Monday, April 21, 2008

Bharat Ratna for the Dalai Lama?

Paris, the capital of a republic that boldly claims 'Liberté, égalité, fraternité' as its motto has declared that it will confer honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama.

Wherever the Dalai Lama goes the talk pretty much follows where his home is, and where he is living now, which is in India. That in itself is an advertisement for India's commitment to democracy and justice as against authoritarianism that's lately on ascendance.

Yet, the country that give him asylum has always felt shy of openly accepting as such or fully recognizing the import of the Dalai Lama's stay. (He is accompanied by a single guard during his walks in Dharamshala, which speaks for his simplicity, but reflects rather poorly on us, where even petty goons passing for ministers carry a state sanctioned posse.)

Since the Bharat Ratna has had no claimant over the past few years or so the govt. tells us, it is time that someone as deserving as the Dalai Lama be awarded one. It will not only dignify the Dalai Lama but also shore up the waning reputation of the award itself. Too many undeserving, underqualified people, mostly politicians, have gotten their hands on the most prestigious award of the country. (An award that still legally recognizes what India, that is Bharat, holds as a gem, has to considered prestigious imo.)

It is a fond hope but a hope no less that the Dalai Lama be officially enshrined in our national history and public minds. I would wholly support any petition demanding as such.

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