TODAY -

Bharat Ratna for the Mandir man

Free Thinker *



The news has flashed all over the world that Shri LK Advani will be conferred Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of Bharat. . He is being congratulated by none other than the Pradhan Mantri of the country Shri Narendra Modi. He said, “LK Advani is one of the most respected statesmen of our times”, the Prime Minister further added that “his contribution to development is monumental”.

One local leader who has some left linings deliberately asked me – is there any fixed criterion for getting the Bharat Ratna? . I told him that there are hardly any criteria as such but one must be a well known personality who has done extra- ordinary things for the country.

Bharat Ratna is the tallest civilian award of the nation. It is awarded in recognition of exceptional services/ performance of highest order in any field of human endeavor. This info is from the internet .

I don’t think the Government of India has a set yardstick for conferring the highest civilian award of the country. I personally feel that it can be given to anyone who deserves it. ‘Deserving’ again depends on the dispensation.

The same gentleman started arguing over the phone – Subhash Chandra Bose was never conferred Bharat Ratna. I told him the present regime wanted to confer him the highest award but his daughter and close relatives declined – saying that it is too late. At the same time many have opined - Netaji was much beyond any Award.

You see if you can have done great things for the country in any field: film, sports, politics, singing, science and technology, social justice, writing - you may be conferred this highest award of the country.

For instance Tandulkar, Lata ,Vajpayee ji, Pranab Mukherjee , Bhupenda and others. Now I believe the readers must understand the criteria for conferring this Award . No one is deserving until and unless the top bosses decide.

In a book release function at India International Centre (IIC) , New Delhi Khushwant Sigh made a funny but serious remark about LK Advani , the then Deputy Prime Minister of Bharat. Khushwant Singh said, “I am afraid of three types of men, (zestily and jocularly targeting Advaniji) , those who don’t take alcohol, those who don’t take non-vegetarian food and those who are not interested in women”.

Advani ji was simply laughing . L K Advani met Khushwant Singh for the last time, on February 2,2014 to congratulate him on entering his 100th year. Next month on 20th March he passed away. Advani ji would pull out to read aloud, with evident love and affection , the epitaph Singh had written long ago for himself – “Here lies one who spared neither man nor God. Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod. Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun. Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun?”

Some years back , in the corridor of an important building in Delhi we saw Advaniji coming – perhaps he was going to the BJP Party office inside the Building. That time I was with Premananda Sharma , the then Sangathan Mantri . I told him ,”Eigya Advaniji is coming towards us”.

When he approached we halted – Premananda went straight and touched his feet - introduced himself as the son of (L) Madhumangol Sharma of Manipur. I could see the teary eyes in Advani ji – he spoke to Premananda for a while and blessed him.

I was standing at the side just dong Namaste. I saw the greatness of the person; he could recollect his friend Madhumangol who was the national executive member of BJP for a long time when the party was run by Vajpayee ji and Advaniji.

Opposition used to say in 2014-15 “what they have done to Advaniji – completely ignored and abandoned” . Today I don’t know what they will say. They may say that Advani ji has got Bharat Ratna because of their criticism and constant taunting. Politics is a game of proving – who is smarter?

Advani ji once narrated to the media that he and Vajpayee ji , after facing an electoral defeat in Delhi Municipal Corporation election, straightaway went to watch a movie. He added , the film turned out to be ‘Phir Subha Hogi’ . In fact after losing the election they went for a movie together at Paharganj , New Delhi . The name of the theater was Imperial Cinema.

If you ask me whether Advaniji deserves this highest award – I must say 'no doubt'. But my reason may not be in conformity with many. He has been awarded the Ratna not for politics or statesmanship or public service or development but he has been conferred this award for cultural integration of this Akhand Bharat - for promoting, protecting and preserving the unique and exotic ‘Ram Ram’ culture of this vast sub-continent. His ‘Ratha Yatra’ finally culminated at Ayodhya on 22 January 2024.

Nehru ji got the Bharat Ratna in 1955 when Pandit ji was the Prime Minister.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on February 05 2024 .



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