rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Preet Bharara is India Abroad Person of the Year 2011

Preet Bharara is India Abroad Person of the Year 2011

Last updated on: June 30, 2012 21:22 IST

Preet Bharara, the man who makes Wall Street tremble, is India Abroad Person of the Year 2011

     Next

Next
The India Abroad Person of the Year 2011 Awards in New York celebrates incredible Indian- American achievements.

Preet Bharara made history when he became the first Indian-American US Attorney of the Southern District of New York, and the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the annals of the Indian-American experience.

But some people don't stop at just making history.

With every day passing day, Bharara becomes a little more legendary.

This legend-in-the-making was on Friday evening conferred with the India Abroad Person of the Year Award 2011 at an A-list ceremony at The Pierre hotel in New York City.

The awards presented by India Abroad -- the oldest and most widely-circulated Indian-American weekly newspaper, published from five locations in North America, and owned by Rediff.com -- have been the most coveted community honour in the US since inception in 2002.

Celebrating achievements across a wide spectrum, representative of the increasing and far-reaching impact of Indian Americans, this year nine awards were presented in seven categories.

The evening began with the who's who of the Diaspora and India -- Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao led the guests of honour, which included among others diplomats Ambassadors Vijay Nambiar, Hardeep Singh Puri, Lakshmi Puri, Prabhu Dayal and Manjeev Singh Puri, legendary actress Madhur Jaffrey, Oscar winner Megan Mylan, Grammy-nominated jazz musician Vijay Iyer, distinguished dancer Astad Deboo, Chief Financial Officer of Washington, DC Natwar Gandhi, oncologist Dr Dattatreyudu Nori, Junoon helmsman Salman Ahmed, celebrity chef Floyd Cardoz, comedian Hari Kondabolou and novelist Rajesh Parameswaran -- meeting over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

The event soon moved to the grand ballroom, where India Abroad Publisher and Rediff.com Founder, Chairman and CEO Ajit Balakrishnan looked back at the community's immense achievements over the years.

The awards -- hosted by Columbia Journalism School Professor Sreenath Sreenivasan, for the eighth time in nine years -- began with a new chapter.

Click here to watch the video

Click on NEXT to go further...


Image: India Abroad Person of the Year Preet Bharara
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

     Next

Special Award for Achievement: Maj Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, Cap Pratima Dharm, Sukanya Roy

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The first award, the India Abroad Special Award for Achievement 2011, went to three of the community's rising stars. Sukanya Roy was honoured for winning the 84th Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2011. That she kept the desi reign at the Bee going for the fourth year running was a happy coincidence.

The next two awardees opened a new chapter in the event's history. For the first time the winners' roster included military officers -- a mark of the community's growing place in the American fabric. Captain Pratima Dharm (who has served in Iraq, was honoured for becoming the first Hindu chaplain in the US military.

Then came the inspiring Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi. He became the first turbaned Sikh to serve in the US army in almost three decades after fighting an uphill battle for accommodation with his articles of faith.

An emergency physician, he served in the Helmand province in Afghanistan, one of the world's bloodiest war theatres, and was decorated with the Bronze Star, the US army's fourth-highest honour, on his return.

His presence, his words held the audience in thrall.

Click on NEXT to go further...


Image: Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, Captain Pratima Dharm and Sukanya Roy
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

Prev     Next

Award for Lifetime Service to the Community: Dr Thomas Abraham

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The India Abroad Person of the Year Awards, essentially, celebrate that intangible yet wonderful entity that is the community. Indians abroad weren't always one.

It took a pioneer like Dr Thomas Abraham to bring the Diaspora scattered across not just the United States, but the world together, give them a voice and strength.

For his tireless lifelong service to this cause, India Abroad honoured Dr Abraham, the founder of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin and a winner of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, with the India Abroad Award for Lifetime Service to the Community 2011.

Click on NEXT to go further...


Image: Dr Thomas Abraham, winner of the India Abroad Award for Lifetime Service to the Community
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

Prev     Next

India Abroad Face of the Future Award: Dr Shwetak N Patel

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

From celebrating the past, the evening turned its eye on the India Abroad Face of the Future Award 2011.

Even for a community that prides itself on its educational standards and achievements, a MacArthur Genius is a rarity. Dr Shwetak N Patel -- an assistant professor at the University of Washington for whom engaging with the likes of Microsoft Founder Bill Gates and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is all in a day's work -- was granted the most prestigious MacArthur fellowship last year and the India Abroad honour this year.

Earlier winners of the award mathematician Dr Manjul Bhargava, the youngest full professor at Princeton University, and Dr Priyamvada Natarajan, professor of astronomy and physics at Yale University, were there to present the award -- a historic moment that brought together three brilliant young minds of the community.


Click on NEXT to go further...


Image: Dr Shwetak N Patel, winner of the India Abroad Face of the Future Award
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

Prev     Next

India Abroad Publisher's Special Award for Excellence: Neera Tanden

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The India Abroad Publisher's Special Award for Excellence has been won by the likes of astronaut Sunita Williams, who is returning to another six month stint in space, this time as commander of the International Space Station, and Pulitzer Prize-winning writers Jhumpa Lahiri and Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Joining their haloed league this year was the woman who shattered the glass ceiling and became the first Indian American to helm a major American think-tank -- Neera Tanden.

Ajit Balakrishnan, India Abroad Publisher and Rediff.com Founder, Chairman, and CEO, presented the award to Tanden, who took over as president of the Centre for American Progress last year.

The important role Tanden plays in American politics was highlighted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Tanden was her close aide during her latter's days as First Lady, Senator and her presidential campaign. In a specially-recorded congratulatory video for the India Abroad Person of the Year Awards ceremony, Clinton said, "Neera consistently provided me with smart advice on major policy issues. And now as president of the Center for American Progress, a leading think tank that is providing new policy ideas to move the country and the world in a progressive direction, she and CAP are giving sage advice to policy leaders in Washington and around the world."

Click on NEXT to go further...


Image: Neera Tanden, winner of the India Abroad Publisher's Special Award for Excellence
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

Prev     Next

Friend of India Award: Lloyd I Rudolph and Susanne H Rudolph

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Up next was the special award that was instituted last year in view of the deepening ties between India and the US. It honours an American academic, diplomat, politician or writer who has enhanced American understanding of India or improved relations between the two nations.

If last year's awardee, diplomat Strobe Talbott, is considered the man who set the tone for present day India-US relations, the winners of the India Abroad Friend of India Award 2011 are, without a doubt, India's steadiest friends.

Professors Lloyd I Rudolph and Susanne H Rudolph have dedicated their careers to the study of India in the 1950s -- a time when it was not fashionable for international scholars to study the country. It wouldn't be for decades to come. But that never deterred them.

Starting from 1956, their first trip together to India, they returned every year, not because their careers revolved around the country -- the Rudolphs, who taught at Harvard and the University of Chicago, can be credited with introducing the first courses on India in America -- but because they fell in love with it.

For this and many more debts the US-India relations owe to them, Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao honoured the professors.

Click on NEXT to go further...


Image: Indian Ambassador to United States Nirupama Rao with Professor Lloyd Rudolph
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

Prev     Next

India Abroad Award for Lifetime Achievement: Anita Desai

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The evening then leapt to another legend. Author Anita Desai-- who has thrice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and has won India's highest literary honour, the Sahitya Akademi Award -- was honoured with the India Abroad Lifetime Achievement Award 2011.

"Anita Desai was perhaps the first of India's most prominent writers writing in English after R K Narayan," said Chiki Sarkar, editor-in-chief, Penguin India. "When she was writing, it was a desert in the landscape of Indian English writing. We didn't have our Salman Rushdies or Vikram Seths or Amitav Ghoshs or our Amit Chaudharis. She was writing in a vacuum."

Her books, from Cry the Peacock in 1963 to the Artist of Disappearance in 2011 have not only engaged generations of readers, but also inspired some of the greatest Indian writers writing in English. Booker Prize-winning author Sir Salman Rushdie attended the event just to salute the legend.

Click here to watch the video

Click on NEXT to go further...


Image: Renowned author Salman Rushdie greets Anita Desai, winner of the India Abroad Award for Lifetime Achievement
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

Prev     Next

The valiant soldier of law

Prev     More
Prev

More

The evening ended with the much-anticipated India Abroad Person of the Year Award 2011. No one needed to be told why Preet Bharara -- who has in the past year sent some of the biggest names on Wall Street to prison and nailed notorious arms traffickers like Viktor Bout, numerous drug traffickers and terrorists -- was the unanimous choice for this year's honour.

Bharara shot into the limelight with his prosecution of top Wall Street executives like Indian-American icon Rajat Gupta and Sri Lankan billionaire Raj Rajaratnam. But it is only one part of what makes him one of the most powerful people in the world and lands him on Time magazine's cover and its 100 Most Influential People in the World list.

The Ferozepur-born prosecutor has captured the collective imagination of America with his integrity, his precision prosecution, his almost fanatical apolitical stance, his considerable effort to maintain a low profile and let the work of his office talk, and his unshakeable belief that no one, absolutely no one, is above the rule of law.

Bharara now joins the list of luminaries that makes up the India Abroad Person of the Year roster -- then Iowa state legislator Swati Dandekar (2002), Indicorps co-founder Sonal Shah (2003), captain of the silver medal-winning US gymnastic team at the Athens Olympics Mohini Bhardwaj (2004), then US Congressman and current Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (2005), PepsiCo Chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi (2006), acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair (2007), Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS and now editor at large of Time magazine (2008), Nobel Laureate Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (2009) and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (2010).


Image: The India Abroad Person of the Year 2011 winners
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

Prev     More