Prem Shankar Jha conferred "Knight of the Legion of Honour"
Address of H.E. Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India
New Delhi, 5 December 2017
Dear Mr Prem Shankar Jha,
We have gathered here today with your near and dear ones to honour you and your absolute commitment to the freedom of press and intellectual debate in India and worldwide.
It is an honour for me to confer the Legion of Honour on you this evening because through your life and your career, you symbolise the struggle for innovative and new ideas; and because your contribution has been unparalled in bringing our two countries closer to each other.
I will not elaborate on your long career which continues to flourish. I ardently read all your always enlightening and stimulating articles in The Wire. But let me recall some milestones of your life’s journey.
After graduating from University of Delhi and obtaining a Masters of Arts degree from University of Oxford in Philosophy, Political Science and Economics you started a career at the international level with the United Nations. During your engagement with the Indian National Commission for UNESCO you came to Paris. You were also one of the members of the eminent Brundtland Commission which in 1987 released the Brundtland Report coining and defining the term “Sustainable Development.” In 1990, you served as Information Advisor to the Prime Minister of India, V.P. Singh, a prominent post wherein your talents were recognised at the highest level.
Mr. Jha, during your impressive journalistic career, you have since then worked with many Indian newpapers and journals such as Hindustan Times, Times of India, Economic Times, Financial Express and Tehelka. As a prolific author, you have written 15 major books on various issues such as the democracy in India, the history of Kashmir and the Chinese political and economic system.
During all those years, Mr. Jha, you have been a close friend of France. You have also served as the visiting chair of India’s political economics at Science Po.
With your critical experience, expertise and know-how in economics and politics, you have made a substantial contribution to reforms in India and you have been an example to the generations of journalists that are delivering news today.
Mr. Jha, your humility, generosity, unfailing optimism and strength, combined with an acute knowledge of the Indian society inspire infinite respect in academics and journalistic areas. Moving beyond this circle, all those who have had the honour to work with you from near and far recognize not only an inherent elegance in your working relations but also a passion for the cause of the Freedom of Press that you have defended all along your career with unparalleled energy and determination.
For all these reasons, you deserve the recognition of the French Republic.
Dear Prem Shankar Jha,
In recognition of your distinguished merit, the President of the French Republic has decided to honor you with the award of “Chevalier dans l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur”.
I am delighted to bestow this honor on you this evening, and as required by Protocol, I will now proceed in French.
Mr Prem Shankar Jha, au nom du Président de la République, nous vous faisons «Chevalier de l’ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur ».