Bharat Ratna to Sachin – Is it a Political Move?

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The moment it come to news that Bharat Ratna will be awarded to Legendary Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar most of the people accepted it cheerfully. But there are some sections who believed that it was not right to confer him with the highest civilian award because there are many more that deserve this honour before Sachin. Demand for Sachin to be conferred with Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India or Gem of India in English) has constantly been raised for last few years but now it has been accepted.

Let you be briefed about the Bharat Ratna. Until 2011, the official criteria for awarding the Bharat Ratna stipulated it was to be conferred “for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievements, as well as “recognition of public service of the highest order.” In December 2011, the Government of India modified the criteria to allow sportspersons to receive the award; since then, the award may be conferred “for performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour.

But the timing seems to be highly politically motivated. The reason being if the UPA would not have initiated this move BJP would have definitely jumped in and would have run the nationwide campaign for conferring Sachin this honour (as they are always into nationwide campaign against Congress). It is learnt that the decision was taken by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi with an eye on the youth, since Tendulkar is the biggest icon of the youth in the country. As the nation had already witnessed the tearful adieu from Sachin it would have definitely moved into riot like situation if such campaign would have started. UPA which is already in appalled state would not have wished to invite such negative campaigning.

The condition of UPA is very dicey after this quickie announcement because though Sachin deserves Bharat Ratna with no scope of hesitation but there are sportsperson like Major Dhayanchand, Abhinav Bindra, Vishwanathan Anand and PT Usha who placed India on the sporting map and made the world stand up and take notice of India and other distinguished persons like former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia . Let’s see what would be the UPA’s next move. Hope Sachin should step forward and turned down this offer. This would make him more and more noble and generous, beyond imagination.

As per sources, the Prime Minister’s Office – which takes the final call on Bharat Ratna awardees – started deliberating on Tendulkar’s name after he announced retirement from the game.

The final decision was taken as late as last week, when Sachin played his last Cricket test match – his 200th Test.

The government, as per sources, was of the view that it would not be appropriate to award Bharat Ratna to Dhyan Chand now, 34 years after he passed away.

List of Bharat Ratna recipients

Name Birth-Death Year Awarded Contribution(s)/Profession/Position
Chakravarti Rajgopalachari 1878–1972 1954 Independence activist, last Governor-General
C. V. Raman 1888–1970 1954 Physicist
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan 1888–1975 1954 Philosopher, India’s First Vice President (1952-1962), and India’s Second President(1962-1967)
Bhagwan Das 1869–1958 1955 Independence activist, author, Founder of Kashi Vidya Peeth
Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya 1861–1962 1955 Civil engineer, Diwan of Mysore
Jawaharlal Nehru 1889–1964 1955 Independence activist, author, first Prime Minister
Govind Ballabh Pant 1887–1961 1957 Independence activist, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Home Minister
Dhondo Keshav Karve 1858–1962 1958 Educator, social reformer
Bidhan Chandra Roy 1882–1962 1961 Physician, Chief Minister of West Bengal
Purushottam Das Tandon 1882–1962 1961 Independence activist, educator
Rajendra Prasad 1884–1963 1962 Independence activist, jurist, first President
Zakir Hussain 1897–1969 1963 Independence activist, Scholar, third President
Pandurang Vaman Kane 1880–1972 1963 Indologist and Sanskrit scholar
Lal Bahadur Shastri 1904–1966 1966 Posthumous, independence activist, second Prime Minister
Indira Gandhi 1917–1984 1971 Third Prime Minister
V. V. Giri 1894–1980 1975 Trade unionist and fourth President
K. Kamaraj 1903–1975 1976 Posthumous, independence activist, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu State
Mother Teresa 1910–1997 1980 Catholic nun, founder of the Missionaries of Charity
Vinoba Bhave 1895–1982 1983 Posthumous, social reformer, independence activist
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan 1890–1988 1987 First non-citizen, independence activist
M. G. Ramachandran 1917–1987 1988 Posthumous, film actor, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
B. R. Ambedkar 1891–1956 1990 Posthumous, Chief architect of the Indian Constitution,Crusader against Untouchablity, Dalit Icon, Social Reformer, Historian, politician, economist, and scholar
Nelson Mandela b. 1918 1990 Second non-citizen and non-Indian recipient, Leader of the Anti-Apartheid movement
Rajiv Gandhi 1944–1991 1991 Posthumous, Sixth Prime Minister
Vallabhbhai Patel 1875–1950 1991 Posthumous, independence activist, first Home Minister
Morarji Desai 1896–1995 1991 Independence activist, fourth Prime Minister
Abul Kalam Azad 1888–1958 1992 Posthumous, independence activist, first Minister of Education
J. R. D. Tata 1904–1993 1992 Industrialist and philanthropist
Satyajit Ray 1922–1992 1992 Filmmaker
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam b. 1931 1997 Aeronautical Engineer,11th President of India
Gulzarilal Nanda 1898–1998 1997 Independence activist, interim Prime Minister
Aruna Asaf Ali 1908–1996 1997 Posthumous, independence activist
M. S. Subbulakshmi 1916–2004 1998 Carnatic classical singer
Chidambaram Subramaniam 1910–2000 1998 Independence activist, Minister of Agriculture
Jayaprakash Narayan 1902–1979 1999 Posthumous, independence activist and politician
Ravi Shankar 1920–2012 1999 Sitar player
Amartya Sen b. 1933 1999 Economist
Gopinath Bordoloi 1890–1950 1999 Posthumous, independence activist, Chief Minister of Assam
Lata Mangeshkar b. 1929 2001 Playback singer
Bismillah Khan 1916–2006 2001 Hindustani classical shehnai player
Bhimsen Joshi 1922–2011 2008 Hindustani classical singer
C. N. R. Rao b. 1934 2014 Scientist (announced)
Sachin Tendulkar b. 1973 2014 Cricketer (announced)


Previous Controversies on Bharat Ratna

  • The Indian government issued a communique in 1992 that Bharat Ratna would be conferred on Subhas Chandra Bose posthumously. The Supreme Court of India later cancelled this communique following a public interest litigation filed against the posthumous nature of the award due to the mystery surrounding the death of Subhas Chandra Bose. The government gave an affidavit that in deference to the sentiments expressed by the public and the Bose family, the government did not proceed to confer the award.
  • When the award was offered to freedom fighter and India’s first Minister of Education, Abul Kalam Azad, he promptly declined it saying that it should not be given to those who have been on the selection committee. Later he was awarded posthumously in 1992.