15 Jan 2014

PM’s remarks during the felicitation of Prof CNR Rao

Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’
Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s remarks during the felicitation of Prof CNR Rao, in New Delhi today: 

“I am very pleased to join this intimate gathering of the scientific community to honour Professor CNR Rao, a leading luminary of Indian science and a world leader in many areas of scientific exploration. 

Professor Rao epitomises the triumph of will over constraints, of genius over circumstances. For over five decades, he has pursued and achieved excellence in both research and teaching. His achievements are powerful and lasting in their impact on global science.

 And what makes them so inspiring to younger generations in our country is that he made them possible in an India that was synonymous with constraints of resources, constraints of infrastructure, constraints of opportunity and remuneration. 

Professor Rao has demonstrated that world-class research can be accomplished on Indian soil, despite all these constraints. He has relentlessly guided the growth of science academies and all major science institutes in India. He built and nurtured a world-class Chemistry department at IIT Kanpur that put India on the world map in modern chemistry. He rejuvenated and nurtured India’s premier research institute, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. 

Even now, he continues to devote himself to creating state-of-the-art facilities and nurturing a vibrant group of scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore. In spite of his very busy life in research and administration, he has been actively mixing with and inspiring younger Indians with his lectures and books. 

As Chair of the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Professor Rao has played a pivotal role in guiding the science and technology policies of the Government of India. I, for one, have benefited immensely from his wise counsel. I thank him for sharing my vision to orient science towards development and prosperity of India founded on the basis of inclusion and equity. 

Accolades are nothing new to Professor Rao. His research brings its own reward and benefits to society. He is an elected member of over 25 science academies around the world. He has been decorated with some of the world’s most prestigious medals and prizes, besides Honorary Doctorates by more than 60 Universities in India and the world. 

The Government of India has also conferred on Professor Rao many awards and recognitions in the past, including the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan. Now, by conferring the Bharat Ratna on him, we are recognizing his larger and towering presence in our overall national life, and also the role and impact of science on India’s march to progress. The recognition is, in this sense, also recognition of the nation to the unsung heroism of Indian science. 

I take this opportunity to wish Professor CNR Rao many more years of productive pursuit of his passion for science and education. And I thank Mrs Rao for providing the inspiration that has made Professor CNR Rao such a productive, creative individual in the world of science. May the country continue to benefit from his sterling qualities.” 

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