Moments after Sachin Tendulkar entered the dressing room of Wankhede stadium one last time yesterday, among the first callers was Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) could finally connect to the master blaster on the phone through Union Minister of State for Parliamentary affairs Rajeev Shukla, who was in the VVIP enclosure.
Shukla, who is also one of the office bearers of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), rushed into the dressing room to pass the call to an emotional Tendulkar. That’s when the PM conveyed the decision to recommend the cricketer for the country’s highest honour of the Bharat Ratna. As part of the procedure, the PM sought Tendulkar’s formal approval for acceptance.
Sachin Tendulkar and CNR Rao have been chosen for the Bharat Ratna
The announcement was made soon after when, in a statement issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony confirmed the news. Tendulkar, who bid farewell to international cricket on Saturday, is the first sportsperson to receive the prestigious award. The PMO described Tendulkar as a living legend who has inspired millions across the globe. “During the last 24 years, since the young age of 16 years, Tendulkar has played cricket across the world and won laurels for our country,” noted a statement issued by the PMO. It further said Tendulkar has been honoured with several awards, which is testimony to his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman. He played his last Test, his 200th, at the Wankhede Stadium. He is the first sportsperson to receive the prestigious award
The PMO also announced that CNR Rao, head of the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will also receive India’s highest award. “He is an eminent scientist and a well recognised international authority on solid state and materials chemistry. He has published over 1,400 research papers and 45 books,” the PMO noted. Rao’s contributions have been recognised by major scientific academies around the world through conferment of memberships and fellowships.
He has been honoured with several national and international awards. Earlier this year, Rao received China’s top science award for his contribution to boosting India-China scientific cooperation.