Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Bharat Ratna in demand

After the announcement that Sachin Tendulkar and C. N. R. Rao, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Council, will get Bharat Ratna there have been many demands. The announcement made C. N. R. Rao famous instantly. Fame went to his head. Instead of the usual “I am honoured and humbled” speech he lashed out at politicians. He said “Why the hell these idiots, these politicians, have given so little for us. In spite of that, we scientists have done something.” This embarrassed PMO. V. Narayanasamy, MoS in PMO, refused to comment. Manish Tewari said UPA government has given more than any previous government for science. C. N. R. Rao justified his comment saying idiotic is not a bad word.
Bharat Ratna is an award and not a title. Manmohan Singh and Rajeev Shukla should know that. Article 18(1) of the constitution states “No title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State.”
Some said Dhyan Chand should get Bharat Ratna. BJP said Atal Behari Vajpayee should get Bharat Ratna. Farooq Abdullah and Nitish Kumar supported BJP. Chandrababu Naidu said NTR should get Bharat Ratna. Chandrababu Naidu was NTR’s son-in-law. He had pulled down NTR’s government, split Telugu Desam, and had become chief minister himself.
Shivanand Tiwari said Sachin Tendulkar should not have got Bharat Ratna. For playing cricket he has got crores of rupees.
In the days to come there will be more demands for Bharat Ratna for persons living or dead. Bharat Ratna should be restricted to living persons. Otherwise there will be demands for Bharat Ratna for persons who died centuries back. Javed Akhtar and Ashis Nandi agree it is absurd to give Bharat Ratna posthumously. Javed Akhtar asked: Where will you draw the line? Will you give it to Ashoka, Chanakya and Kanishka? Ashis Nandi mentioned Buddha. The discussion was on CNN-IBN, The Last Word.
When Bharat Ratna recipients speak for or against any prime ministerial candidate, there are people who say their Bharat Ratna should be withdrawn. That happened to Amartya Sen who opposed Narendra Modi and Lata Mangeshkar who supported Narendra Modi. Chandan Mitra spoke against Amartya Sen. Two Congress politicians spoke against Lata Mangeshkar.
It seems the government will not confer Bharat Ratna on sportspersons who are active. It will be conferred after they retire. If that is the case the government should be open about it. There are many sportspersons who have retired. Some have won World Cup or Championship. Some had world records for years.
Olympic medalists should get Bharat Ratna. Abhinav Bindra won a gold medal. Sushil Kumar won a silver medal and a bronze medal. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Vijay Kumar won silver medals. Leander Paes, Karnam Malleswari, Vijender Singh, Gagan Narang, Saina Nehwal and Yogeshwar Dutt won bronze medals.
In cricket, India had first series victory abroad in 1968 in New Zealand. Ajit Wadekar led India to victory in West Indies and England in 1971. His career ended badly with 0-3 loss in England in 1974. Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev held world records for some years. Kapil Dev led India to victory in 1983 World Cup. Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and V. V. S. Laxman have done well.
In hockey, living members of teams that won World Cup, Asian Games, or any medal in Olympics should be considered.
In Kabaddi, living members of teams that won Asian Games should be considered.
Athletes who have won in Asian Games or any medal in Olympics should be considered.
In tennis, players who win Davis Cup, Hopman Cup, Fed Cup or any medal in Olympics should be considered.
In badminton, players who win Thomas Cup, Uber Cup or any medal in Olympics should be considered.
Similar criteria should be followed for other games.
At present the Prime Minister decides who should get Bharat Ratna. The President signs the file. The number of recipients is restricted to three per year. Lok Sabha should decide who gets Bharat Ratna, Padma and other awards conferred by the nation. There should be criteria for deciding awards and no limit on the number of recipients. Bharat Ratna should be for Indian citizens.

Updated: November 19, 2013 — 7:40 am

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