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08-19-2009, 03:01 PM #1
The Rajiv Gandhi Awards around the cornor
Welcome to the 12th Rajiv Gandhi Awards 09... Maharashtra MLC and Mumbai Congress Vice-President Charan Singh Sapra’s annual tribute to the former prime minister.
They are being held today at the NCPA, 1 pm onwards, the grandeur of the venue providing an admirable platform for the prestige of the awards. And the presentation itself being made in the distinguished presence of union ministers and MPs, the presidents of the MRCC and MPCC, and Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
Preceded by a grand entertainment extravaganza in which Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra will perform among several others, to be shown later on Sony TV, on September 6, at 8 pm.
There are 12 awards in all and they are meant to honour achievers who are a part of India’s progress into the 21st century. Which, in a way, is a salute to the passion and energy of the recipients for keeping alive Rajiv Gandhi’s dream of a progressive India. “He was the architect of modern India,” says Sapra, “and the awards ceremony is synonymous with India’s future.”
Strangely, Sapra had only one meeting in his political career with the former prime minister. “It lasted two minutes and was at the Shanmukhananda Hall in 1988,” he says regretfully. “After that, we lost Rajivji forever.”
Sapra was an impressionable young NSUI office bearer then. But Rajiv Gandhi must have impressed him greatly. For when he became the Mumbai Youth Congress president in 1995, Sapra felt he had the “responsibility and position” to do something that would keep alive the vision of his beloved leader.
He thought up the awards, Sunil Dutt told him to name them after Rajiv Gandhi, and the first presentation ceremony was held at the August Kranti Maidan on December 28, that year. “That was the 110th birth anniversary of the Congress,” recalls Sapra. “But since then, the awards are held on August 19th, the eve of Rajivji’s birth anniversary.”
That is how it has been, and the categories for the awards have risen over the years to number 12 in all now. They are given to personalities in Education, Sports, Industry, Journalism and Entertainment (Best Actor and Actress), and also to a Global Indian, a Super Achiever, a Young Entrepreneur, a Woman Achiever, a Child Prodigy, and to somebody in the Social Field.
Past recipients have included such eminent Indians from diverse fields as Mukesh Ambani, Kapil Dev, Anna Hazare, Adi Godrej, Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan, Sania Mirza, Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan), Sant Singh Chatwal, Dhanraj Pillai and Anand Mahindra among many others.
This year, the awardees include Times Group MD Vineet Jain for Industry, Olympic shooter Abhinav Bindra for Sports, Narendra Jadhav for Education, Ramesh Chandra Agarwal for Journalism, Bollywood actors Shahid Kapoor and Katrina Kaif for Entertainment, while Sam Pitroda (Global Indian), G Madhavan Nair (Super Achiever), Rajashree Birla (Social Field), Rohit Kochhar (Young Entrepreneur), Krushnaa Patil (Women Achiever) and Avika Gor (Child Prodigy) complete the list. According to Sapra, “They have all done something for the country that will make the younger generation emulate them... just as we are all enjoying the fruits today of Rajivji’s enterprise then.”
Alongwith a trophy, the recipients are presented a copy of the book Rajiv’s World by Sonia Gandhi, which is not available anywhere in the world. Sapra discovered he did not have copies to give this year. “I was disheartened,” he says, “so I wrote to Madam Sonia Gandhi, and she sent me copies out of her stock!”
08-19-2009, 03:03 PM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2008
08-19-2009, 03:15 PM #3