Sports club gets Indian govt award

One of the oldest sporting clubs here was yesterday conferred a prestigious award from the Indian government.

The Singapore Indian Association, formed in 1923, received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award, the highest honour India confers on overseas individuals of Indian nationality or origin, or organisations run by them.

India's President Pranab Mukherjee presented the award to the association's president K. Kesavapany yesterday evening at an event in Bangalore, India.

"I congratulate each one of you for your contributions to your countries of origin and India," said Mr Mukherjee, who gave the award to 30 recipients in all. The other winners include Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Luis Santos da Costa and Ms Nisha Desai Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State in the United States' State Department.

A live screening of the award presentation was held in Singapore, at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial in Little India. Since its introduction in 2003, the award has been conferred on one other Singaporean winner, the late president S R Nathan, who received it in 2012.

In a visit to the Singapore Indian Association's premises in Balestier last week, India's High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf said: "When I look at the history of the (association) and the work it has done here and the work it continues to do, its contribution cannot simply be measured by the award. In accepting this honour, the association has made the award more luminous."

India's Deputy High Commissioner to Singapore Paramita Tripathi told The Straits Times the club was recognised for its work in improving the welfare of the Indian community here. The association, which has about 1,000 members, actively promotes sports. It also gives financial aid to the needy and organises social and cultural activities for the Indian community.

Mr S. Devendran, 55, a member of the association's management committee and chief executive of charity Sree Narayana Mission, said: "This award recognises the contributions of the Indian diaspora, wherever they are in the world. I think we're very privileged to have received this award from the Indian government."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2017, with the headline 'Sports club gets Indian govt award'. Print Edition | Subscribe