This time there is a fierce war of words over the Padma awards announced. As soon as the announcement of giving Padma Bhushan to the Congress leader of Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad, a tussle has broken out within the Congress party.
Former CM of West Bengal and communist leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has also been awarded Padma Bhushan by BJP government. He declined the recognition. On this, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said in a very poetic manner that Buddhadev ji wants to remain 'Azad', does not want to become 'Ghulam' thereby attacking his senior colleague without naming him.
Many other Congress leaders and the Congress party itself are silent on the issue but some have even congratulated Azad. The real question that arises here is that how much respect is being given to these government honors in the country?
There is no doubt that whoever gets this award feels happy but if any of my dear friend gets it, I send him a letter of sympathy along with congratulations because they really have to work very hard to get this award. This time around 50 thousand applications were received for the 128 honors given. If the number of applications was 50 thousand, then at least 10 calls must have come for each application. The greed for these honors has increased so much that people are ready to spend lakhs of rupees to get an honor like Padma Shri. Eminent and some ascetic people of the society keep rubbing their nose in front of such leaders, who are nowhere in comparison with them. Apart from this, any title, award or accolade is considered honorable only when it is given by authentic people of high standards. Now ask yourself this question that who are the judges of Padma Awards?
What is the authenticity of the awards given by bureaucrats, who are used to swaying at the behest of politicians? This does not mean that all these awards are meaningless. Some of them have been given to very deserving people. Now, even the world famous Nobel Prizes are being given to very modest people on the basis of political merit while so many people refuse to accept these Padma awards.
If there is politics behind giving them, then there has to be politics behind not taking them also. That is why Namboodiripad then and Bhattacharya now have refused to take it. Two Bengali artistes refused to accept it, saying they were being given it too late. Nikhil Chakraborty, editor of 'Mainstream' had refused to accept this honor saying that such government honors can tarnish the impartiality of journalists. By the way, Ghulam Nabi Azad is not the first leader of the opposition party, who has got this honor. Narasimha Rao Sarkar had given Bharat Ratna to Morarji Desai and Padma Vibhushan to Atalji. The Modi government had given Bharat Ratna to Pranab Mukherjee, Padma Vibhushan to Sharad Pawar and Padma awards to the Congress Chief Ministers of Assam and Nagaland. It is important to understand that what is the respect of the one who goes for the demand and also what is the authenticity of the giver?