Of Tendulkar, Bharat Ratna and populism

July 29, 2011

It’s rare for politicians to be of one mind in the world’s biggest and arguably the noisiest democracy.

The government is about to tweak guidelines to make sportspersons (read Sachin Tendulkar) eligible for India’s highest civilian award — the Bharat Ratna.

That too without a murmur of protest from main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which otherwise has made life difficult for the Manmohan Singh-led government on various corruption scandals.

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi and V.K. Malhotra were among the first to demand the honour for “India’s favourite son” who is said to be, at least statistically, the greatest cricketer of all time.

So it was hardly a surprise when Sports Minister Ajay Maken recommended a change in existing guidelines to include sports for the prestigious award, which till now was for “exceptional service towards advancement of art, literature and science, and in recognition of public service of the highest order”.

This is not the first time the government went out of the way to reward the Indian batting maestro and indulge in populism.

In 2003, it had promptly agreed when Tendulkar asked for a waiver of customs duty on an imported Ferrari which he got as a gift for equalling Don Bradman’s 29 test hundreds.

While Tendulkar is the overwhelming favourite to become the first sportsperson to win the Bharat Ratna, he does face some competition.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is among those who believe hockey legend Dhyan Chand should get it ahead of Tendulkar.

Few, however, see that happening.


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Since cricket is popular , everyone eyes on sachin. But there are non popular mega legends like vishwanath anandh.

Posted by janagiramanpp | Report as abusive

Too much of Cricket. It has surpassed ethics of sports – rather a means of money spinner like IPL. Why do they need awards for that. They are good for their own money. Let it rest there.

Posted by Pagala | Report as abusive

Sachin is a Sports person. He chose cricket as his proffession, and life line. He has been amply rewarded his effort, He is recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel ratna Award, the highest award to be awarded to the Persons excelling in the field of sports. As a professional cricketer he has earned enough money for his life time and to his coming generation. His performance got over publicity to the extent of euphoria due to the electronic media. Judge him with the earlier recipients of the award and then demand an award for him.Do not be Biased with the regional politics and the politics of one upmanship. here is the list of 41 awardees in the past.
Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (2008)

2. Kumari Lata Dinanath Mangeshkar (2001)

3. Ustad Bismillah Khan (2001)

4. Prof. Amartya Sen (1999)

5. Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi (1999)

6. Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan (1999)

7. Pandit Ravi Shankar (1999)

8. Shri Chidambaram Subramaniam (1998)

9. Smt. Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi (1998)

10. Shri (Dr.) Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (1997)

11. Smt. Aruna Asaf Ali (1997)

12. Shri Gulzari Lal Nanda (1997)

13. Shri Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhai Tata (1992)

14. Shri Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1992)

15. Shri Satyajit Ray (1992)

16. Shri Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (1991)

17. Shri Rajiv Gandhi (1991)

18. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1991)

19. Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedakr (1990)

20. Dr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1990)

21. Shri Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran (1988)

22. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987)

23. Shri Acharya Vinoba Bhave (1983)

24. Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (1980)

25. Shri Kumaraswamy Kamraj (1976)

26. Shri Varahagiri Venkata Giri (1975)

27. Smt. Indira Gandhi (1971)

28. Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri (1966)

29. Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane (1963)

30. Dr. Zakir Hussain (1963)

31. Dr. Rajendra Prasad (1962)

32. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy (1961)

33. Shri Purushottam Das Tandon (1961)

34. Dr. Dhonde Keshav Karve (1958)

35. Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant (1957)

36. Dr. Bhagwan Das (1955)

37. Shri Jawaharlal Nehru (1955)

38. Dr. Mokshagundam Vivesvaraya (1955)

39. Shri Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1954)

40. Dr. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1954)

41. Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (1954)

So judge for yourself.

Posted by viswanatha | Report as abusive