Music maestro A R Rahman was named the official brand ambassador of Sikkim at a function in Gangtok on Monday. Extending a warm welcome to Rahman at the opening ceremony of the Sikkim Red Panda Winter Carnival, Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling said he was grateful to the musician for accepting his proposal.
"I am thankful to Rahman for sparing his valuable time to associate with Sikkim," he said. The Grammy winner, on his part, said it was a privilege and honour for him to be declared the brand ambassador of the north-eastern state. The tiny Himalayan state of Sikkim was an example of tolerance, compassion, peace, integrity and communal harmony for the rest of the country, he added. "Sikkim has grown to be known as one of the most environmental friendly and beautiful places in the world. It is our task to appreciate this beauty and preserve its glory," he said.
The musician, who arrived here last evening on his maiden visit to the state, said he was thrilled to see the excitement among the audience at the Paljor stadium. "I thank the people of Sikkim for their love and hospitality and also for giving this honourable title of brand ambassador to a person from my community," he told the packed audience. Listing the initiatives taken by the Sikkim government to preserve the environment, Chamling urged the people to maintain the beauty of the state. He also enumerated the national and international accolades the state has received as an eco-friendly tourism destination.
The much-awaited annual winter carnival, organised by the state tourism and civil aviation department, will have performances by renowned singers and bands from different parts of the country over the next 10 days. Rahman, who is also referred to as the "Mozart of Madras", said he had found his long lost brothers and sisters here, 2,300 km away from home. "Driving to Sikkim last evening was an emotional moment...It felt as if I was meeting my long lost family of brothers and sisters," he said.