Bharat Ratna to Dhyan Chand, Sachin soon !

Hockey legend Dhyan Chand, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and others may get Bharat Ratna, the government has effected a change in the eligibility criteria. The nation’s highest civilian award will now be awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order “in any field of human endeavour” — covering almost all the fields that had earlier remained out of the purview of the award. Earlier, it was restricted to areas like “art, literature, science and public service”. “The change has been made through a notification by the PMO on recommendation of the home and sports ministries,” said a senior official. Supporting the sports ministry’s demand to include ‘sports’ as a category for the award, the home ministry had written to the PMO in July, asking it to take the call. As the clamour for awarding Bharat Ratna to Tendulkar and Dhyan Chand gets louder, sports minister Ajay Maken had earlier written to home minister P Chidambaram. Maken, however, did not plead for any specific sportsperson or sports.
The recommendations for the Bharat Ratna, instituted in 1954, are made by the PM himself to the President. Though names of persons can be sent by different state/UT governments, organizations and individuals to the PMO for consideration, no “formal recommendation” is necessary. It is also not mandatory that Bharat Ratna is awarded every year. The number of awards is, however, restricted to a maximum of three in a year. So far, 41 people have been conferred with Bharat Ratna. The first three Indians who received the award were Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Sarvapali Radhakrishnan in 1954. The award has been conferred on a naturalized Indian citizen (Mother Teresa in 1980) and to two non-Indians (Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela in 1990). Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was the last recipient of the award in 2009. Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Lata Mangeshkar, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Amartya Sen, Jayprakash Narayan, J R D Tata, Rajiv Gandhi, Sardar Patel are among the other recipients of Bharat Ratna.