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Indian Awards System, like Padma Award and Bharat Ratna Award. Discuss

Awards are mark of recognition of excellence. They act as stimulant for striving towards perfection. Fundamental duty in Indian Constitution urges Indian men and women to achieve better outcome in every field for developing the society as a whole. There must be a rewarding system also to honour that brilliance. Indian civilian honour like Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards are epitome of eminence. Every year on Republic Day, India honours those persons who have made the world proud by their human endeavour. That Bharat Ratna, Padma Awards, the highest Indian civilian honours, don't come with any monetary benefit which depicts that they are beyond any monetary evaluation. Monetary valuation would limit the importance of such award.

There is a saying which asks one to work irrespective of thinking about recognition. But appreciation, acclamation also brings in attention. And when the awards are given at National level, they bear immense prestige, dignity and honour .The awardees get global recognition and their work, be it in any sphere, gets due respect and limelight. The awards bestowed by head of state, the honourable President of India, graces the occasion.

Bharat Ratna and Padma awards were instituted in 1954.Each year, maximum three persons can be awarded Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour of India. Prime Minister himself recommends the awardees to the President.

Padma awards are of three categories. After receiving nominations from whole nation, an expert committee is constituted by the Prime Minister for selecting the awardees they take decision. Padma awards are of three categories. 'Padma Vibhushan' is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; 'Padma Bhushan' for distinguished service of high order and 'Padma Shri' for distinguished service in any field.

C.V Raman, Sarvapalli Radhakarishnan, Satyajit Roy and Mother Teresa are few of these luminaries who were bestowed Bharat Ratna. Honouring these legends is our pride and fortune. Their work is the main reason which has rendered these awards their importance. We must respect that and not let it be obliterated.

It is a matter of distress that these awards are not free from criticism. Morarji Desai, convinced of the degradation of the award system scrapped it in 1977.

Indira Gandhi reintroduced it awarding herself the covenant award of Bharat Ratna proved the politicisation of the award. Sachin Tendulkar is undoubtedly an icon in India but the way and timing of bestowing the award to him by the then Government has drawn flak. Padma awards are also increasingly causing headlines due to wrong reasons.

Any resource which is of high importance must be treated carefully to ensure that its value is not undermined. In our huge and diverse country they unite us in respecting the cream of mankind, the jewels of our time. But it has drawn lots of criticism over the years for want of transparency and accountability. The criteria of selecting the awardees are not clear. The selection committee has come under scanner many times.

The prestige of the awards is being marred by political affiliations and pressure groups. They have been accused of being used as 'spoil system' and not for acknowledgment of supremacy. Consequently many true talents have gone unnoticed. With each year increasing number of Padma awardees may signify the increasing brilliance shown by people but they may also scale down the honour.

Bollywood shahenshah Amitabh Bachchan, Bill Gates were included in this year's Padma awardees. While we continue to value such magnanimous personalities there is also a rising concern about who should be given the award and who should be not. Also a matter of debate is to when to confer such award. The time of giving such award has come under question also. It is a matter of great debate. In this year there was a controversy when Badminton player Saina Nehwal and Boxer Bijendra Singh pitched for themselves for Padma awards.

These kind of things malign the purity of the awards. They not only belittle the importance of the awards but also disrespects other impeccable persona of deserving recipients. Only by assuring transparency and accountability in Indian award system we can avoid these. When Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya was bestowed Bharat Ratna (posthumously) this year, there was a cry in some section that he should have been given the award much earlier.

Indian Award system also suffers from lack to attention towards cause. We may award a person but truly recognition implies the recognition of work and felicitating the cause. Many times that go unanswered. Efforts must be taken to correlate people's life and development with such cause.

We must remember that these covenant awards are not only the pride of the recipients but the pride of India, our motherland.The prestige of these awards must be kept high to keep up India's pride. The dignity of the Indian Award system must be restored to make them able to recognise the true contributors who spend their life for the betterment of the society. The sanctity of Indian award system must be upheld.

Pallabi Chakraborthy

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