President Pranab Mukerjee presented the award to Mehta for promoting cultural harmony. The award has only been given to late sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar in the past.
While receiving the award, Mehta said that he was proud to be the successor for Pandit Ravi Shankar. Clearing the air about the controversy against his performance he said: "One must not underestimate the power of music in promoting peace." Music is the way to inner peace. And not just western classical music but all music, he said.
Mehta is all set to perform in Srinagar on September 7, but his performance has been opposed by many civil society members and separatists, who claim the performance is ill- timed. Separatists have been threatening to disrupt the concert.
Unfazed by the opposition, Mehta said that the concert will go on as planned.The venue is under a heavy blanket of security as the preparations are under way.