New Delhi: The question is: Does the biggest gem of international cricket really need a Bharat Ratna? As his fans attain jingoistic levels in the chant to demand the honour for their demi-god, the founding intention of the highest civilian award in the country perhaps, has gone for a toss beyond the boundary rope.
It (according to wiki, word-by-word) is the Republic of India's highest civilian award, awarded for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievements, as well as "recognition of public service of the highest order."
He (according to wiki, word-by-word, again) is an Indian cricketer widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket.
None. At least not according to the two descriptions above. While there is absolutely no denying the achievement of the Master Blaster and what he has done for the sport in the country and fellow countrymen, there is already an award for sporting excellence, however it may be translated into nationalism. It is
(And we go back to wiki) Is India’s highest honour given for achievement in sports. The award was instituted in the year 1991-92 to supply the lack of a supreme national accolade in the field of sports.
Sachin was honoured with the award in 1997 for his contribution to cricket. An honour that Sachin himself, would place high up in his list of awards, laurels, medals and recieved globally.
United Kingdom has the George Cross as the highest civilian award and at least according to sources (wiki and google), no sportsperson has been presented with it. The United States has the Presidential Cross of Freedom constituted in 1963 and again, no sportsperson has been at it's recieving end (this though not completey verified by my source).
Aping the west is a malady that isn't that in the above context. Honour is not in any scarcity for sport icons the world over. Maybe some other sportspersons in India may miss not being recognised, but even the most-ardent of Sachin fans would agree that he is not amongst them, by any stretch of imagination. People views will always be for this legend first, then his sport and then perhaps, his symbolic achievements.
People views (also read comment section of: Sachin on Maken's mind for Bharat Ratna)
According to another source (NDTV this time), a minute fraction of those who commented on a story in which the Sports Minister Ajay Maken has expressed his desire to have sports included in the gambit of Bharat Ratna, there surprisingly are also people who feel against such a move. They do not seem like Sachin-bashers and surely do not sound un-patriotic. While some choose to say soldiers are the true riches of our country, others feel there are other athletes who should be encouraged for their feats, more than Sachin for his milestones.
While many might scream their lungs out in protest, if they bother enough for this blog, Bharat Ratna does not really need to be changed in terms of who it should be given and presented to. There are more pressing issues for the sports minister of the country, for sports in light of the recent doping shame, for cricket in face of some stiff English resistance coming up and for Sachin himself who looks to complete his 100th international ton and continue to defy the logic of age in his pursuit of sporting excellence, on the field and off it.
Note: This blog has not a single quote from Sachin and the views expressed here are, if it was not obvious enough already, not his.