(Bihar Times): It is rather lamentable that world class sportsmen such as the freestyle wrestler, Sushil Kumar and the boxer, Vijender (both of whom won bronze medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics) have been overlooked for the prestigious Padma awards. Thus unfortunately national awards conferred by the Government of India quite often give the impression of being rather arbitrary.
Moreover, it is not only in sports that such omissions have occurred. For instance, world class scientists such as Dr. Homi Bhabha and Dr. G.N. Ramachandran (whose contributions in sciences were surely well above those necessary for a Nobel Prize) were overlooked for the Bharat Ratna titles. In addition, both these scientists were great Indian nationalists as well. It is also known, without any doubt, that it is mainly due to the efforts of Dr. Bhabha that India today has an extensive and a cutting-edge nuclear programme.
Hence, in my opinion it is overdue that the Government of India sets up a highly professional and an enlightened panel which oversees such national awards.
Dr. Upinder Fotadar
New York, U.S.A.
I differ from your opinion regarding Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh. Both of them won Bronze medals at the recent Olympics, that is their prize and recognition. Why do they cry for Padma Shri? http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=beb6000b-9723-4c29-a784-85470f8ffc07). Padma awards are not birth rights. It is not something somebody can demand. It is the prerogative of Govt of India to confer it to whoever it feels necessary. The fact that the duo of freestyle wrestler and boxer did not get the coveted award this year does not mean that they are not going to have it ever again. Abhinav Bindra did get Padma Shri award this year, but he had a gold at the Olympics. If Sushil and Vijender also had gold at the Olympics, they could have righty complained of foul play after being denied the same recognition. But, they do not a have case on that logic. They should concentrate on their performance and strive to do better in their chosen field of expertise. The more bronze/silver/gold medals they will bring home, people will know and praise them more. Padma awards are secondary derivative. Nobody will judge them on the basis of the Padma recognition. National awards conferred by the Government of India are not arbitrarily distributed. They are meant to bring the best in athletes, police, army, music, cinema, social service, politicians, bureaucrats, ...etc. They are meant to push people to desire for excellence. But, most certainly, you cannot demand them on the basis on an Olympic bronze.