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Vajpayee inaugurates Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
Onkar Singh and Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | January 09, 2004 11:00 IST
Last Updated: January 09, 2004 12:53 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday lit the ceremonial lamp at the India Gandhi Indoor Stadium marking the beginning of the three-day celebrations of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
The three-day affair involves 1500 people of Indian origin from 61 countries.
After the prime minister, the lamp was also lit by the chief guest Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana, followed by Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and PBD chairman and India's former high commissioner in UK Dr L M Singhvi.
Many Pravasi Bharatiyas like Sir V S Naipaul Lord Navnit Dholakia, Lord Meghnad Desai and Lord R K Bagri are participating in the celebrations.
Famous Bollywood singer Kavita Krishnamurthy began the show with an invocation of Om Shanti and then sang a song -- Bharatvasi Aur Pravasi Aao Saath Chalen -- specially scripted by Dr Singhvi.
Vajpayee complimented the winners of the Pravasi Bharatiya Awards. "We have also honoured Kalpana Chawla, a noble daughter of India who became the citizen of the United States and then went on to become the citizen of the universe."
"I am happy that her husband is here to receive the award," Vajpayee said amidst thunderous applause.
He began his speech with a reference to jugalbandi between two Bharat Ratnas Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah Khan who performed in the first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas last year.
"This time, we had L Subramanium and Ustad Sultan Khan giving us a excellent performance. This function is also a jugalbandi between the Pravasi Bharatiya and those living in India," he said.
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