Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bharat Ratna - Really?

Hey all ! Awfully long time since I wrote something new. And it would have been extended if I had not paid attention to something, I think, is really important.

Lately, there was much buzz about the Padma Awards as it was announced by the Home Ministry of India that dignitaries from various fields will receive these awards. Many reactions were observed and written all over the country by the journalists. So, falling to the natural quest I just googled about the highest Civilian Award of India i.e. the Bharat Ratna. It was first given in 1954. The reason to why I pondered about Bharat Ratna was that they are the awards which are given in the rare cases. For example, it was not given to anyone during the years 2001-2007. Anyways, I downloaded the list and found that only 41 persons until now have received this honor.

When I further studied the list, I found a very interesting pattern, which ran parallel to the pattern of the political parties which came to power in the Centre. As previously mentioned, every year this award is announced by the Home Ministry of India which is an integral part of the Central Government. So, it is but obvious that this factor influences the selection of the person to receive this award. But it will influence the selection procedure to this extent, I had never expected. Here I should mention that I am not questioning whether they deserved it or not (I am not really the judge), I just want to highlight the pattern.

The first interesting incident to mention is that in 1955, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru received the Bharat Ratna. No wonder, he did enormously during the freedom struggle and was a front runner in every campaign. But the thing is that when he was awarded the prestigious award, he was the sitting Prime Minister. Is it not ridiculous? It’s just like writing the exam and checking it yourself afterward.

The same was in the case of Mrs. Indira Gandhi who received it in 1971, during her tenure as the Prime Minister. Funny.

Now, as the demolition of Indian National Congress had started after Rajiv Gandhi's tenure in 1989, a hung assembly resulted in the formation of a Coalition Government in 1990, which eventually led to a minority Prime Minister, Mr. V P Singh. And as expected, the Messiah of Minority Communities in India, Dr. B R Ambedkar received the Bharat Ratna in 1990.

And as Congress returned to power in 1991 after the fall of the Coalition Government led by Mr. Chandra Shekhar and swept the elections due to the sympathy wave which blew across the country due to the assassination of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, he had to be given his due. The then Prime Minister was Mr. P V Narshimha Rao and this year the Bharat Ratna was awarded posthumous to Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. The other recipient of this award in this year was Mr. Morarji Desai who was also a notable Congressman for years.

In 1992, in order to appease the industrialist brothers, the award was given to Mr. J R D Tata. The other person who received the award posthumous was Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, another notable Congressman.

And the final "trend". As soon as Bhartiya Janata Party returned to power in 1998 after the 13-day glitch in 1996. Jayaprakash Narayan, the patron of the Janata Party of 1970's which formed the first Non-Congress Government in India, and whose subsidiary is the present-day BJP, posthumous received the award for the year 1998. As if it was the due on BJP to give the award to him.

The whole purpose of writing this post and to do so much research was that I really wanted to share with you, the alleged anomalies which exist in the process of selecting persons for these awards. It is just a small example of what exactly happens in India before and during issuing the lists for these Civilian Awards. So, you can judge yourself whether or not some people who could not make to these lists, are not at all less talented than their counterparts who figure in the lists.

Comments Invited.


Vaibhav Jain said...

First of all, I really like to congratulate you for coming up with something so interesting and knowledgeable post.

It is really shocking to learn about the recipients of the Bharat Ratna. Okay, one could expect Nehru to get it but the pattern is really astonishing. The highest award has been made a mockery.

Sometimes, I feel shameful of these people and their politics. I think next on the list is Manmohan Singh, but personally, I feel he deserves it because of his service to the Finance Industry of India. But again, it will be unfair if Sonia Gandhi receives it.

aishwarya gupta said...

very informative, so many of us dont hav knowledge abt the procedure regarding Bharat Ratna award