of the Year” for
“energising” the Congress and being the key strategist behind the
party’s revival in Uttar Pradesh.
Mr. Gandhi was not
present to receive the award from Dr. Singh. In his message, he said
he was in Uttar Pradesh on a prior engagement.
The young leader
earlier refused to join the Cabinet insisting that he preferred
Gandhi, Dr. Singh said: “He has more than fulfilled the expectations
we had but the best is yet to come.”
question whether he had expected the Congress to get a comfortable
majority in the May Lok Sabha elections, the Prime Minister said:
“I was doubtful....”
To a query whether the 2009 victory
was the biggest moment in his life, Dr. Singh said he took things in
Describing 2009 as a “remarkable
year,” Dr. Singh said when the rest of the world was going through
recession, India proved the prophets of doom wrong.
Asked in a lighter vein whether a
Professor-economist Prime Minister was good for the country in such
times, Dr. Singh said: “You are right.”