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A.R. Rahman CNN-IBN Indian of the Year


Tuesday, December 22, 2009 03:35:38 PM, Press Trust of India

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presents CNN-IBN Indian of the Year award 2009 to A.R.Rahman at the award function in New Delhi on Monday.

(Photo: PTI)

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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 music director.


Rahman, who was also given an award for entertainment, said “lessening the divide” through music was his intention.


The Lifetime 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 party work.


Praising Mr. Gandhi, Dr. Singh said: “He has more than fulfilled the expectations we had but the best is yet to come.”


To another 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 their stride.


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.”









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