Presenting the award after Rahman’s concert at the United Nations General Assembly chamber on Monday, Sangam president Prakash Swamy said the double Oscar and double Grammy winner is “an embodiment of peace, humility and charity”.
Swamy said that having Rahman’s concert to honour M.S. Subbulakshi, the doyen of Carnatic music, at the General Assembly – “the venue of peace” – was an historic occasion for global Tamils.
The concert was sponsored by India’s UN Mission and Sankara Nethralaya, a Chennai-based charity devoted restoring vision through treatment and medical education and research.
Rahman thanked the Sangam for the honour.
According to the Sangam, previous recipients of its Ratna award include Tamil movie director Bharathi Raja; Bharatha Natyam exponent Kamala Lakshman; Srinivasa Varadhan, the winner of the Abel Prize for mathematics; Connecticut Assemblyman Prasad Srinivasan, and Valavanur Subramaniam, a pioneer in minimally invasive cardiac surgery.