Sharmila Tagore was on Thursday awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by the Edinburgh Napier University for her outstanding contribution to Indian cinema.
The university’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Dame Joan Stringer, hailed her as an “excellent ambassador’ for Indian culture.”
“Sharmila has had an astonishing career and her films are enjoyed all over the world. She is an excellent ambassador for Indian culture and at the same time, through her various charity endeavours, [she] is a strong advocate for the educational rights of children in India,” she said.
Ms. Tagore described it as a “humbling moment” and said the honour conferred on her underlined the global significance of Indian films.
“It is indeed a privilege to be conferred an Honorary Degree by the Edinburgh Napier University. It recognises the significant influence of Indian Cinema on the global cultural arena and the small role that I have played in its history. As we celebrate a hundred years of Indian Cinema, this is both a happy and humbling moment,” she said.
The university stressed its strong links with India pointing out that only recently had it set up a Centre for Tagore Studies to promote Indian culture, education, philosophy, art and literature by highlighting the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore, the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.
Pointing out that Ms. Tagore was the great grand-niece of the great poet, the university said she had had a “glittering career.”
“The acclaimed actress has appeared in more than eighty films but is arguably best remembered for her work in Hindi cinema. As an active spokesperson for India children’s charity Child Rights and you (CRY) Sharmila is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, working for maternal health, literacy and AIDS-related issues,” it said.
The university also conferred an Honorary Doctorate on former Consul-General of India in Edinburgh Anil Kumar Anand for his “strong commitment to the building of links between Scotland and India across education, business culture and tourism.”