Date :11-Feb-2024

THE announcement of the highest civilian award ‘Bharat Ratna’ to five personages -- Mr. Lal Krishna Advani, the late Karpoori Thakur, the late Choudhary Charan Singh, the P.V. Narasimha Rao, and the late Dr. M.S. Swaminathan brings into focus the immense contribution of these icons to the making the story of modern India brighter and better. Their cumulative contribution made India shine brighter beyond any shade of doubt. Though some people may try to interpret these awards as a politically-driven exercise, we do not subscribe to that view. We believe that these personages were born with a purpose and served that purpose with aplomb for which ‘Bharat Ratna’ is the most appropriate honour. The nation saw the emotional response of Mr. Lal Krishna Advani upon getting the honour. But those were not his personal emotions. He delved deep into his own life’s story that ran parallel to the greater Indian story around Independence and later. His position of Deputy Prime Minister was only a happenstance, but Mr. Advani’s contribution has been far greater than any such position of limited import.
The late Karpoori Thakur was a leader of less fortunate segments whom he gave an authentic voice of their own. Suffice it is to say that Mr. Karpoori Thakur made all the difference to the way those less fortunate sections were living before his emergence on the socio-political horizon. He might have remained geographically restricted to the region of Bihar, all right. But he had an impact on the larger Indian society as well. Choudhary Charan Singh also played a similar role in the national socio-political ecosystem. He rose to become Prime Minister of India in a strange situation, all right, and did not face the Parliament even for a day. But such aberrations did not obliterate his contribution to the larger socio-political ecosystem of the country. For, Choudhary Charan Singh proved to be the staunchest voice of non-Congressism in the country at a time when the Congress party was the only dominant force of national proportions in India. The late Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao was not just a Prime Minister at any time. He came into the hot seat at possibly the most crucial moment of contemporary Indian history and brought about core changes in policy and philosophy of governance.
Though the nation now recognises the great contribution by Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, his own party -- Congress -- made every effort to belittle the man, and even did not allow his funeral to take place in the national capital. The ‘Bharat Ratna’ to him neutralises all that insult at least to some extent. History will always remember him as a man of a great moment. Iconic agricultural scientists Dr. M.S. Swaminathan should have been given ‘Bharat Ratna’ long ago for his immense contribution to India’s Green Revolution. But the honour to him is a recognition of the contribution science can make to carving out a great story of development of the country. Dr. Swaminathan was a scientists of international standing, and the honour to him is a very good gesture by the country to a man of incalculable merit. ‘The Hitavada’ joins the nation in honouring the five personages. It places on record its appreciation and salutation to the five great gems that the Government found pleasure in honouring with ‘Bharat Ratna’.