PM, Sonia present 25th Indira Gandhi Award to Rahman, Ramkrishna Ashram

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New Delhi, Oct.31 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi presented the 25th Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration to Music composer A R Rahman and Ramkrishna Mission Ashram, Narainpur of Chhattisgarh jointly in the national capital on Sunday.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs five lakh and a citation.

The Ramkrishna Mission Ashram in Narainpur in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh was selected for the award for its commendable work among the Pahadi Madia tribals, while Oscar awardee Rahman was honoured for bringing together people of all ages and all lands on the uniform platform of melody, rhythm and song.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Dr. Singh said that A.R. Rahman's music in films like 'Roja', 'Bombay' and 'Lagaan' fostered the spirit of patriotism and furthered the message of unity and respect towards the sacrifices of those who fought for the freedom of the country.

He made a special mention of Rahman's rendition of 'Vande Mataram' in the eponymous album released in the late 1990s.

"This album inspired all Indians-Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Parsis-alike," the Prime Minister stated on this occasion.

Appreciating the efforts of the Ramkrishna Ashram for the betterment of tribals residing in remote regions of the country, Dr. Singh said: "The Pahadi Madia tribe is one of the most backward and poor tribes residing in jungles and mountainous regions spread across 4000 square kilometres."

Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi hailed the selfless work of the Ashram in Chhattisgarh and lauded the contribution of Rahman whose 'Jai Ho' "not only won him an Oscar but also held people across the world in a trance".

Swami Vyaptanand, who received the award on behalf of the Ashram, recalled that the Narainpur Ashram was set up at the instance of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. (ANI)

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