When you look at some of the biggest players in the tech or the social media industry, you will find that several have Indians (Indian-born or having connections with India) at the helm. Some examples are Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, Sundar Pichai, Alphabet CEO, and Parag Agarwal, Twitter CEO.
These individuals have taken their companies to new heights (Agarwal’s stint as Twitter CEO has not been long enough to make that assessment though), and now, they are being given one of the greatest honours that India has to offer.
Nadella and Pichai have been conferred with the Padma Bhushan award this year on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day of India, for their immense contribution to the “trade and industry” category.
The Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan and followed by the Padma Shri. It is conferred to individuals who have given exceptional service in different fields, such as art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, as well as literature and education, sports and civil service, and others. Nadella and Pichai are among the 17 Padma Bhushan awardees in 2022.
It is not surprising that Nadella and Pichai have received the Padma Bhushan, given that they played a major role in the rapid development and swift rise of their companies. While Microsoft is one of the leading tech behemoths of the day, Google has established itself as the search engine, and also offers other services such as mailing (Gmail), video-sharing (YouTube), and others.
Let us see who else was awarded the honours. There is a total of 128 recipients of Padma Awards, conferred in three categories – Padma Vibhashan (7), Padma Bhushan (17), and Padma Shri (107). India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, who died in 2021 in a helicopter crash, was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan, along with ex-UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, also posthumously. Vocalist Prabha Atre and late Radheshyam Khemka, the president of Gita Press, were some of the others who were awarded the Padma Vibhushan.
Some of the individuals honoured with the Padma Bhushan award are Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella, the chairman and director (respectively) of Covaxin maker Bharat Biotech, as well as Serum Institute’s Cyrus Poonawalla (Serum Institute gave us Covishield). The award also went to former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (who refused to accept the award), Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, and others.
Some of the individuals conferred with the Padma Shri award are Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra and Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam.