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Criteria for ‘Lotus’ Awards: Suck up to the government

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Every year the Padma awards are announced by the government honouring men and women for their outstanding contribution to their respective fields. And so 2016 was no different . And going by the list of  who’s who who bagged the nations highest civilian awards it raises doubts about the criteria in which awards are given and makes heads turn. Has the BJP led government gave nod to those persons who toed the government line on the raging intolerance debate and silently backed them on other contentious issues ? . It has when looks at the list closely .

 Bollywood actor Anupam Kher is on cloud nine this year after he was given the  Padma Bhushan. But in 2010 in  his tweet ,he  had a rather different take . In the year 2010, Kher angrily expressed his displeasure on Twitter towards the credibility of various awards, including the National Awards and Padma Awards. He had said, “AWARDS in our country have become a mockery of our system. There is NO authenticity left in any one of them. B it films, National or now PADMA.”

 But come 2016, Kher  is singing different tune. In a contradictory Tweet, he said, “Happy, Humbled & Honoured to share that i have been awarded The PADMA BHUSHAN by the Govt. of India. Greatest news of my life:) #JaiHind.”

 Kher if one remembers led a march against those celebrities and artists who returned their awards citing growing intolerance in the country.Film- maker Madhur Bhandarkar ( gets Padma Shri), Ashoke Pandit ( Padma Shri), Priyadarshan, Manoj Joshi, Abhijeet Bhattacharya and writer Madhu Kishwar joined the march to hand over a memorandum signed by more than 40 personalities including actress Raveena Tandon.

 Superstar Rajinikanth, founder of Reliance Industries  late Dhirubhai Ambani ( Both Mukesh and Anil Ambani have thanked the government for  the Award to their father and both have been strong backers of the Modi government), Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ( he attended the PM Modi oath taking ceremony in 2014) and media baron Ramoji Rao have been chosen for Padma Vibhushan – country’s second highest civilian award – this year.

Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn and former Miss wand Bollywood actress  Priyanka Chopra are also on the list of Padma Shri awardees, along with director SS Rajamouli (of Bahubali fame) and Bhojpuri singer Malini Awasthi.

Devgn had campaigned for the NDA during the Bihar polls 2015. While, Priyanka is now the face of “Incredible India” campaign along with icon Amitabh Bachchan replacing Aamir Khan. Bg B is face of Gujarat tourism,

The Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Jagmohan, former DRDO chief VK Aatre, cancer specialist and chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute Dr V Shanta and eminent Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancer Yamini Krishnamurthi and classical vocalist Girija Devi and Indian-American economist Avinash Dixit have also been named for Padma Vibhushan

Singer Udit Narayan, former CAG Vinod Rai ( He exposed the UPA- 2 over the 2 G spectrum case), chairperson of media group Bennett, Coleman & Co. Indu Jain,

Tennis  star Sania Mirza and Badminton star Saina Nehwal, spiritual leaders late Swami Dayanand Saraswati ( whom PM Narendra Modi referred as Guru), Swami Tejomayananda and former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill are among the 19 eminent people chosen for Padma Bhushan.

Renowned sculptor Ram V Sutar, Manipuri theatre personality Heisnam Kanhailal, Hindi and Telugu writer Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad, Sanskrit scholar NS Ramanuja Tatacharya, Punjabi journalist Barjinder Singh Hamdard, gastroenterologist D Nageshwar Reddy and scientist A V Rama Rao have been chosen for Padma Bhushan.

 This tilt by government while finalising list of Padma awards means that the nation’s highest civilian honours are too mired in controversy and the awards hence lose their sheen associated with it.padma_awards_pic

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