Bharat Ratna for Sachin

Bharat Ratna for Sachin, C.N.R. Rao

Sachin Tendulkar, one of cricket’s greatest heroes, and top scientist C.N.R. Rao were on Saturday named for the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

On a day when the ‘Master Blaster’ bade an emotional adieu to his record-breaking career lasting 24 years, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the Bharat Ratna for him. Sachin is the first sportsperson chosen for the honour.

The PMO also announced the award for Prof. Rao, a well recognised international authority in solid state and materials chemistry, who has published hundreds of research papers.

He is the third scientist, after C. V. Raman and the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to be awarded the Bharat Ratna.

Both Sachin, 40, and Prof. Rao, 79, are also recipients of the Padma Vibhushan — second highest civilian honour. Soon after the announcement from the PMO, a communiqué from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said: “The President of India has been pleased to award the Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar and Prof. C.N.R. Rao.”

They join the galaxy of 41 eminent personalities who have been honoured in “recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour.” The Bharat Ratna was instituted in 1954 and the last recipient was Hindustani classical music doyen Bhimsen Joshi, in 2009.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated both Prof. Rao and Sachin on the honour. Dr. Singh called up Prof. Rao and wished him many more years of service to the nation and science. He also spoke to Sachin and wished him success after his retirement, says a PMO release.

An official statement described Sachin “as a true Ambassador of India in the world of sports,” lauding his “unparalleled” achievements. “The records set by him are unmatched, and the spirit of sportsmanship displayed by him is exemplary. That he has been honoured with several awards is testimony to his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman,” it said.

Prof. Rao’s contributions have been recognised by most of the scientific academies around the world through membership and fellowship, and he has been honoured with national and international awards, the announcement said.

For the past few years, there have been demands that the Bharat Ratna be awarded to Sachin. The eligibility criteria for the award were revised last year to include sportspersons. The Prime Minister himself made the recommendation to the President, and no formal recommendations are necessary, says a statement of the Home Ministry.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Jitendra Singh have congratulated Sachin on successfully completing his distinguished and inspiring career.

In a statement, the Minister said: “Sachin Tendulkar is one of the finest examples of sportsmen we have ever had with love for the sport, humility, integrity, honesty and pure and unbridled talent. His sterling performance across all formats of the game over 24 years is a rare feat of exemplary elegance, earnest application and commitment.’’ He described Sachin as a “national hero,” whose achievements will be a source of inspiration for all sports lovers.

Mr. Singh hoped to utilise Sachin’s expertise to promote excellence, good governance and ethics in all sports.


Sachin bows out as emotions run high

In a stirring farewell speech at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, maestro Sachin Tendulkar thanked many of those who had played an important role in shaping his glorious cricket career. Overcome by emotion, Tendulkar was in tears after the India-West Indies second Test match, but gathered himself and returned to receive several awards. The crowd cheered him all through.

Here are some excerpts from his speech:

On his father: “The most important person in my life, and I have missed him a lot since 1999 when he passed away, my father. He gave me freedom at the age of 11 and told me that [I should] chase my dreams, but make sure you do not find short cuts.”

Brother Ajit: “We have lived this dream together. He was the one who sacrificed his career for my cricket. He spotted the spark in me. And it all started from the age of 11 when he took me to Achrekar sir, my coach, and from thereon my life changed.”

Wife Anjali: “The most beautiful thing happened to me was in 1990 when I met my wife Anjali. Those were special years and it has continued and will always continue that way.”

His teammates: “We see it on the mega-screen, Rahul, Laxman, Sourav, and Anil, who is not here, and my teammates right here in front me. You are like my family away from home. I have had some wonderful times with you. It is going to be difficult not to be part of the dressing room, sharing those special moments.”

Sachin deserves Bharat Ratna: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday extended a warm send-off, on her Facebook page, to Sachin Tendulkar, who played his last Test match at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.“Legends are forever. They only move from one field to another, leaving behind their unmistakable mark of excellence,” she said of the icon. “His sportsmanship qualities, talents, sense of perfection, dedication and loving nature will still be available not only in the field of sports but even in other fields… As the worthiest sports star he richly deserves the Bharat Ratna which I have been voicing for the last few years. Congratulations Sachin, move ahead Sachin.”

“I wish him a long life and a brighter future. We are proud of you,” Ms. Banerjee said. A week ago, Tendulkar appeared in his penultimate match, at the Eden Gardens here. Ms. Banerjee gifted him a special painting.




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