Speculation is rife that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose may be named for the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna. The speculation has been fuelled by the Union Home Ministry placing an order for five Bharat Ratna medallions. BJP leaders have in the past demanded that the Bharat Ratna be awarded to Vajpayee.
Names of Kanshi Ram, Dhyan Chand, Malaviya also doing rounds
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who heads the BJP-led government at the Centre now, would take call on this and would probably announce it in his Independence Day speech. Among others whose names are being speculated is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram. There has also been some speculation regarding hockey legend Dhyan Chand. Known as ‘The Wizard’, he is widely considered as the greatest field hockey player of all time. Dhyan Chand had three Olympic gold medals in his kitty (1928, 1932, and 1936) in field hockey.
The name of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) founder Madan Mohan Malaviya is also doing the rounds. He also served as its vice chancellor. He was involved with the Hindu Mahasabha, while also being the president of the Congress. A senior Home Ministry official said four days back the government mint had been asked to make five medallions of the Bharat Ratna. “But ordering five medallions does not mean that five persons will be bestowed with the Bharat Ratna. This is to keep an adequate number of medallions in reserve,” he said.
Bose’s family differs
Kolkata: Amidst speculation that the Bharat Ratna may be conferred on Netaji Bose, a majority of his family members disapproved of the idea and instead demanded that the mystery of his disappearance be solved first. “Netaji has been missing since 1945. When you award him with the Bharat Ratna posthumously, you have to say when he died, but where is the evidence?
The best way to honour him is to declassify government files which can reveal the truth behind his disappearance,” Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose said. He said that he had spoken to around 60 family members of the great leader, none of whom was willing to accept the award on his behalf. “All of us feel that Bharat Ratna is not the appropriate award for him. None of us will go and accept the award,” Bose said. In 1992, the then government had announced the award for Bose but it was never conferred on him. This was after a big controversy broke out with his family members and other admirers objecting to the award being given to him posthumously.
A PIL was also filed in the matter which had maintained that the award could not be given to someone whose esteem and stature was bigger than the honour. Finally, the Supreme Court had to intervene and the press release announcing the award was cancelled. It was said that as the certificate had not been given and as there had been no gazette notification regarding the award to Netaji, the announcement was nullified. The family and members of Netaji had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding formation of a Special Investigation Team under the guidance of a sitting judge of the Supreme Court to investigate into Netaji’s disappearance.
When under house arrest by the British, Netaji had escaped from India in 1941 to seek international support for India’s freedom struggle. He went missing in 1945, giving birth to India’s most debated and lingering mystery ever. The Mukherjee Commission had rejected the opinion that he died in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945. Modi had said last year that the Congress had bestowed the honour on Nehru-Gandhi family members (Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi) while delaying giving the award to India’s first home minister and ‘Iron Man’ Sardar Vallabhai Patel. He had also said that BR Ambedker had got the Bharat Ratna only when a BJP backed government came to power in Delhi, years after his death.
Source: Metro India