India Insight

Of Tendulkar, Bharat Ratna and populism

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”.

Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar?

CRICKET-SAFRICA/The Maharashtra government is going to recommend Sachin Tendulkar for the country’s highest recognition — Bharat Ratna.

Not only politicians of various hues but former cricketers have also rooted for Tendulkar.

Calls for the award have become louder after Tendulkar achieved the rare feat of a double century in the one-day format.