The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee presented the Asom Ratna Award for the year 2012 to Indira Goswami (posthumously) and the Srimanta Sankardeva Award for the year 2008 to Sharmila Tagore on 13 May 2013 at a function at Guwahati, Assam. Dr Goswami’s brother received the award while the actress received the prestigious Sankardeva award at a glittering ceremony in the afternoon at the Machkhowa.
Assam governor J B Patnaik, chief minister Tarun Gogoi, state culture minister Pranatee Phukan were present at the ceremony. The two awards have been instituted by the state government.
Speaking on the occasion, President Mukherjeesaid he is very happy that his first visit to Assam is to confer distinction on two outstanding women of India. “Both are social leaders who have contributed to the development and empowerment of women,” he said.
President Mukherjee congratulated Shrimati Tagorefor her rich contribution to India’s cultural life. He said as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and chairperson of the Indian Film Censor Board, Sharmila Tagore has used her influence to promote initiatives aimed at bringing positive change in our society.
President Mukherjee also welcomed the recognition, by the Government of Assam, of the contribution of Late Indira Goswami by awarding her the Asom Ratna Award posthumously. He said she was a legendary story teller and prolific novelist who courageously advocated social change in a very volatile period in Assam’s history.