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11 children awarded with Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar; PM Modi lauds winners

NEW DELHI: Young Kerala-based wheel-chair bound singer Aadhitya Suresh, 15, lived his dream on Tuesday when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The social media sensation Suresh couldn’t have asked for more when Prime Minister Modi, interacting with winners of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2023, asked him to sing.

“Tere mere beech mein…,” Suresh sang the old Hindi song with a gusto that impressed the Prime Minister, who complimented him.

“The Prime Minister appreciated my song. He told me that I sing well. I am his (PM’s) fan. I am over the moon. I cannot believe that I got this rare opportunity to sing in front of the Prime Minister,” an excited Suresh told TNIE after interacting with Modi at his official residence here.

Suresh, whose music videos have gone viral, is among the 11 children who have received the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar, 2023. He received the honour in the art and culture category.

The Prime Minister not only heard his song but also pushed his wheelchair and, following his interaction with all the children, posed with him for photographs.

Suresh, diagnosed with brittle bone disease soon after birth, is determined to overcome his physical disability to chase his interest and become a professional playback singer.

“I will never forget this experience. I feel blessed,” he said.

Like Suresh, Bengaluru- based Rishi Shiv Prasanna finds it difficult to hide his excitement about meeting the prime minister.

When the Prime Minister first spoke with him, he told him that he doesn’t understand Hindi, but quickly added that he is now learning Hindi, his mother Recheshwari told IWP, in between gulping down ‘gol gappas’ – a treat by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani, who had accompanied the children to the Prime Minister’s residence.

At the tender age of nine, Prasanna, who won the award in the innovation category, has already written two books and is a certified android application developer with an IQ of 180.

His mother said when the Prime Minister asked him about his ideas, he told him that he wanted to develop apps for underprivileged children so that they could receive education and health services.

“He sought the Prime Minister’s help in developing these apps. The Prime Minister has promised to connect him with the appropriate authorities. He is very excited and happy.”

The others who met the prime minister included M. Gaurav Reddy, a record holder in dance from Telangana.

Reddy, who wants to teach government school girls about the lost traditional dance forms, said she feels honoured to have been one of the lucky few to get the award. “I was not expecting this award. This will encourage me to do more for my art form,” Reddy, who won an award in the arts and culture category, told IWP.

Delhi girl Anoushka Jolly, who won an award for social service, said the prime minister spent almost an hour with the children and patiently listened to them and answered all their questions. “This memory will stay with us forever.”

This year, 11 children were conferred the prestigious award by President Droupadi Murmu on Monday. This year’s awardees include one each in the category of bravery and social service, two in the type of innovation, three in sports, and four in art and culture.