Light of India Shines in New York

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The Light of India Awards at the Pierre Hotel in New York showcased Indian American and NRI talent

The Light of India Awards at the Pierre Hotel in New York. Photo - Michael Toolan

On the Blue Carpet – Royals of the Indian-American Community

It was a power show of Indian success in America and so it was quite symbolic that an Indian flag flies proudly outside the historic hotel where the event was held on Fifth Avenue. The hotel of course is the beautiful Pierre on Fifth Avenue, owned by the Taj Group. The glamorous evening was organized by Remit2India, a Times of India Company and the objective was to honor the most illustrious NRIs with the Light of India Awards.

The red carpet where the celebrities walked was not really red but the royal blue of the Taj and the guests who walked on it were royalty too of the NRI breed, including Shashi Tharoor, Amitav Ghosh, Lisa Ray, Sabeer Bhatia, Padma Lakshmi, Professor Jagdish Bhagwati, and Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, to name a few.

Winners, nominees and guests all mingled at the packed cocktail event before dinner. Yes, Dr. Ruth, the much loved sex expert was there too, and guests were actually eagerly telling her how she had helped them! The evening’s hosts were actor Sendhil Ramamurthy and former Miss India, Pooja Batra and the evening was livened up by stand up comic Papa CJ. One of the highlights of the evening was a presentation of songs by the noted playback singer Rekha Bhardwaj, wife of director and music composer Vishal Bhardwaj. A rendition of ‘Ghenda Phool’ in her unique voice was a treat.

L.to R: Papa CJ , Siddhartha Mukherjee, Shashi Tharoor & Amitav Ghosh at the Light of India Awards

Papa CJ, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Shashi Tharoor & Amitav Ghosh at the Light of India Awards. Photo - Michael Toolan

Light of India Awards – And the winners are…

Next came the awards ceremony. “These leading lights have lit the global skyline with their beams of brilliance,” said Avijit Nanda, President of the TimesofMoney, in a burst of poetic indulgence. The awardees were indeed topnotch in their fields. And here -with a drum roll – are the names of the winners.

Padma Lakshmi with Pooja Batra & Sendhil Ramamurthy at the Light of India AwardsPadma Lakshmi with Pooja Batra & Sendhil Ramamurthy at the Light of India Awards. Photo- Michael Toolan

Excellence in Business Leadership

  • Bharat Desai Founder of Syntel – Jury Award
  • Gurbaksh Chahal Internet entrepreneur and a best-selling author – People’s Choice Award

Excellence in Technology

  • Pradeep K. Khosla Dean of the College of Engineering Carnegie Mellon University – Jury Award
  • Sabeer Bhatia Co-Founder of Hotmail Service  – People’s Choice Award

Excellence in Medical Sciences

  • Siddhartha Mukherjee Assistant Professor of Medicine Columbia University – Jury Award

Excellence in Corporate Leadership

  • Anshuman Jain Co-CEO of Deutsche Bank – Jury Award
  • Padmasree Warrior Chief Technology Officer of Cisco Systems – People’s Choice Award

Excellence in Education & Academics – Deans & Presidents

  • Renu Khator President of the University of Houston – Jury Award & People’s Choice Award

Excellence in Education & Academics- Scholars & Professors

  • Soumitra Dutta Roland Berger Chaired Professor of Business and Technology INSEAD – Jury Award
  • Mohanbir Sawhney Director of the Center for Research in Technology & Innovation at Kellogg School of Management – People’s Choice Award
Lisa Ray receives the Light of India Award from Bhawana Somaaya and Smiti Pradhan

Lisa Ray receives the Light of India Award from Bhawana Somaaya and Smiti Pradhan. Photo - Michael Toolan

Excellence in Literature & Journalism

  • Amitav Ghosh Author – Jury Award
  • Indu Sundaresan Author – People’s Choice Award

Excellence in Arts & Entertainment

  • Padma Lakshmi Host of ‘Top Chef’ America– Jury Award
  • Lisa Ray Actor & Host of ‘Top Chef’ Canada – People’s Choice Award

Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • Jagdish Bhagwati Columbia University Professor & Economist – Lifetime Achievement Award for study in Global Economics
  • Narendra Patni Founder & CEO of Patni Computer Systems – Lifetime Achievement for Business
  • Arun Sarin Former CEO of Vodafone Group – Lifetime Achievement Award for Global Corporate Leadership

Three Special Awards:

  • Gurbaksh Chahal Chairman & CEO of RadiumOne – Amrapali Young Achievers Award
  • Satish K. Tripathi University of Buffalo President – Power of Influence Award in Education
  • Ajay V. Bhatt Co-inventor of USB Technology – Power of Influence Award in Technology

Related Articles:

NRIs Shine at Light of India Awards
Searching for Exceptional Indian Americans

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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

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