- Also named for the prestigious medal is Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, the Indian-born Mexican scientist who will receive the honor posthumously.
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft head Satya Nadella, and chef, author and actress Madhur Jeffrey are among recipients of the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award. The highly coveted Padma awards were announced on Jan. 25, on the eve of the nation’s 73rd Republic Day. Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, the Indian-born Mexican scientist will receive the Padma Bhushan posthumously. He died in Mexico on Feb.17, 2021, at the age of 78. He was one of the most successful and influential wheat breeders and was awarded the World Food Prize in 2014.
Before being named CEO in February 2014, Nadella held leadership roles in both enterprise and consumer businesses across Microsoft. He joined the company in 1992, and quickly became known as a leader who could span a breadth of technologies and businesses to transform some of Microsoft’s biggest product offerings. Most recently, he was executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. In this role, he led the transformation to the cloud infrastructure and services business, which outperformed the market and took share from the competition.
Previously, Nadella led R&D for the Online Services Division and was vice president of the Microsoft Business Division. Before joining Microsoft, Nadella was a member of the technology staff at Sun Microsystems. Originally from Hyderabad, Nadella lives in Bellevue, Washington with his wife Anupama Nadella and their kids. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University, a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.
The Chennai-born Pichai earned his degree from IIT Kharagpur in metallurgical engineering. Moving to the United States, he attained an M.S. from Stanford University in materials science and engineering and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Google in 2004 and became CEO in August of 2015. Before that, he led the product management and innovation efforts for a suite of Google’s consumer products, including Google Toolbar, Chrome and Chrome OS. He was also responsible for the HTML5 and open web platform efforts at Google. Before joining Google, he held various engineering and product management positions at Applied Materials, and was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company for a variety of software and semiconductor clients. He is married to Anjali Pichai and has two children
Jaffrey is known as the brand ambassador of Indian food in the U.S. An award-winning cookbook author, television chef, travel and food writer and actress, she has written 30 cookbooks, and is an icon in the food world. Born in Delhi, she came to London aged 19 to study drama at RADA and pursue her passion for acting. It was here that she learned to cook, effectively by correspondence: while in London, she desperately missed home-cooked food, so her mother would send her recipes. She acted in TV, film and radio productions in England, then headed to New York, where she wrote food articles to supplement her income and fund her children’s education.
This foray into food writing led to hugely successful books and accompanying TV programs made popular due to her straight-talking approach. She was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2006. Her presence in the entertainment industry is significant, having acted in several films by James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, such as “Shakespeare Wallah” (1965), for which she won the Silver Bear for Best Actress award at the 15th Berlin International Film Festival. In 2004, Jaffrey was named an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of her achievements in film, television and cookery and her services to cultural relations between the United Kingdom, India and the United States.