In a ceremony held at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai today, Germany's Ambassador to India Michael Steiner conferred the prestigious 'Bundesverdienstkreuz, Germany's Cross of the Order of Merit, to businessman Babasaheb Kalyani and writer Kiran Nagarkar.
Through this Order, Germany acknowledges the personal commitment and the outstanding contribution of the two awardees to Indo-German relations over the past decades.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Michael Steiner said, "The strategic partnership between India and Germany is no hollow phrase. It can be spelled out in ever so many trusted and long term relations. Be it in politics, science and technology, education, vocational training, or the arts. The recipients of today's award cover a large scope of these relations."
Babasaheb Kalyani is one of India's most successful businessmen, who is also deeply connected with Germany. Not only has Mr. Kalyani led his company Bharat Forge to become the largest exporter of automotive components from India, he has also led a remarkable turnaround of German medium size company, Carl Dan. Peddinghaus, which he made into a profitable new venture by the name of "CDP Kalyani." In establishing a master degree course for engineering at Pune University, together with the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany), Mr. Kalyani has set a landmark for Indo-German academic relations. He currently serves on the boards of various prestigious German companies and supports NGOs as well as charitable institutes.
Lauding Babasaheb Kalyani, Ambassador Michael Steiner said, "Mr. Kalyani appears to incarnate the traditional German business values in India. Today, we honour a true friend of Germany who is a fine example of our common DNA."
Kiran Nagarkar is one of India's best known authors in Germany. Mr.Nagarkar's works, which have been widely translated in German, make a colourful, complex and in many ways a complicated society tangible to our senses. His books, such as 'Cuckold' or 'Ravan andamp; Eddie', were highly appreciated by both German critics and readers. Particulary his book 'God's Little Soldiers' was a bestseller in Germany, offering a unique insight into the world of extremism. Mr. Nagarkar has been a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin, Artist-in-Residence of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Berlin and lecturer for poetry at the University of Tuebingen. He regularly publishes articles in German media.
Bestowing the honour upon Mr. Nagarkar, Ambassador Steiner said, "At the crossroads between our cultures, he became a major voice of India in Germany, and I trust, also a resounding voice of Germany in India."
Ambassador Michael Steiner added that while the two men come from two very different backgrounds, yet at the same time, they both are "true friends of Germany, refined interpreters between our societies, bridgebuilders in the word's most nobel meaning". (ANI)