Why divide India over Nehru and Vajpayee; Dhyan Chand and Tendulkar?

Sachin Tendulkar brought immense joy to the supporters of the game. He also brought the country the distinction of being home to the best cricketer ever to have run between the 22 yards for two decades and more to establish records that might be difficult to overhaul.

So a Bharat Ratna for Sachin is very much in order. But why ignore hockey wizard Dhyan Chand’s seminal contribution to the national game? He won an enslaved India three Olympic golds between 1928 and 36. At his peak, he was the Tendulkar of hockey the way Sachin’s the Dhyan Chand now of cricket!

A posthumous Bharat Ratna would be a promotion as much of the game as of the legacy of Dhyan Chand. The gesture would make hockey more attractive for the youth in a country obsessed with cricket. If that happens, India could hope to regain the pinnacle it occupied when the wizard played for the country.

Regardless from where it’s comes there is immense merit in the demand for reviving the Dhyan Chand legand through the highest civilian award for the extraordinary sportsman. Such awards should be used to stitch India together in a hugely divisive political environment. In that limited sense, there’s as much weight in including Atal Bihar Vajpayee in the exclusive club of people who did the country proud.

Vajpayee stuck to his Nehruvian values despite being the PM of a party that’s busy demolishing Panditji’s contribution in the making of modern India. Now that the saffron party wants the ex-Premier so honoured, the Congress must lap up the proposal. For a Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee will at once be a tribute to the country’s first prime minister.

Impressed by Vajpayee’s oratory, wasn’t it Nehru who predicted the young parliamentarian would be prime minister one day?

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