The Centre on Saturday announced that it was conferring the Bharat Ratna on Sachin Tendulkar within hours of the cricket legend hanging up his boots. He becomes the first sportsperson to receive the nation’s highest civilian honour.

Eminent scientist C. N. R. Rao has also been conferred the award.

The clamour for conferring the Bharat Ratna on Tendulkar has been on for some time and the Centre today announced its decision, going along with the popular sentiment.

Announcing the Centre’s decision, the Prime Minister’s Office said Tendulkar, a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, is a living legend who has inspired millions across the globe. “During the last 24 years, since the young age of 16 years, Tendulkar has played cricket across the world and won laurels for our country. He has been a true ambassador of India in the world of sports,” the PMO said in a statement. The demand to confer Bharat Ratna on Tendulkar gained momentum after he announced his retirement from international cricket a few days ago.

The Government release said Tendulkar’s achievements in cricket were unparalleled, the records set by him unmatched, and the spirit of sportsmanship displayed by him exemplary. “That he has been honoured with several awards is a testimony to his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman,” the PMO said.

C. N. R. Rao is an international authority on solid state and materials chemistry. “He has published over 1,400 research papers and 45 books,” the PMO noted, and said his contributions have been recognised by major scientific academies around the world through conferment of memberships and fellowships.

“He has been honoured with several national and international awards,” the release said.

jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 16, 2013)
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