Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of our country which can be awarded for the highest degrees of national service. According to the recent amendment, Bharat Ratna can now be awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour. The Government of India has modified the criteria to allow sportspersons and film stars. Now Sachin’s fans are demanding Bharat Ratna for him. He has already been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan award, India’s second highest civilian award, and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for his achievements in Cricket. Whatever he has done on the cricket field, has no social relevance. He has been a professional cricketer. He performed on the ground and was well paid in the form of match fees and lucrative advertisements. Giving Bharat Ratna to Tendulkars and Khans who have no social relevance is making a mockery of the award and an act of degrading the prestige of the award.
I am not denying the fact that Sachin has really great records in the game of cricket, but most of them are of personal nature, they have nothing to do with the society and the nation. He has just been doing his job, nothing else. I remember one incident in which couple of years back, he sought duty exemption for the Ferrari car gifted to him and also sought tax concession for the money earned through his commercial endorsements, which were both granted, strangely. The richest cricketer seeking for such exemptions is not only an insult to the poor Indians and honest tax payers, but is also hardly an “inspiring” act expected of a deserving candidate for Bharat ratna. And last but not the least, are we ready to see Bharat Ratna awardee selling Jhandu Balm on national television?
Recently Justice Katju shared similar views. He said that giving Bharat Ratna to cricketers and film stars, who have “no social relevance”, is making a “mockery” of the award. People are talking of giving Bharat Ratna to cricketers and film stars. This is the low cultural level to which we have sunk. We ignore our real heroes, and hail superficial ones, today our country is standing at a cross road. We need persons who can give direction to the country and take it forward. It is such people who should be given Bharat Ratna, even if they are dead.
Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has also demanded Bharat Ratna for his father Prakash Padukone, former badminton player. She said “As a daughter, I want my father to be honoured with the title of Bharat Ratna, considering his contribution to badminton throughout his career,” I am afraid if this trend goes on then we will have to see similar demands from star daughters such as Sonam Kapoor (for Anil Kapoor), Priyanka Gandhi (for Sonia Gandhi) and so on. Giving Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar or Prakash Padukone will be great disrespect toward great Indians such has Dr Ambedkar, Aruna Asaf Ali who dedicated their entire life for upliftment of the poor and oppressed people. In my opinion, Bharat Ratna is not a yet another award. It is India’s highest civilian award. The person who receives this award must have done something that has laid a foundation for the path of development of India and her people for generations to come.
Bharat Ratna should not be given to Sachin, period.