The Bharat Ratna awards have been made a mockery in the past few years. The last worthy recipient of this award was Acharya Vinobha Bhave in 1983. After that all the awards given, without exception, have been controversial. MGR was conferred with this award posthumously. A political stunt. Ambedkar was rightly given the award, but after nearly 40 years. Then it was awarded to Nelson Mandela, who is not even an Indian. The honour bestowed on the other non-Indian though was fully justified. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was an Indian before Partition and had contributed immensely towards the freedom struggle and he fully deserved it. Conferring Morarji Desai with the Bharat Ratna was the biggest joke, and his accepting was more so, considering his totally negative attitude towards the awards which he himself abolished as prime minister. Like Ambedkar, Sardar Patel deserved it too. But not as an afterthought after so many years. These last few years have nullified the glory of the prestigious Bharat Ratna, the highest award of this land.
(This appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the Illustrated Weekly of India magazine in 1991)