Mayawati the latest to demand the award for her mentor!

PM distances himself! Give the award to all three political heavyweights!
Vajpayee, Jyoti Basu, Kanshi Ram, oney!

There is a superficial, cheap controversy. This, over the Bharata Ratna award.
L.K.Advani, the leader of the Opposition, is perfectly within his rights, or, for that matter, any citizen can write to the Prime Minister suggesting any name for the highest award.

Now the CPI (M) demands it for Jyoti Basu. Mayawati joins demanding it for her mentor. It is of course for the government to decide.

So, what is objectionable here? Mr.P.R.Das Munshi, the trouble shooter for the Congress has taken exception to this letter. He is certainly wrong. Besides he had cheapened the award’s high honour. And immediately, the CPI (M) had objected. This, again, is a very cheap way for the comrades to prove their supposed superiority in ideological purity!

Both the red and the saffron brigades are not doing themselves any honour. In fact, they are descending to low levels of the debate.
First, let us remember the highest civilian award is given for great public service that brings honour and prestige to the country, right?

This honour needing belong only to old age pensions-like awards!
Yes, both Vajpayeeji and Jyoti babu are eminently suited for the high honours and both might be given the awards simultaneously. There is no Constitutional bar to restrict the award only once at a time.

And why the worthies who came out with their wisdom didn’t think of the highest civilian honour for others who might have done much more and much more lasting honours for the country’s services?

Why not men and women like Vargese Kurien who did the Amul brand such a ride for India and lifted the millions out of poverty and have them a lasting mantra. This model is imitated in other countries. This is like the Grameen bank that was honoured by a Peace Nobel.

Mr.Biman Bose, the CPI (M)’s secretary says he doesn’t know the parameters to select the names for awards.

He must only know that the TN film star, MGR, was selected by Rajiv Gandhi for the award. Let the Congressmen not make a fuss about the selection process. It is as simple as one’s whim and fancy!

And remember that the procedure for selecting and awarding the Bharat Ratna is supposed to be as follows:
When Vajpayee was the PM, the then President K.R.Narayanan, in fact made the “recommendation” of the name of Kurien. This is the procedure. First, the President makes the “recommendation”> Then, it is for the Prime Minister to act upon. If the PM, for one reason or other doesn’t act on the “recommendation”, then the President is within his rights to take back his “recommendation”. That was what K.R.Narayanan did when Vajpayee didn’t act on the “recommendation”.
Vajpayee didn’t act for the obvious reason everyone knew at that time. First Kurien was from Gujarat, a state that was under Narendra Modi. Second, knowing the proclivities of the BJP to the minorities’ interests, the BJP then didn’t act and Vajpayee, let us not forget, always acted in a not courageous manner on such occasions. This is history.

So, the honour of awarding Kurien was lost. And the President took back his “recommendation”!
Now, the issues are more complex or have become more silly, given the current perceptions.

First, the current President (Pratibha Devisingh Patil) might not make any such recommendations. In our experience the current incumbent of Rashtrapathi Bhavan doesn’t even seem to acknowledge or reply to letters from the citizens! The President might be under undue pressures from various quarters. The Presidential discretions have to be tested only now. Then, there is the fear that the PM, given his own proclivities, might not act, given the sort of pressures from which he might not feel a freeman.

Then, of course there is the imponderable about what Sonia Gandhi might wish or do or do not!

So, given the rather low levels to which our politics have been brought down, yes, we have brought down the level of politics by a combination of poor leadership in many parties that have failed to stand up and come to the levels of the demands of the high offices under the Constitution and that is one reason why we as a nation even are afraid of honouring our own great sons and daughters!
So, in the absence of such lack of vision or moral courage and values of a sense of self-esteem and self worthness, all we can hope for is to let history judge the achievements of India’s great men and women in the various fields.

Luckily, there is now a greater awareness that in the India we are shaping great achievements are reached without the government knowing them. In areas like IT, arts, literature, humanitarian services, the rise of civil society groups and the common perceptions of the elite and the common man have gone up and our liberal society values are at a higher level today than before since Independence.

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