In the annual tradition, the Government of India today announced its ‘Padma’ awards recipients.

And the nine Padma Vibhushan recipients, Padma Vibhushan is India’s second highest civilian honour, include two prominent faces of the Indian film industry or the Hindi language film industry – Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan.

And these two names come with a first – before them, no other actor from the Hindi films had been conferred India’s second most prestigious civilian decoration.

Interestingly, the 2012 Padma Vibhushan decision had seen controversy when an RTI reply revealed that these two names – Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan – were in the initial list of 37 names of the search committee but were not in the shortlist of 20 sent to the award committee.

Before 2015, though India recognized its artists including those from the entertainment industry, very few came from the mainstream entertainment industry (to say, mass entertainment), and certainly none from the class of actors who drive the focus of the world’s largest film industry – the Hindi cinema of the Mumbai based film industry.

An analysis into the Padma Vibhushan awardees so far, from 1954 when the awards were given the first time, returns with 55 awardees recognized for their contribution in ‘Art’.

And just eight of these are from the ‘craft of cinema-making – V. Shantaram, Satyajit Ray, Lata Mangeshkar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Asha Bhosle, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Zohra Sehgal and Akkineni Nageshwara Rao.

On further narrowing down the list, we see that only five have been from or having association with the Hindi language film industry – actor, filmmaker and director V. Shantaram, director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, singers and sisters Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle and actor and choreographer Zohra Sehgal.

All others come from the fields of art like classical music, classical dances, fine arts and paintings and literature.

For the fields from the ‘craft of cinema-making’, Bharat Ratna does give better comparative results.

Since its inception in 1954, Bharat Ratna has been conferred on 45 individuals so far including three from the ‘art of cinema-making’ – Satyajit Ray, M. G. Ramachandran (actor-turned politicians and Tamil Nadu’s chief ministers) and Lata Mangeshkar while Padma Vibhushan has been conferred on over 300 people with just eight names to count.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–


December 24 came with a news that indeed mattered, for many of us, Bharat Ratna to Mahamana Pundit Madan Mohan Malaviya.

The government announced today Bharat Ratna to Malaviyaji along with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Vajpayee should have been awarded a long ago but it took a BJP government in the Centre to do so, a justified decision, that took so long to arrive at due to silly political considerations. Vajpayee is one of the best prime ministers India has had and Vajpayee, the Statesman, was acceptable across the political ideologies. And making Sachin Tendulkar a Bharat Ratna while ignoring Atal Bihari Vajpayee was never acceptable. Anyway, it is in now, thankfully.

The decision to award Bharat Ratna to Malaviyaji, though Narendra Modi had promised, as for Atalji, was bound to raise controversy, given the fact that it came 68 years after his death. Posthumous Bharat Ratna decisions have been controversial but, Mahamana decision, thankfully, is also in.

The great Mahamana – yes, the argument does stand that giving Bharat Ratna to Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya posthumously would open a Pandora’s Box with supporters popping up even for the likes of Akbar and Ashoka.

But, for us, from the Banaras Hindu University fraternity – it was long overdue.

And the nation has indeed honoured itself by honouring Mahamana.

So, let’s put aside the arguments – even if valid they are – let them be for the gyaanis/experts/analysts populating the others spaces.

And let’s feel good about arrival of this decisions.

And it should be Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya and Atal Behari Vajpayee – the respect that ‘age and period’ command, even if it is Vajpayeeji all around, with Mahamana in passing references only.

Anyone who is from Banaras Hindu University and has read to know Mahamana can feel his imprint on the University – on what he wanted to make it – on what it became – on what it is becoming – to think further.

The Greats who gave us our Independence, who shaped our social structures and thought processes through the tumultuous colonial years, are much above any recognition including Bharat Ratna.

And it’s that way here – the Mahatma, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, called himself a devotee of Malaviyaji and deciding on Mahamana’s name is an honour for Bharat Ratna in fact.

Malaviya-Vajpayee(Images sources from the Internet)

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –