US Surgeon General Vivek H Murthy Named India Abroad Person of the Year 2014
Mumbai, India - Rediff.com India Pvt. Ltd (NASDAQ: REDF) (“Rediff” or “the Company”), India-based internet company which delivers digital content and commerce services, announced that Dr Vivek H Murthy, the first Indian American to be appointed United States Surgeon General, is the India Abroad Person of the Year 2014. The India Abroad Person of the Year Awards, held at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City on June 12, 2015, honored 14 achievers in seven categories.
“It can be tempting to think of seva as service to others. But it inevitably benefits the person performing the seva as well,” Dr Murthy, who holds the rank of Vice Admiral and is America’s top health officer, said before the event. “I believe there is a great deal to be gained by pursuing a path of service in one’s career.”
Dr Manjul Bhargava, who won the Fields Medal, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize and the highest honour for a mathematician under 40, and the distinguished poet Vijay Seshadri, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry last year, were awarded the India Abroad Publisher‘s Award for Special Achievement 2014.
Dr Bhargava is one of the world’s most influential mathematicians, a genius whose mind is widely considered as beautiful as his late Princeton mathematician colleague, Professor John Nash.
“India's needs are often quite different than those of the rest of the world, as India has its own unique problems that only exist in India and are not foremost in the minds of developed countries,” Dr Bhargava told India Abroad.
“That's why it is important for India to have its own network of scientists and their repertoire of research, both pure and applied, so that they can all work together to make the fundamental creative breakthroughs and connections that will be needed to solve India's problems in the decades to come,” Dr Bhargava, who heads Prime Minister’s Gyan initiative, said.
The poet and the mathematician received their awards from India Abroad Publisher and Rediff.com Founder, Chairman and CEO Ajit Balakrishnan.
Dr Pranav Shetty and Dr Jay Varma, who were at the forefront of fighting Ebola in Africa and the US, were awarded the first India Abroad Doctors of the Year Award 2014.
“Epidemics need to be respected — it’s the first time Ebola got on a plane and that really opened the world’s eyes to really, the global nature of diseases,” Dr Shetty told India Abroad in an interview, speaking from Nepal, where he had rushed to help following the devastating earthquake.
“In 1976, Ebola was some kind of a Central African issue at that time. But now, it’s a world issue and the world’s problem. So, we need to be prepared as kind of a global community to deal with it,” Dr Shetty added.
‘My laboratory is actually the world around us. For me, the greatest satisfaction in life comes from service to others, not to serving my bank account,’ Dr Varma, who has been at the forefront of fighting infectious diseases around the world, said, speaking from Sierra Leone in Africa where is currently based.
Vivek Ranadivé, the well-known software businessman who became the first Indian American to own an NBA team when he bought the Sacramento Kings, was honoured with the India Abroad Businessman of the Year Award, another new category introduced at this year’s event.
“India wants to be a world power, and India’s knocking at that door. Sports has to be a part of it. You can’t be a world power and get no medals in the Olympics — maybe get one in hockey or one in shooting, but not really be on the sports map,” Ranadivé told India Abroad.
“I see basketball as a sport that can take off in India and provide yet another reason for India and the US to be together,” the Mumbai-born and raised Ranadivé added. “I see it as a sport that over the next 10 years will grow to be the second-most popular sport in India. Obviously, it will never surpass cricket as the national pastime, but if it’s the second-most popular, that’s a big deal.”
The India Abroad Face of the Future Award 2014 went to Nina Davuluri who in 2013 created history by becoming the first Indian American to win the Miss America title, and Neha Gupta, who won the International Children’s Peace Price.
“I would say the biggest game-changer I had was filling a niche between Indians abroad here and Indians in India through things like the Modi event,” Davuluri -- one of the MCs at the prime minister’s Madison Square Garden event last September -- told India Abroad. “That’s when I really shifted focus. I definitely see myself in the political arena.”
Rising stars of the community Shubham Banerjee, Ansun Sujoe, Sriram Hathwar and Akhil Rekulapelli were honoured with the India Abroad Special Award for Achievement 2014.
Shubham, who is only 13, has set up a company to manufacture Braille printers for the blind. Ansun and Sriram were the joint winners at the Scripps National Spelling Bee 2014, while Akhil won the National Geographic Bee 2014.
As Indian Americans expand their footprint in America it is also important to recognize those who -- though not Indian by origin -- contributed to deepening the understanding of India outside the subcontinent.
In recognition of this, the India Abroad Friend of India Award 2014 went to Shelley and Donald Rubin who have set up the Rubin Museum of Art which houses the greatest collection of Himalayan Art in the Western World.
“When we started the Rubin Museum,” Shelley Rubin said in an interview to India Abroad, “there was virtually no interest in Asia. It seems extraordinary because it’s not that long ago. But we felt somehow that Asia was rising. If you opened your eyes a little bit you could see that Asia, especially India and China, were rising powers of the world and their art was not seen at all, even though it was incredibly beautiful, well crafted and meaningful.”
Among the audience at this year’s event were Ambassador Arun Singh, India’s Ambassador to the United States, Judge Sri Srinivasan; legendary actress Madhur Jaffrey; novelist Bharti Mukherjee; Ambassador Dyaneshwar Mulay, India’s Consul General in New York; Ambassador Vijay Nambiar, the United Nations Secretary-General’s special advisor on Myanmar; US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara; Acting US Assistant General Vanita Gupta; Basement Bhangra pioneer DJ Rekha; Oscar winner Megan Mylan among others.
This was the 12th year of the India Abroad Person of the Year awards, a pioneering effort to recognize Indian-American achievement that has in the past honored achievers like Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan; PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi; astronaut Sunita Williams; music conductor Zubin Mehta and Grammy-nominated musician Vijay Iyer; Judge Sri Srinivasan, USAID Administrator Raj Shah; lawmakers like US Congressman Ami Bera, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; Olympic gymnast Mohini Bhardwaj; US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara; novelists Anita Desai, Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, writer Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee; and filmmaker Mira Nair.
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