Mukherjee, who presented awards to 25 ‘living legends’ including Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen and V Rama Krishnan and master batsman Sachin Tendular, said that while listening to the comments of the awardees, “I found out that one striking commonality in all of them that each and every one of them believes in hard work, honesty, commitment to the job.
“Therefore, what is needed today, what you can draw lessons from the outstanding performance of these 25 great Indians is that we cannot have a shortcut or bypass to achieve the success to reach the top,” he said.
The President, who is a visitor to over 100 central universities, IITs and NITs, asked why India had been unable to produce any Nobel Laureate from Indian university after C V Raman in 1930s.
“After C V Raman in the late 1930s of the last century, no Indian scholar, no Indian researcher working in an Indian university obtained a Nobel prize. Why?
“There is no lack of talented teachers, students but what we are failing in is to coordinate them, to give them the priority to create the atmosphere which can produce Amartya Sen, Venkat Rama Krishan, Har Gobind Khorana and many others,” he said.
Referring to the fact that both the Nobel Laureates present at the functions had done their post graduation from Indian universities, Mukherjee said “we can invest in innovation in education and build up a world class education in this country, which is not a dream.” The President said he was travelling to length and breadth of the country only to highlight on this point that “we can achieve if we simply want and if we have determination, courage and conviction.
“If this country could lead higher education for at least 1800 years from the sixth century BC to the 12th century AD...why can’t we do it today? We have committed teachers, talented students. Let us create collectively to achieve that object but we shall have to always keep in mind that there is no shortcut to commitment, determination, courage, conviction, honesty, sincerity and discipline,” he said. The other award winners included Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Rajnikanth, Waheeda Rehman (Cinema), Kapil Dev (Cricket) Leander Paes (Tennis), Zubin Mehta, A R Rehman and Hari Prasad Cahurasiya (Music), Bharat Ratna awardee C N R Rao (Space Science), eminent lawyer Fali Nariman, social activist Ela Bhat, Anish Kapoor (Art).
Ratan Tata of Tata group, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance, N R Narayana Murthy of Infosys, CEO of Pepsi Indra Nooyi and Cipla Chairman Y K Hamied were awarded for their contribution to industry.
Padma award winner M S Swaminathan, S S Badrinath for his contribution in medicine, S H Raza (Art) and novelist Vikram Seth were others awarded at the function.
Speaking brifely, Tendulakar said adviced the youth to play outdoor games as he pointed out that many youngsters play more of video games only. “Video games exercise your thumbs,” he said as the audience burst into a laughter.
Tendulkar, who was chosen for Bharat Ratna recently after his retirement from cricket, shared the advice of his grandmother to him of health is wealth and asked youths to play some outdoor sports which will keep them fit.
He said whatever sport one plays needs to be played in the right spirit and the two advices made by him were “when you are defeated, you stand up to face another challenge” and “dreams come true if you chase them hard.”
The superstar of South Rajnikath said miracles do happen in life. “An ordinary bus conductor sharing dais is a miracle. My achievements show that miracles do happen.”
Swaminathan said future belongs to grains and not guns because “guns you can purchase but not grains”. (PTI)