Recently, the President of India
had awarded the 2021 Padma Awards.
In the list of recipients,
some people have
been applauded by the public.
Like Tulsi Gowda and Harekala Hajabba.
But there were also some people
Kangana Ranaut, Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar,
who were enveloped in controversies?
The people questioned whether they deserved the Award.
In today's post, let's understand it better.
Let's start with the basics.
Like Bharat Ratna Award,
Padma Award is also a Civilian Award.
Simply speaking, these awards are awarded to civilians.
The common citizens of the country
for exceptional work in their field.
The other category of awards
is the Gallantry Awards.
Awarded to the people in the Armed Forces.
So, these are the 2 basic categories of awards.
Awarded to the citizens by the Government.
Civilian Awards are also of 2 types.
Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards.
And the Padma Awards are further classified into 3 types.
Among these Civilian Awards, there is a hierarchy.
An order ranking the Awards by their importance.
Bharat Ratna is at the top of the hierarchy
being the highest Civilian Award.
On the second spot is the Padma Vibhushan
followed by Padma Bhusan
and finally Padma Shri.
These awards were instituted in 1954.
The next question is, who are awarded these Awards?
In the exact words,
these are awarded to individuals who have displayed
exceptional service to the highest order in their field.
The people who have done truly exceptional work.
They are awarded these.
What is the eligibility?
Every person is eligible
without distinction of race, occupation,
position, religion, or gender.
These don't matter.
There is only one rule,
if someone is employed in a government job,
is a 'currently serving government servant'
they wouldn't be eligible for this award.
Although, when they retire,
they can receive the award.
Interestingly, even foreigners can be awarded these.
One doesn't need to be an Indian citizen to receive these awards.
And the field in which the exceptional work is being done,
doesn't matter because every field is included.
Art, music, cinema, painting, theatre, sculpture,
education, journalism, social work, law, politics,
science and engineering, sports, medicine,
And even if your field isn't on this long list,
there's the category for 'others.'
Often, environment conservationists are awarded under the category of 'Others.'
Now, let's talk about the process of being awarded.
The first step is the nomination.
Your name needs to be nominated
and then put on the list of nominations.
Only then you could be selected for the award.
But who makes the nomination?
only State ministers, Chief Ministers, Governors,
and Members of Parliament could nominate people for the Awards.
But thankfully, after 2015, the government changed the rule,
and now Citizen Nomination is also possible.
It means that the common citizens like you and I
can nominate someone.
This process is so easy
that you simply need to go on their website
and you can nominate people there.
Not only that, you can even nominate yourself.
Self Nomination is also possible.
If you think that you deserve the Padma Awards.
Apart from these, any government body can recommend any name for the nominations.
Whether a Chief Minister, Member of Parliament, or any State government.
Usually, the time for the nomination
is between 1st May to 15th September.
After this, the next step is the selection of the nominated names.
Who does this selection?
The Padma Awards Committee.
This Padma Awards Committee is constituted
by the Prime Minister of the country.
And it is headed by the Cabinet Secretary
and it includes the Home Secretary,
Secretary to the President,
and 4 to 6 other eminent people.
Of the nominated people, this committee recommends some names for the awards
The recommendation is then submitted to the Prime Minister
and the President of India for approval.
In the end, the final approval lies with the Prime Minister and the President.
But there are some selection criteria here.
Some guidelines to be followed before awarding someone.
For example, merely a long tenure of service shouldn't be awarded,
special service should be awarded.
The criteria are not mere excellence
rather it is 'excellence plus' in a field.
Additionally, the lifetime achievement of the individual needs to be evaluated during the selection.
Third, there needs to be an element of public service
when the achievements of the person who is being evaluated.
The fourth and extremely important point,
the person being selected for this award,
may be subjected to verification by the government's investigative agency.
To ensure that they have the appropriate character to be awarded such an Award.
It means that the government's investigative agencies
would conduct their verification.
Overall, it means that if you want to win this award,
you need to do something exceptional in your field.
Perhaps the biggest question to arise here would be
Are only the truly deserving people awarded these Awards?
Come, let's see the people that have been awarded these.
Let's start with the list of 2020.
In 2020, Padma Vibhushan was awarded to 7 people.
Four among them were from the field of public affairs.
George Fernandes, Sushma Swaraj,
Arun Jaitley and Anerood Jugnauth.
You'd already know Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
George Fernandes was an activist
whose claim to fame was his protest against Indira Gandhi.
And Anerood is the ex-Prime Minister of Mauritius
and he was the Prime Minister for 18 years.
And was the President for 9 years
and now, his son Pravind is the Mauritian Prime Minister.
The 3 other people were
Mary Kom in the field of sports,
Pandit Chhannulal Mishra is a classical singer,
and Sri Vishvesha Tirtha Swami, a spiritual leader.
He had been the guide for many RSS and BJP leader
like L. K. Advani and Uma Bharti.
And was at the forefront of the Ram Janmabhumi and the Gowraksha movements.
In 2021 too, 7 people have been awarded the Padma Vibhushan Award.
First, Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister of Japan.
He had famously played a major role in the Quad group.
I talked about it in the post on the Quad.
Second, S. P. Balasubramaniam,
the iconic singer who had once broken a Guinness World Record.
And had won 6 National Film Awards.
Third, Monappa Hegde.
An educationist and veteran doctor from Karnataka.
Even though he is a practitioner of modern medicine, he has been in several controversies.
Like his 2013 article in which he had written
that prescription drugs are the greatest weapon of mass destruction.
And in a 2013 interview published in The Hindu,
he had said that western healthcare is the leading cause of death.
And had proclaimed anti-biotics to be dangerous.
Fourth, B. B. Lal, an archaeologist,
famous for excavations on alleged Ramayan and Mahabharat sites.
Also for his excavations in Ayodhya.
Fifth, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan,
a world-renowned Islamic scholar and a Gandhian peace activist
author of several books.
The Prophet of Peace, The True Jihad,
and he is also famous for a 1993 article where he had said
to maintain religious harmony,
Muslims should let go of the Babri Masjid issue.
And that the Hindus should also agree
that they wouldn't create a controversy over any other mosque.
The next is Narender Singh,
the physicist famous for the invention of fiber optics.
The technology that is used for high-speed internet today.
And last, but not least,
An 82-year-old sculptor.
In Odisha's Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa,
the walls are carved with Jataka tales by him.
This had earned him international recognition in 1971.
His contribution to Odisha's sculpture tradition has been significant
due to which, in 1988, he was awarded the Padma Shri.
And now the Padma Vibhushan.
Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri have been awarded to many people
and it will not be possible to mention all the names in one post.
So let's look at some of the notable names.
First, the people who have been applauded.
And then the controversial names in this year's awards.
First, Tulsi Gowda.
An employee of the Kannada Forestry Department.
A woman born into a poor tribal family.
She didn't receive any formal education.
But she worked in the forest department for more than 60 years.
Initially, as a daily wage worker.
And then as a permanent employee.
And she gained so much knowledge within this time,
that she is known as the 'Encyclopedia of the Forest.'
She has planted more than 30,000 trees.
And her work is also notable for seed preservation and maintaining bio-diversity.
Second, Harekala Hajabba.
A 68-year-old fruit seller.
It's said that once a foreigner had asked him the price of orange
and he couldn't reply
because he had no formal education.
He was so embarrassed due to this incident,
he decided to build a school for the children in his village
so that they don't have to face the same circumstances.
In the year 2000, he achieved this.
He used his life savings,
to build a school in a 1-acre plot.
Today, almost 200 students study at this school.
Third, Mohammad Sharif.
A bicycle mechanic from Ayodha.
During the 1992 riots,
his son Raees went missing.
He was murdered.
And his body was dumped in a sack.
Lying on the road where stray animals had begun devouring the corpse.
After this tragedy,
he was determined that he wouldn't let this happen to anyone else.
"He takes the Hindus for their religious last rites.
And he buries the Muslims.
Ever since I lost my child,
I haven't been at peace.
I have no worldly pleasures.
I consider this to be the greatest prayer.
All religions are one, we have the same blood.
After this, whenever he comes across any unclaimed body,
he carries out the final rites for them.
As per the religion of the deceased.
He has cremated or buried the dead bodies of thousands of Hindus and Muslims.
Affectionately, people call him Sharif Chacha.
Jitender Singh Shunty is also on this list of awardees.
He had done a similar act.
And he is a former Delhi MLA.
He founded the Shahid Bhagat Singh Seva Dal.
It provides free ambulance services for the poor.
He has donated blood more than 100 times.
And had helped in the cremation of poor people.
These are the people, friends,
whom people believe to be deserving to be on this list.
That they deserved to win the Award.
Now let's talk about the people
who are claimed to be
There's a controversy on it.
First, Ekta Kapoor.
Famous for creating TV serials.
The dramas with bickerings and plottings.
Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.
Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki.
Kasauti Zindagi Ki.
And even serials like Naagin.
She has shattered TRP records.
But had TRP and money being the criteria for the Padma awards,
she would have been given Padma Vibhushan
rather than Padma Shri.
But the criteria for the Padma awards are exceptional work in their field.
Has she done any exceptional work in the field of art?
In the field of filmmaking?
Before her serials were popular on TV,
there were serials like Fauji,
Ramayan, Captain Vyom,
Jungle Book, Circus,
Vikram-Vetal on DD.
Every serial had a proper distinct storyline
brilliant acting and a sense of uniqueness.
And then Ekta came
with her factory film-making process.
Same stories, same characters,
same costumes, same melodramatic music,
and the same overacting in all her serials.
Shooting from multiple camera angles for 10 or 15 or 18 hours.
In my opinion, it wouldn't be an overstatement to say
that she has killed art on television
and has dumbed down society.
She has indeed produced some good films as well.
Like Udta Punjab or Lootera.
But most of her films are mediocre.
And some nonsensical.
Like Kya Kool Hain Hum, Great Grand Masti,
Judgemental Hai Kya?
After this, she entered the OTT-business
and started Alt Balaji.
And you know the types of things Alt Balaji is known for.
Some people have similar criticism for Karan Johar as well.
Another recipient of this year's Padma Shri Award.
But perhaps the most controversial recipient
for this year's Padma Awards
is Kangana Ranaut.
She started with films like Gangster and Life in a Metro
and had received the best-supporting actress award for the film Fashion.
And the film that was the most loved
by the audience was Queen.
Apart from these, Tanu Weds Manu, Tanu Weds Manu Returns,
Manikarnika and Panga were also awarded.
Other than these,
Kites, No Problem, Game, Double Dhamaal,
Tezz, Krish 3, Revolver Rani, Ungli,
Katti Batri, Rangoon, Judgemental Hai Kya,
and most of her films have been flops.
Talking about art,
how many of her films have exceptional acting or exceptional film-making?
4 or 5.
So should a Padma Award be given for 4 or 5 films?
Can 4 or 5 films be counted as lifetime achievements?
This is only one problem.
The second problem that is troubling the people
is that for Padma Awards,
as I told you at the beginning of the post, there's a rule
that the character of the person would be evaluated.
Before awarding them.
On many occasions, Kangana Ranaut has spread hate speech
spread fake news,
which even led to her being banned from Twitter.
She has also promoted casteism,
compared an Indian city to PoK once,
and has disrespected all the freedom fighters.
Claiming that earlier we got independence by merely begging
and we got true independence after 2014.
The list of her misconduct is long.
That could be used to judge her character.
It is acknowledged by many that her acting is good,
and she has been given National Film Award for it.
But the Padma Award is not given for acting only.
The person's character is also evaluated for it.
That's why people question
why was she given this Award?
Is it because of her political connections?
Doesn't giving such people an award
devalue the reputation of the Award itself?
What is your opinion?
I hope you found this post to be informative as always.
Let's meet in the next post.
Thank you very much.