President A P J Abdul Kalam on Thursday presented the Padma awards to many eminent personalities, including Odissi danseuse Sonal Mansingh, ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, journalist Prabhu Chawla and actors Aamir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah.
He also set aside protocol and walked up to present the awards to seven others because of their poor health.
True to his unconventional style, Kalam briskly stepped down from the dais in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to present the coveted Padma Vibhushan award to 83-year-old eminent ayurved vaidya Brihaspati Dev Triguna amid a thunderous appaluse.
The President also ignored protocol while presenting the Padma Bhushan to noted dancer Ammannur Madhava Chakyar (86), vocalists B R Iyer (81) and M N Krishnan (75), writers O V Vijayan (73) and Nemichandra Jain (84) and scientist Rajinder Kumar (69).
Mansingh shared the country's second highest civilian award of Padma Vibhushan with Bal Ram Nanda (literature and education), Triguna, and former Sikkim chief minister Kazi Lhendup Dorji Kangsarpa (99). She said it was a special honour and proud moment for Indian classical dance.
It was during the Kangsarpa's leadership, during whose leadership Sikkim merged with India. He was among the seven who were not present to receive the awards.
Jagjit Singh, Naseeruddin Shah and Prabhu Chawla were conferred the Padma Bhushan. Amir Khan received the Padma Shri.
For the second consecutive year, the highest civilian honour of Bharat Ratna was not been conferred on anyone.
Altogether 91 Padma awards, including 32 Padma Bhushans and 55 Padma Shris were named on the Republic Day this year.
Former Presidents R Venkataraman and K R Narayanan, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his deputy Lal Kishenchand Advani, Cabinet Ministers and the three service chiefs were among others present at the civil investiture ceremony.
Padma Bhushan awardees include:
Industrialists Hari Shankar Singhania and N Jamshed Godrej, litterateur Subhash Mukhopadhyaya, classical danseusees Swapan Sundari and Padma Subramanyam, folk singer Teejan Bai, scientist Narayanan Srinivasan, carnatic musicians Balasubramania Rajam Iyer, T V Sankaranarayanan, Trichur V Ramachandran and Puliyur Subramaniam Narayanaswamy, veteran RSS ideologue Dattopant Bapurao Thengadi, novelist O V Vijayan, renowned Oriya novelist Sitakant Mahapatra, instrumentalist Umayalpuram K Sivaraman, Orthopedic surgeon (Pune) Dr Kantilal Hastimal Sancheti, Arcot Ramachandran from Bangalore for science and engineering, journalist T V R Shenoy, Professor Bagicha Singh Minhas from Delhi, Russian scientist Herbert Alexandrovich Yefromov and German public affairs official Herbert Fischer.
Padma Shri awardees include:
Educationist Nokdenlemba, scientist Sundaraman Ramakrishnan, carnatic musician T M Soundarajan, athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, writers Jahnu Barua and Manzoor Ehtesham, hockey player Mukesh Kumar, film actress Rakhee Gulzar, former Indian cricket captain S Venkataraghavan, tabla player Shafaat Ahmed Khan, mountaineer from Uttaranchal Kanhaiya Lal Pokhriyal and diplomat and political activist Francis Dore from France.