Speaker G Karthikeyan read out the citation at the function which was attended by ministers, MLAs and other prominent personalities. Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan offered a 'ponnada' to Yesudas. Yesudas, the septagenerian, sang his first film song on November 14, 1961 by rendering four lines from a verse of saint-reformer Sreenarayana Guru. Since then he rose to become one of the most-heard singers of India.
Yesudas has bagged seven national awards for the best male playback singer and 43 state awards for the best playback singer in various languages, including Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Bengali. Son of Augustine Joseph, a stage actor and musician of that time, Yesudas joined the RLV Music Academy in Ernakulam and later graduated from Sri Swathi Tirunal Music College at Thiruvananthapuram. A passionate of south Indian classical music, he honed his skill as the disciple of legendary Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar and Vechur Harihara Subramania Aiyer.