Saturday, June 18, 2011

Takings from a small list

A casual scroll down the list of Bharat Ratnas gave much pop trivia to indulge in.

Ever wondered how there's a marked increase in musicians getting the Bharat Ratna? All of our last three Bharat Ratnas have been musicians. Five out of the last eight Bharat Ratnas are musicians. Incidentally, these are the only five musicians to have received the Bharat Ratna till date. The first musician to be so honoured was MS Subbulakshmi in 1998, that is, forty-four years after the awards began. However, this must not be construed as some musical wave that has swept our country lately, as all these eminent musicians were born in 1910s and 1920s. Nearly a century back.

Eleven of the thirty nine Indians who've been given the Bharat Ratna were not alive to receive it. Add to this sixteen more people who received the award in the mostly uneventful last five years of their big, eventful lives, and you know that we in India think really long and hard before making this big decision.

The awareness of such thoughtfulness on the part of the authorities must be juxtaposed with another awareness: Of India's first nine PMs, six were from the Indian National Congress. The same six are all Bharat Ratnas.

As a sidenote, all of India's first four Presidents were awarded the Bharat Ratna, as was President number eleven, APJ Abdul Kalam. This does not seem odd or untoward as Presidents in India, thankfully, are anyway chosen from a pool of highly accomplished people. An exception being our present President who, as her saving grace, was justified to the public by virtue of her being the first woman to the post. A smart political statement needed to be made, I guess, so meritocracy had to take a backseat. That's quite alright, really.

No comments:

Post a Comment