Rati Hegde
Padma Awards - Too little, too late

PADMA AWARDS – too little, too late

With veteran singer S. Janaki refusing to accept the Padma Bhushan from the Government, one again wonders whether the awards are conferred judiciously and without any bias. Every year the Government announces the highest civilian awards, the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri, on our Republic Day. These awards are given to note-worthy individuals who have established their credentials in their respective fields.

A point to be noted is that most of the awardees are well past their prime and quite a few of the recipients are awarded posthumously. Many times we see awardees refusing to accept these awards claiming that these awards have not been distributed fairly. This year veteran playback singer of the South, Sreeramamurthy Janaki said she will not accept the Padma Bhushan on the grounds that too few people from South India seemed to figure in the awards list and that the award had been conferred too late. 75-year old Janaki, who had won four national awards and was chosen in the art category, has over 20,000 songs in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi to her credit.

In the past we’ve had Sitara Devi, a famous Kathak Diva refusing the Padma Bhushan (2002), calling it an "insult". Pointing out that younger and lesser known people had got Padma Vibhushan, she said "nothing short of Bharat Ratna will do". Some of the other awardees who refused the award in the past are Romila Thapar, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Sukumar Azhikode, RSS leader Dattopant Thengdi and Assamese Writer, Kanak Sen Deka.

Practically every year when the list is announced we see the names of famous cine artistes on the front page of the newspapers, but the rest of the names are logged somewhere in the middle pages and scant attention is given to them. One wonders whether this does not amount to disrespect to those eminent personalities. National awards are the best way to make the youth aware of all regions of our country, our diverse cultures and the good work done by individuals in their respective fields which bring laurels to our nation. The Government needs to pull up its socks and give due respect to such personalities fairly, without any controversy.

 


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Rati Hegde
I am basically a hardcore Home-maker with 3 children. I also bring out a newsletter on spirituality - SETU, every

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