We can even change the Constitution to suit our interests! While the Constitution hasn’t been changed in this case, one is trying to understand the rationale behind altering the rules to include sportspersons as Bharat Ratna awardees, just so we can give it to Sachin Tendulkar.

I am a great fan of Tendulkar. He’s one in a hundred million, but to change the rules just so he can be given the Bharat Ratna is not just bizarre, but sets an unhealthy precedent.

Why Sachin, why not others before him who have excelled in their sport? Why not Kapil Dev — arguably India’s greatest allrounder, India’s first World Cup winning captain, superb bowler, powerful batsman and amazing fielder. What he achieved inspired a millions kids, Tendulkar among them, to take to the game in all seriousness.

Or a little farther back, there was Sunil Gavaskar. Diehard cricket fans still believe he was one of the greatest opening batsmen that walked the earth. He took on the might of the West Indies and Australia, and shouldered the responsibility of the Indian team for 16 years. There was a time, when one said if Gavaskar fell, India crumbled. He was the first cricketer to climb the mountain of 10,000 Test runs. Why not him?

Or let’s go even further back in time. How about Dhyan Chand, India’s hockey wizard? It was said people flocked to the grounds around the world just to see Dhyan Chand dribble his way around the opposition.
If he was missing from the line-up, so were the crowds.

Or why not Prakash Padukone? Milkha Singh, Wilson Jones, Geet Sethi, Michael Ferreira, Lala Amarnath, or P.T. Usha? All of them were masters of their universe. The point is — where do we draw the line? As it is, the selections for Bharat Ratna have been mired in controversy.

In 2008, the BJP recommended the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BSP of Kanshi Ram, the Leftists of Jyoti Basu and TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu suggested N.T. Rama Rao. In the end there was no award. Now that sportspersons are to be included, will lobbying not start here as well? Tomorrow the likes of Ram Vilas Pawan and Mayawati will want a quota in it!

It’s anyway, nothing but a huge ego boost for the awardee and his or her followers and the hectic lobbying that takes place before the award is announced reduces it to a farce. So let’s just put the Bharat Ratna back where it was these past few years – in cold storage.

What next? Sachin Tendulkar for President?

  1. Anshuman says:

    Mohan Babu – Read you blog and appreciate it very much. By now, Mr. Tendulkar should have come out and to made a statement that in his views he is not ready for the national pride and would have recommended other significant sports personalities but alas, it is now proved, that he is no GOD and a common person like you and me.

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