Indian American Narinder Singh Kapany posthumously honored with Padma Vibhushan


The government of India, headed by President Ram Nath Kovind presented its highest honors to several of its citizens for excelling in their particular fields of expertise.

On Tuesday, November 9, President Kovind four Padma Vibhushans, five Padma Bhushans and 44 Padma Shri.

The awards were presented by the President at the Civil Investiture Ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Vice President N. Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The Padma Vibhushan (“Lotus Decoration”) is the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, was presented to cardiologist Belle Monappa Hegde (medicine), sculptor Sudarshan Sahoo (arts), and to Indian American Narinder Singh Kapany (for science and engineering)

This isn’t the first honor for Narinder Singh Kapany from the government of India. In the past, Kapany has also been honored with Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the Indian government.

He was known as the “father of fiber optics”. In fact, he was the one who coined the term fiber optics. Calling him a “pioneering Indian-American Scientist popularly known as the Father of Fiber Optics”, official Indian govt release announcing the honor said he “laid the foundation for today’s high-speed internet technology”.

He is being honored posthumously. Kapany, born in India’s Moga in 1926, died last year. His daughter Kiran said the family is “truly humbled” & “overwhelmed”.

Kiran said, “On behalf of my children, Ari and Misha, and my brother Raj Kapany and his children, Tara and Nikki and myself, I would like to thank the Govt of India for bestowing the Padma Vibhushan award on our dear father.”

Adding, “We are truly humbled and grateful by all the warm wishes and condolences we are receiving from all over the world honoring and remembering our dear father. We have been overwhelmed by this tremendous outpouring of emotion.”

On his work on Fiber Optics, she said, “We realize how deeply he touched so many lives and how he laid the groundwork for so many to know that they could also reach for the stars. We thank you with all our hearts.”

This year, the list of Padma awards consists of seven Padma Vibhushans, 10 Padma Bhushan, and 102 Padma Shri.