New Delhi: As soon as the news of Sachin Tendulkar's acceptance of his nomination to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of the Parliament) broke, the entire nation was divided into three factions. One, who greeted the news in the most gracious manner; Two, who thought it was ok for Tendulkar to be a Member of the Parliament but he shouldn't have accepted being nominated by the ruling party; And Three, who thought Sachin did not belong in the Parliament.
Views of some in the last group were largely driven by the fear that his image of 'God of Cricket' may get maligned like other politicians and he may lose respect of the people, or will he be like other celebrities who simply completed the number in the RS and raised no voice on any issue. Now that's a sad state to be in.
However, I believe it's a decision that must be welcomed with open arms. For the first time ever, a sportsperson has been nominated and not elected to the Upper House. And if anyone who deserved it rightly, he was Sachin Tendulkar. He has been serving the game of cricket, which is a religion in this country, for over 23 years which is more than half of his current age.
Many have questioned the criteria of his selection and have quoted Article 80 of the Indian Constitution that does not mention anything about a sportsperson's nomination as a Rajya Sabha member. So what exactly does the Article 80 says? It says: "The members to be nominated by the President shall consists of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: - Literature, science, art and social service."
The Indian Constitution was written in 1950 and since then the world has changed completely. At that time how much emphasis was given to sports by a nation that was struggling to get back on its feet after being ruled for over 200 years? Not much. Moreover, several amendments have been made in the Constitution with the changing times.
Also, why eliminate sports from the category mentioned in Article 80. A sportsperosn puts in no less hardwork and time, exhibits talent and determination, makes sacrifices at every level, and influences generations than any scientist or an artist or a social activist.
And when Home Minister P Chidambaram said that Sachin qualifies for the nomination, he understood the batting maestro actually deserved and qualified to be in the House.
As a batsman he is no less than an artist. Add to that his contribution to the society and he makes for a very deserving candidate. Apart from influencing a whole generation, he has given us innumerable moments to rejoice. Among his many memorable knocks, one that I can never forget is his century in Chennai after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. That one knock took everyone's mind off that ghastly and agonizing incident for whatever time it took to become a century. He dedicated that knock to his countrymen and it meant a lot for the people because in those tearful moments, anything that can bring a smile on the faces of the millions has to be heavenly.
Isn't it hypocrisy on our part that although we want him to be honoured with the 'Bharat Ratna', the highest civilian award, we don't want him to be in the Rajya Sabha. Are we not suggesting that the Jewels of India belong outside the Parliament?
We keep harping about bringing in young leaders in the system and he will definitely be a nice change in the 'House of Elders'!