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Cambridge 'made' me, says Manmohan

The PM pays rich tributes to his alma mater, saying it "made" him what he was, reports Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2006 19:44 IST

It was a trip down memory lane as a former student of economics at St John's College returned to the campus as the prime minister of the largest democracy and recalled his days in Cambridge which "made" him.

Singh recalled that he was the third Indian prime minister to have studied at Cambridge, Jawaharlal Nehru and grandson Rajiv Gandhi were the first two.

Wearing a red robe, Singh humbly acknowledged the honour. "I am deeply conscious of the honour that you have bestowed upon me," he said after receiving the doctorate from Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburg and Chancellor of the university.

The citation described him as a scholar and a public servant of great distinction. "He is in the words of the Greek poet Simonides cool, calm, well aware of justice that serves the State and a man of healing virtue," the citation read.

The citation noted: "it is very rare indeed for the position of prime minister to be entrusted to one who is not a professional politician. Manmohan Singh is a scholar and public servant of great distinction".

Singh obtained a first class honours degree in economics from the university in 1957. He was only in his first year when he was awarded the Adam Smith prize. He went to Oxford University later. Last year, he was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of law.

"The colour light blue is one of my favourites and is often seen on my head," he said, referring to his turban. The significance of light blue was highlighted by Singh as it is the colour of the university. He added that his memories of Cambridge were, however, "deep".

Singh also recalled his association at Cambridge with economists Pierro Srafa, Amartya Sen, Jagdish Bhagwati, Mehbub-ul-Haq and Rehman Shobhan. "All are renowned economists from South Asia who became and remained life-long friends," he said at the last engagement before he wrapped up his UK trip to move on to Helsinki, Finland to attend the EU-India Business Summit.

First Published: Oct 11, 2006 17:19 IST