Nowadays, it is highly impossible to give out an award without attracting some kind of controversy or the other. Awards today have become mere instruments that are handed over to recognize prestige rather than honor, embroiled in a myriad of politics and bias theories.
For example, the recent nomination of BJP leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihair Vajpayee for the Bharat Ratna award, India’s highest civilian honor. No sooner had his name cropped up, then other names like Dhyan Chand and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose cropped up as other possible on the nominations list.
Congress leader Manish Tiwari also purportedly tweeted a list nine other possible names for the award, including Annie Besant, Bhagat Singh, A.O. Hume, Rajguru, etc. One can remember how the past Prime Ministers like Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru had nominated themselves for the award as well. All these developments tend to show the hypocrisy that surrounds the Bharat Ratna awards.
Fortunately, a few honorable mentions still exist to this day. For instance, in 1992, the government decided to award the Bharat Ratna award posthumously to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. However, a public litigation was filed against the nomination, citing that the award could not be given to someone who was perceived to be higher than the honor itself. Bose’s family also voiced their discontent with the government for giving the award posthumously rather than formally acknowledging his death. Even now, the family has asked for Bose’s name to be kept away from the controversy milling around the award.
The manner in which the recipient’s names are being thrown here and there for the award is a disgrace to those who were selfless in serving India and truly deserved the Bharat Ratna as and when they received it.
The one pertinent question that needs to be answered now is, “Who is a better candidate for the Bharat Ratna?” Considered the nation’s highest civilian honor, the award is given to individuals in recognition for exceptional performance/service of the highest order pertaining to all fields of human endeavor. The award should be given to those whose achievements rightly reflect Indian ideals and ideas in the broadest sense.
Earlier, the awards were handed over to individuals from literature, art and public service domains. However, over the years, this category has widened so much that now even government heads are supposedly included in the list. The award has also become a tool for major political parties to gain a stronghold over their competitors by nominating their own members. All this has led to the image of India’s highest civilian award being tarnished. However, until someone notices it, the circus would continue and the bidding for the Bharat Ratna would remain unabated.
India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna has been embroiled in many political controversies over the past few years. Nominees for the award now include government heads that elect themselves or nominate their party members for the same. This trend would surely tarnish the image of the Bharat Ratna in the minds of the public for sure.