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Mexico confers top Mexican honour on distinguished Indian personalities

The Embassy of Mexico in India marked the celebrations of Mexico’s National Day in New Delhi with the conferment of the “Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle” on three distinguished Indian personalities.

At the 208th anniversary celebrations of Mexico’s independence in New Delhi, the Embassy of Mexico in India conferred the highest distinction awarded by the Mexican government to foreigners in recognition of their outstanding services to Mexico or to humanity on three eminent Indians.

H.E. Melba Pría, Ambassador of Mexico to India, presented the Decoration of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle to Dr. Raghupati Singhania, Chairman & Managing Director, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd, President of JK Tornel S.A. De C.V., Mexico; Ambassador Chokila Iyer, former Indian ambassador in Mexico; and Mrs. Ela Bhatt, social activist and founder of women’s organization SEWA.

Dr. Raghupati Singhania has distinguished himself by his business leadership, affecting the commercial and investment relationship between Mexico and India, through the acquisition of Mexican tyre company Tornel, by JK Tyres in March 2008, for approximately 65.5 million dollars. Highlighting Dr. Singhania’s contribution towards changing the dynamics of trade between Mexico and India, Ambassador Melba Pria commented, “Many came before him, but he was the one that turned it around.”

Former Ambassador Chokila Iyer was recognised for her contributions towards furthering bilateral relations between Mexico and India, as her country’s 17th ambassador to Mexico.


Mrs. Ela Ramesh Bhatt, social activist, and founder of SEWA, is distinguished by her work in favor of women empowerment in India. SEWA is an organisation of poor, self-employed women workers, who earn a living through their own labour or small businesses.

The Order stands for the friendship of Mexico with the nations of the world and is a means to express the respect and admiration of the Mexican people.

Earlier this month, Ambassador Melba Pria also conferred the Order of the Aztec Eagle to Mr. Rajju Shroff, Mexico’s honorary consul in Mumbai, for his twenty years of dedication to Mexico.

Prior to these, seven Indian nationals have been awarded with the order of the Aztec Eagle. These include Vice President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, who was awarded during his working visit to Mexico; prominent artist Satish Gujral, who studied in Mexico and painted at the workshops of Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros; as well as Nobel Economics Laureate Amartya Sen, in 2012 for his contributions on economics welfare and social justice in economic policy-making.

This the first time that this distinction has been conferred on a woman, and also the first time a businessperson has been awarded.

The festive evening was made more entertaining by a group of Mexican musicians, Arpa grande, an Ensemble of Tepalcatepec, who remarkably demonstrated Michoacán’s Tierra Caliente (hot land) signature musical tradition.

Mexican Order of Aztec Eagle presented to Mrs Ela Bhatt

About the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle:

The Order of the Aztec Eagle (Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca)

The Royal Eagle is Mexico’s national animal and was considered sacred for the Aztecs. It is an essential symbol that links the Aztec past with the Mexican modern nation. The Order of the Aztec Eagle was established in 1932 and is awarded by the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, following the instructions of a Council headed by the President of Mexico, who signs each honour.

About Arpa Grande Ensemble of Tepalcatepec

The Arpa Grande Ensemble of Tepalcatepec is composed by 5 teachers that belong to the National System of Musical Development (SNFM), an initiative launched in 2013 by the Ministry of Culture to reaffirm the regional identities, rescuing the country’s musical traditions, preserving the form of execution and changing the social dynamics of vulnerable populations. The SNFM emerged in 2013 and brings together choirs, orchestras, ensembles and bands integrated in state systems; to date they involve 7,800 children and 400 teachers.

Listen to Mexican arpa grande ensemble of Tepalcatepec, and you will hear a remarkable demonstration of Michoacán’s Tierra Caliente (hot land) signature musical tradition. The group’s namesake, the arpa grande (big harp), is a 37-stringed (this number may vary slightly) harp about five feet tall, which is leaned against the musician’s shoulder in a standing position. It is joined by two regional guitars (vihuela and guitarra de golpe) and one violin.