For honour’s sake: on the Bharat Ratna awards

 

 

 

For honour’s sake: on the Bharat Ratna awards

In an ideal world, the Bharat Ratna awards would be free from political considerations
It is in the nature of our polity(विनम्रता) to use any opportunity(अवसर/सुविधा) possible(संभव ) for political signalling(राजनीतिक संकेत), and the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honour(सर्वोच्च नागरिक सम्मान,), has not been spared(बचाना/बख्शा ) from this propensity(प्रवृत्ति /झुकाव). Over the years, ideological(विचारधारा) considerations(लिहाज़/ध्यान) have influenced(प्रभावित) the choices. While the Narendra Modi government’s decision to confer(प्रदान करना/सम्मानित) the Bharat Ratna on the late Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika (who contested(चुनाव लड़े) on the BJP ticket in the 2004 Lok Sabha election) and the late Nanaji Deshmukh (a Bharatiya Jan Sangh leader and social activist evoked(पैदा हुआ,) little surprise(थोड़ा आश्चर्य ), the choice of former President Pranab Mukherjee seemed(लगना) to have caught everyone off guard and triggered(रोका गया/शुरू हो रहा) fevered(उत्तेजित/बेताब) speculation(अटकलें लगाई जा रही।/चिंतन). Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as “an outstanding statesman of our times”. While Mr. Mukherjee’s seniority(वरिष्ठता) and contribution(योगदान) to the polity are not in doubt, the fact that he agreed to speak at an RSS event last year to the bemused(अपमानित ) disapproval(अस्वीकृति) of the Congress party was held out as a reason. And more unsympathetically, could the award have been a part of the BJP’s strategy(रणनीति) of embracing(गले लगाने) old Congress leaders such as Vallabhbhai Patel to highlight that its real opposition(विपक्ष/विरोध) is to the Nehru-Gandhi family? It is no secret that Mr. Mukherjee’s political ambitions(महत्वाकांक्षा) were thwarted(विफल/नाकाम) at one point by his inability(असमर्थता/अयोग्यता) to break the hold of dynastic(वंशवादी) politics in the Congress.

Whether or not someone deserves(हकदार ) a particular honour(विशेष सम्मान) is not an easy question to resolve(हल/संकल्प). Idolised(आदर्श ) leaders are integral(अभिन्न./अनिवार्य) to the imagination(कल्पना/विचार) of a community, and arguably(यकीनन), for nation-building. Such secular(धर्म निरपेक्ष/लौकिक) rites(संस्कार/आचार) of veneration (मन्नत /सम्मान/उपासना)set an ideal that the community celebrates and strives for( प्रयास करता है). This is of course different from the pursuit of partisan political interests. Unfortunately(दुर्भाग्य से), competitive(प्रतिस्पर्धी ) politics has overshadowed the majesty(महिमा) of the Bharat Ratna. The honour to M.G. Ramachandran in 1988 was widely seen as a cynical(निंदक/कुटिल) political move ahead of an election in Tamil Nadu. A promise to confer the Bharat Ratna to Madan Mohan Malaviya was made by Mr. Modi during(की अवधि में) the 2014 campaign(मुहिम/अभियान), and he fulfilled it soon after coming to power. Claims(दावे) and counterclaims( प्रतिवाद) for the honour have become part of assertions(दावे/अभिकथन) of power by various groups. The emergence of new political elites(कुलीन वर्ग) is often(अक्सर) accompanied(साथ) by a clamour(शोर/धूम) for greater acceptance(ग्रहण/स्वीकृति) for their leaders in the national roll of honour. A democratic(लोकतांत्रिक), plural community(समुदाय) must resolve these demands with respect(सम्मान ) and sensitivity(संवेदनशीलता). But this must not lead to a devaluation(अवमूल्यन) of the honour. Transparency is not easy to achieve(हासिल करना), and fairness(निष्पक्षता /न्याय) is difficult to establish( स्थापित करना), given the contradictory(विरोधाभासी ) demands(मांगें) of representation and majesty. But a good place to start is to discontinue(बंद करना/) posthumous awards(मरणोपरांत पुरस्कार). It is a slippery slope of arbitrariness(मनमानी करना). Idols and ideals unite diversities(विविधताएं/परिवर्तन) in a community, and Bharat Ratnas must be selected with this in mind. On this count at least, the Modi government’s list will be contested.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1.Assertions(दावे/अभिकथन)
Synonyms: affirmation, allegation, contention, insistence, pronouncement
Antonyms: desertion, quiet, silence, denial, rejection

2. Opportunity(अवसर/सुविधा)
Synonyms: convenience, event, excuse., freedom, hope,. moment
Antonyms: closing, closure, misfortune, reality, truth

3. Spared(बचाना/बख्शा )
Synonyms: afford, allow, give, grant, provide
Antonyms: deny, hold, keep, refuse, take

4. Propensity(प्रवृत्ति /झुकाव
Synonyms: bias, disposition, leaning, penchant, predilection
Antonyms: disinclination, dislike, hate, hatred, impotence

5. Confer(प्रदान करना/सम्मानित)
Synonyms: advise, argue, brainstorm, consult, huddle
Antonyms: keep quiet, be quiet, refuse, dishonor, taking

6. Speculation(अटकलें लगाई जा रही।/चिंतन
Synonyms: belief, conjecture, pinion, thought, cerebration
Antonyms: reality, truth, disdain, disregard, ignorance

7. Fevered(उत्तेजित/बेताब)
Synonyms: agitated, frenzied, heated, restless, zealous
Antonyms: calm

8. Embracing(गले लगाने)
Synonyms: grasp, clasp, clinch, cling, clutch
Antonyms: free, give, let go, loose, push away

9. Thwarted(विफल/नाकाम)
Synonyms: circumvent, counter, curb, defeat, foil, frustrate
Antonyms: abet, aid, allow, assist, encourage

10.Cynical(निंदक/कुटिल)
Synonyms: contemptuous, derisive, ironic, misanthropic, misanthropical
Antonyms: believing, hopeful, optimistic, trusting, undoubting

11. Integral(अभिन्न./अनिवार्य)
Synonyms: elemental, essential, indispensable, intrinsic, component
Antonyms: nonessential, accessory, extrinsic, fractional, part

12. Competitive(प्रतिस्पर्धी )
Synonyms: aggressive, ambitious, competing, cutthroat, vying
Antonyms: noncompetitive, unambitious

13. Elites(कुलीन वर्ग)
Synonyms: aristocracy, elebrity, establishment, society, best
Antonyms: proletariat, worst, commonality, low-life, lower class

14. Arbitrariness(मनमानी करना).
Synonyms: absurdity, arbitrariness, caprice, illogicality, illogicalness

15. Campaign(मुहिम/अभियान),
Synonyms: crusade, drive, fight, movement, offensive
Antonyms: inaction

16. Veneration (मन्नत /सम्मान/उपासना)
Synonyms: adoration, admiration, esteem, honor, idolization
Antonyms: dishonor, disrespect

17. Imagination(कल्पना/विचार)
Synonyms: artistry, awareness, fancy, fantasy, idea,
Antonyms: concrete, fact, ignorance, inability, reality

 

 

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

In an ideal world, the Bharat Ratna awards would be free from political considerations
It is in the nature of our polity to use any opportunity possible for political signalling, and the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honour, has not been spared from this propensity. Over the years, ideological considerations have influenced the choices. While the Narendra Modi government’s decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on the late Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika (who contested on the BJP ticket in the 2004 Lok Sabha election) and the late Nanaji Deshmukh (a Bharatiya Jan Sangh leader and social activist) evoked little surprise, the choice of former President Pranab Mukherjee seemed to have caught everyone off guard and triggered fevered speculation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as “an outstanding statesman of our times”. While Mr. Mukherjee’s seniority and contribution to the polity are not in doubt, the fact that he agreed to speak at an RSS event last year to the bemused disapproval of the Congress party was held out as a reason. And more unsympathetically, could the award have been a part of the BJP’s strategy of embracing old Congress leaders such as Vallabhbhai Patel to highlight that its real opposition is to the Nehru-Gandhi family? It is no secret that Mr. Mukherjee’s political ambitions were thwarted at one point by his inability to break the hold of dynastic politics in the Congress.

Whether or not someone deserves a particular honour is not an easy question to resolve. Idolised leaders are integral to the imagination of a community, and arguably, for nation-building. Such secular rites of veneration set an ideal that the community celebrates and strives for. This is of course different from the pursuit of partisan political interests. Unfortunately, competitive politics has overshadowed the majesty of the Bharat Ratna. The honour to M.G. Ramachandran in 1988 was widely seen as a cynical political move ahead of an election in Tamil Nadu. A promise to confer the Bharat Ratna to Madan Mohan Malaviya was made by Mr. Modi during the 2014 campaign, and he fulfilled it soon after coming to power. Claims and counterclaims for the honour have become part of assertions of power by various groups. The emergence of new political elites is often accompanied by a clamour for greater acceptance for their leaders in the national roll of honour. A democratic, plural community must resolve these demands with respect and sensitivity. But this must not lead to a devaluation of the honour. Transparency is not easy to achieve, and fairness is difficult to establish, given the contradictory demands of representation and majesty. But a good place to start is to discontinue posthumous awards. It is a slippery slope of arbitrariness. Idols and ideals unite diversities in a community, and Bharat Ratnas must be selected with this in mind. On this count at least, the Modi government’s list will be contested.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email