Sachin Tendulkar notched up another prestigious first when he joined the list of the nation's Bharat Ratnas today. The President awarded him and noted scientist Professor CNR Rao with India's highest civilian honour at a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Sachin is the first sportsman to be given the honour; he beat hockey legend Dhyan Chand to get the first Bharat Ratna. At 40, he is also the youngest.
Sachin, also a Rajya Sabha member, is expected to attend Parliament when it convenes for a two-week session tomorrow.
A day after he retired from Test cricket last November, Tendulkar dedicated the Bharat Ratna "to all mothers of India."
"There are millions and millions of mothers in India who sacrifice many things for their children. I would like to share my award with them," he had said.
He had also congratulated fellow recipient Prof Rao. "I would like to congratulate Prof CNR Rao for getting the Bharat Ratna. It is an honour to get the award with him, his contribution to the field of science is immense. It's only that cricket is played in front of thousands of people and is a popular field," he said.
Dr Rao, 79, is a former director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and currently works at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore.
One of the most prolific chemists in the country, he still spends several hours every day in his laboratory and has published over 1500 research papers on materials science. He has been in the running for the Nobel Prize for many years.
Mr Rao, an outspoken critic of the system, had recently said "I wish in 20 years India will be in the top three or four countries in the world in science. I really want to see India shine."
Mr Rao is the fourth recipient of the Bharat Ratna from the field of science.