PT Usha, Ilaiyaraaja among four nominated to Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: Legendary athlete P T Usha, iconic music composer Ilaiyaraaja, philanthropist Veerendra Heggade, and acclaimed screenwriter-director K V Vijayendra Prasad were nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

The four nominated members have had illustrious careers in their respective fields and received national and global recognition for their contributions.

Usha, a celebrated athlete born in a small village in Kozhikode district in Kerala, is one of India’s most iconic sportspersons. She has been a role model and inspiration for lakhs of young girls across the country who have dreamt of taking up a career in sports, especially track and field events.

Popularly known as the ‘Payyoli Express, Usha has won medals for the country at various international sporting events, including the World Junior Invitational Meet, Asian Championships, and Asian Games. She has set and broken many national and Asian records during her career.

At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she missed winning India’s first medal in a track and field event at the Games in a photo finish as she stood fourth in the women’s 400m race, missing out on a bronze by 1/100 second.

Post-retirement, she started the Usha School of Athletics, which offers world-class facilities to talented youngsters. Usha is a recipient of the Arjuna award and the Padma Shri.

Born in a Dalit household in a village in Madurai district, Ilaiyaraaja is regarded as one of India’s greatest music composers. During his long career, Ilaiyaraaja had to face innumerable hardships and caste-based discrimination. However, he overcame all such hurdles and emerged as one of the country’s leading music composers.

In a career spanning more than five decades, Ilaiyaraaja has composed over 7,000 songs for more than 1,000 films and performed in more than 20,000 concerts across the globe.

In 2018, he was honored with the Padma Vibhushan award. He has also been awarded Padma Bhushan.

Veerendra Heggade has served as the ‘Dharmadhikari’ of the Dharmasthala Temple in Karnataka since the tender age of 20. He has been a devoted philanthropist for more than five decades. He has led various transformative initiatives for rural development and the promotion of self-employment. He established the Rural Development and Self-employment Training Institute (RDSETI) to spread awareness about self-employment opportunities and train rural youth.

Vijayendra Prasad is an acclaimed screenwriter and film director, who has penned the scripts of many prominent Telugu and Hindi movies. His notable works include some of the highest-grossing Indian movies such as ‘RRR’, the ‘Baahubali’ series, and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. Some of the movies he wrote have transcended sharp regional boundaries and become blockbusters across the country.


Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: Twitter@PTUshaOfficial)

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