The Great Indian (Realty) Bazaar -3
Bharat Ratna Award Race
ByRemigius de Souza
BHARAT RATNA AWARD, for which some political parties fielded their leaders for its claim. The highest award thus became a commodity for the high profile. Of course, the Time or the Future would be the better judge of their credibility.
NDTV news channel quickly invited the viewers to poll for the candidates claiming Bharat Ratna Award 2008, added some famous personalities in different fields to the list. In retaliation, a religious organization, having objection to some names, attacked and ransacked NDTV’s Ahmedabad office.
Who are these attackers? They gave some name of the organization. As we know any organization, from a school to a government, is a faceless entity, some persons head it. The attackers came from lower rank and file in the hierarchy. They are manipulated capitalising their grouse for their plight in their ‘ordinary’ life. It is doubtful how many of they are familiar with the work of the listed. The have to simply follow the orders of the higher ups. Perhaps they may have some impressions, not information.
Whoever polled in the NDTV to choose awardees by spending their own money for SMSs, emails, and phone calls at a premium rate, did so, perhaps, for their favourite idols / heroes in various fields. How did they compare the others’ work? Again by impressions rather than information.
But the moment the stakes for the position and polls come in the picture, the entire episode turns into a realty bazaar – may it be parliament or Bharat Ratna election. In one the people have stakes, in the other the sponsors.
We have heard that during the elections for parliament, assemblies etc, the voters’ palms are greased by cash or kind, or punched by extortion, openly or privately.
However the so-called masses are intelligent, not fools, when election matters. They don’t go by impression, even in the remote places where media don’t reach. They are also sensitive to environment like plants and animals, unlike urban elite. They can smell “Rain is coming” though there no cloud.
No wonder, for decades now, we notice the ‘caretaker’ governments at the Centre and states, which the politicians popularly call ‘coalition’ government to fool them, and the people, as long as it may last. (In the case of recent, better wait till the next election results.)
While pondering upon few names that I know I linger at Anand Kentish Coomaraswamy (1877-1947). He was truly a world citizen, keeping in Indian maxim “Vasidhaiva kutumbakum” – the earth – my family. Like Prince Dara Shiko, he made known India – her culture, her ethos to the whole world. He wished to die on the Indian soil. But when the Time arrived, in peace he went the garden of his home, lied down on the soil, and breathed his last. (Not that I write this to propose his name for Bharat Ratna.)
I don’t know, and don’t want to know the process and basis of selecting the awardees: I am indifferent. It is certainly a legacy borrowed from the feudal powers of yesteryears. (Perhaps from past our colonial masters – Britain, which could hardly be called a democracy. Otherwise how could they establish the colonies?) It certainly is not in the Spirit of Democracy.
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Remigius de Souza
© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.