President presents Padma awards
Noted industrialist Ratan Tata, NRI steel baron Lakshmi Mittal, Metroman E Sreedharan, chess wizard Viswanathan Anand and Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit were among the recipients of the Padma awards from President Pratibha Patil on Saturday.
Former bureaucrat P N Dhar, former Chief Justice of India A S Anand and Nobel-prize winning environmentalist R K Pachauri also received the prestigious Padma Vibhushan at a glittering function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Adding glamour to the event were Hollywood director Manoj Night Shyamalan, Punjabi folk singer Hans Raj Hans, versatile actor Tom Alter and footballer Baichung Bhutia, who received Padma Shri awards.
Melody queen P Susheela and noted economists Lord Meghnad Desai, Kaushik Basu and Padma Desai also received the Padma Bhushan award.
The best round of applause were reserved for Tata, who was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, Bhutia, Shyamalan and Dixit, who received the Padma Shri.
Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams did not turn up to receive the Padam Bhushan while respected Russian diplomat Yuli Mikhailovich Vorontsov's daughter received the award conferred on him posthumously.
Ignoring the clamour for Bharat Ratna triggered by BJP leader L K Advani's letter to the Prime Minister proposing Atal Bihari Vajpayee's name, the government decided against naming anyone for the award for the seventh consecutive year this time.
Bharat Ratna was last given in 2001 to Lata Mangeshkar and Ustad Bismillah Khan.