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Shah Rukh, R K Laxman get Padma awards
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | March 29, 2005 04:36 IST
Last Updated: March 29, 2005 19:25 IST
President A P J Abdul Kalam on Monday gave away Padma Awards to 85 recipients, including Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, well-known cartoonist R K Laxman, playback singer Manna Dey and Olympic silver medallist Lt Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
Laxman, who rarely talks to media persons, said he was delighted to receive the award from President Kalam.
"The only thing that I want to say on this occasion is that I will have to work hard to deserve the honour that the country has bestowed upon me," Shah Rukh Khan told rediff.com as he was being pushed around by autograph hunters. He was accompanied by his wife.
On seven occasions the President came down the podium to honour awardees who were old or disabled and could not walk all the way to the podium.
Manna Dey got emotional when asked for his response. "I was born in this country, and whatever I have achieved in the field of singing is because of the love and affection that the people of India have bestowed upon me. It was an emotional moment for me to receive the award from a great man like President A P J Abdul Kalam."
Talking to rediff.com, he said, "For me it was a day when my dreams came true."
Sunita Narain, journalist and environmental activist who was also honoured, felt that by recognising her campaign the government has given impetus to those who work for environmental causes.
Gladys June Staines, wife of Graham Staines who was burnt to death by a mob on January 22, 1999 in Orissa's Keonjhar district, said, "I am glad that the Government of India has supported me in the ventures my late husband started. It is a great honour for me. And I take this opportunity to thank the Government of India." Stains flew in from Australia to receive the award.
Rathore, who secured the second place in the trap shooting event at the Olympics and thus became the only Indian to win a silver medal in the games, said he was a living example for the young generation. "They can see what I have achieved through hard work. They could do the same," he said.
Shameem Dev Azad, Kashmiri singer and wife of Ghulam Nabi Azad; badminton player Pullela Gopi Chand, who won the All England Championship in 2001; Gurcharan Singh Randhawa, athlete and former Olympian and Attorney general of India Milan Mukherjee were also honoured.
Six others awardees, including cricketer Anil Kumble, businessman Azim Premji and noted journalist Sir Mark Tully, did not turn up at the function.
Later, talking to rediff.com about Laxman's work, Kalam said his cartoons bring out the true colours of life.
"Laxman is a great cartoonist who manages to bring out human emotions in a beautiful manner…In his cartoons the life stands out as it is. It is an honour to know a cartoonist like him."
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