Now that the BJP has done what the Congress has been doing all these years - giving their party icons the Bharat Ratna – the ruling party might as well drop the whole shindig and give one to Nathuram Godse as well. Godse killed the Mahatma and ensured he would be remembered, every time an Indian opened his wallet, at least. BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj recently praised Godse in Parliament and had to apologise after the liberal lumpen went for the MP’s jugular. But the view has many takers among the Hindu Right.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee deserves the award as much as MG Ramachandran, the late actor-turned-Tamil Nadu CM. Even if he railed against the Babri Masjid and looked away into the Delhi mist from 7, Race Course Road as Gujarat burned in 2002 and came upon a pause. So let’s allow the BJP to honour who it wants to. Yes, Madan Mohan Malaviya included. The Congress gave it away like it could see diamonds only among its own leaders.
Vajpayee’s Bharat Ratna was a given since the Modi wave has swept everything with it this year in India, only to stop at the Himalayas with Srinagar within easy reach but to capture it would mean dropping “the party with a difference” tag and “buying” some help.
If you are not a career politician and you get the Bharat Ratna, it means something since you would have had to slog it out on your own and create your own Milky Way like JRD Tata, Bismillah Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, Ravi Shankar, MS Subbulakshmi, Satyajit Ray and Amartya Sen. An eminence as revolutionary in thought and systemic impact as Dr BR Ambedkar got his Bharat Ratna in 1988 and that too along with MGR.
Or just bat like Sachin Tendulkar. The last is easier said than done, though I do have my views on whether the Master Blaster should have been honoured before Dhyan Chand.
Everyone from some political party gets it, some time or the other. Even if Godse doesn’t get the highest Indian civilian honour, he’ll live on in a million-plus Right-loving hearts and don’t worry Savarkar may not get a Bharat Ratna but I have a sneaking suspicion that he will debut on currency notes sooner than we think.
Actually what India needs is a higher honour, named after some other more expensive precious stone. The Bharat Ratna is so passé!