There is now a decent size clamor for Sachin getting the Bharat Ratna. Easily the most prestigious award in the country it is normally given when person is dead or dying. There was no dispute when Pandit Nehru got it. Of course that was at a time when people like Maulana Abdul Kalam said government awards should not be given to government employees like civil servants and ministers (he said that to Nehru when he refused some award – do not remember which award).
Hopefully Pandit Nehru would have put in place a decent procedure for awarding the B Ratna (hopefully). However after that Lal Bahadur Shastri got the award. 2 non Indians who got it (as far as my memory goes) are Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela.
M S Subhalakshmi, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, etc. are some other notable winners.
Morarji Desai saw the politicisation of the award and stopped it in 1977 – of course Indira revived it in 1980. The worst was (was it in 1972?) when India trounced Pakistan (Bangladesh war) – Indira awarded the BR to herself!
Is Sachin as deserving as Nelson Mandela or a Pt. Bhimsen Joshi? Has he created some major change in the world. I think from a traditional point of view perhaps no. However he has brought Joy to a big part of the world in the past 20 years. He may not deserve it as much as Pandit Nehru (journalists those days did not write about big politicians), may not be as much as Nelson Mandela or a Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, but deserves it as much as as Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, …and some others.
However whether Sachin actually gets it will remain a political question…and perhaps whether he can keep himself in the limelight after his playing days are over. Normally B R is chosen very close to your date of death, if not after death 🙂
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