On the Bharat Ratna



"Whatever for?" was my first reaction when I heard L K Advani was conferred with a Bharat Ratna. I am also still wondering for what Rajiv Gandhi was given the award? Most of the civilian awards given out these days are merely a gift given to people who are considered close to the establishment, have done favours to those in power or if nothing else, some kind of political statement.

The Congress which has been in power for most of the time since Independence is obviously the party most at guilt in making these awards a way to dole out gifts to their near and dear. The first family of the party has this nauseating sense of entitlement where they believe the party and the government is their private property and any favours done to the family deserve such paybacks.

Not to be outdone, the current dispensation simply follows suit. Any favours done to those in power or in Advani's case, those who need to be shown to be respected (different from those who are respected) are given these awards. Though, to give credit where it is due, they did open up the nomination process so the citizens can also nominate people for some of these awards. While, the selection process is still opaque, at least some people who are truly deserving have been found suitable to be included in the lists each year.

Trouble is whatever the Congress has done, the BJP wants to do better (or worse!). They named every airport, crossroad, road and building after their Parivar. We will name these after our Sangh Parivar. They gave awards to their near and dear. We will give to ours. They had their dictator. We have ours. This is not the BJP that many people favoured in 2014. What they had hoped for was a government with a difference. What they got was more of the same. 

While obviously both had some things going well for them. The Congress may have done a better job with the economy. The BJP probably does nationalism and foreign relations better. The Congress PMs did press conferences which our current PM never does. Some Congress PMs were considered very weak and deferential to the first family. The BJP PMs could never be accused of that.

Civilian awards, though, should be completely apolitical. Have a neutral jury which evaluates nominations purely on merit and then decides. Let these awards not become yet another tool used by wily politicians in furthering their narrow, selfish political agendas.

Comments

Krishnan said…
True. No award is purely merit based- be it sports/civilian or academic. There are several other factors to be taken care . Our choice of leadership is - getting rid of old stuff hoping for a better one. You can get rid of the present regime- the next one could be worse.
Lets pray to the almighty for an answer.