At the onset of this post, let me clarify that I’m a patriotic Indian – which is precisely why it irks me to see that as a nation we fail to respect our heroes. Two glaring examples are in the news now – from totally unrelated spheres; it reflects the common thread running through all of us – the thread of indecisiveness about the following questions:
A. “Who” is a National Hero? .. (If there ever was such a thing!)
B. “How” do we honour them?
Bharat Ratna has become a public joke now. I’d call it the “politicization of honour.” I do not know enough about Indian Politics to form an opinion or to comment on its affairs, but the tug-of-war over who should be awarded the highest Civilian award of country (and who SHOULDN’T!) clearly shows how petty we can get about things. We can’t even select our role models! .. Correction: we can’t select our role models unanimously. I won’t be surprised if the Opposition comes out with a Second Bharat Ratna.. and soon we’ll have a “Government Bharat Ratna” and an “Opposition Bharat Ratna” –
Not funny, I know! .. but the Indian Political Theatre is! – No wonder a friend of mine has decided to date that post and so that it always appears on the top of his blog!
The Indian Selection Committee (with all respects to the “job” they have at hand) have made a mockery out of the Ganguly issue. I do not know enough of the cricketing news of all the test-playing nations, but the Australians really know how to honour their heroes. They don’t drop them quite as unceremoniously as we do. I don’t intend to say that every self-respecting cricketer needs a grand farewell but someone of the stature of Sourav Ganguly ought not to have been “dropped” without being given an opportunity to “announce” his retirement. In the past, Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor amongst others have all been “asked to retire” but in a polite way .. with a gesture that shows the nation’s appreciation for their contribution to the development of the game.
In my humble opinion, the problem lies in the fact that we Indians have a tendency to always keep “all our options open”.. We are not prone to taking sides since it amllounts to taking risks and want to be “on good terms” with everyone. This brings me back to an old quote I read long ago, and in time I have realized its value:
“I don’t know the key to success. But the key to failure is trying to please everyone!”