India news November 16, 2013

Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sachin Tendulkar will become the first sportsperson to be conferred the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. The Prime Minister's Office made the announcement hours after Tendulkar brought down the curtains on a 24-year international career.

"Sachin Tendulkar is undoubtedly an outstanding cricketer - a living legend who has inspired millions across the globe," a PMO release said. "During the last 24 years, since the young age of 16 years, Tendulkar has played cricket across the world and won laurels for our country. He has been a true ambassador of India in the world of sports. His achievements in cricket are unparalleled, the records set by him unmatched, and the spirit of sportsmanship displayed by him exemplary. That he has been honoured with several awards is testimony to his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman."

Speculation about Tendulkar getting the award has been around for years, and peaked in 2011 when the eligibility criteria for the award was broadened. Originally, the honour was for excellence in "art, literature, science and public services" but was amended to recognise "performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour".

In 2008, Tendulkar became the first sportsperson, along with chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, to receive the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honour. Tendulkar received the Arjuna Award (a national award for distinguished sports persons) in 1994, and in 1998 he received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the country's highest sporting honour. The next year, he was the recipient of the Padma Shri ( the fourth-highest civilian award).

Previous recipients of the Bharat Ratna include Nobel laureates Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anil on November 19, 2013, 1:04 GMT

    @cricwick You make an excellent point. Sure Tendulkar has made billion of people happy for a very long time (including me; I still like to see him bat for at least in Ranji -- prob a far cry a yearning). We make a strong case for "Hall of fame" for these stars. My point was you can't dilute the contributions of people like the ones I had mentioned. I have great respect for Abul Kalam Azad who turned it down citing his memebership in the selection committee.

  • Dummy4 on November 17, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    I first see your match in 1992 world cup against Pakistan you made 52 runs and took 2 wickets. From then I am your very big fan. I never miss your matches. Whenver you got out early I switched off my t.v and not interest to know, what happen to match. I always remind about you, in sleeping, eating, working etc. I think God give you extra powers and you score over 1000 runs in a day. I purchased a 16 gb pen drive to record last moments match, commentary, news programmes. And I keep it with me till my last breath. I show it to children and tell them about what is the meaning of sachin.

  • mohan on November 17, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    @nirvana_1959 I can understand your concern but have to look at the entire list. The last three receipents are Lata Mangeshkar, Bismillah Khan, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi who all are musicians and not statesmen or social workers. With due respect to all of them, I think Sachin has brought more accolades to Inida and joy to the people than any of the above three. That is not to take away anything from their greatness. And if a musician or a singer can get the highest award,why not someone from sport. I don't think sport is in anyway inferior to music or arts in this regard.

  • mohan on November 17, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    A befitting honour to this great icon of our sport and above all a wonderful human being. This award is a testimony to the impact you have had on the Indian psyche and the many joyous moments you have provided for the country. In a country that is as diverse and large as India you are and always will be an unifying factor. I can never forget the two mammoth knocks of yours(175 & 200) that I have watched in front of a packed common room in a hostel. Thank you Sachin for the memories and you deserve this HONOUR.

  • a on November 17, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    Yes, granted he one of the greatest cricketer India has produced and who has done very well for himself. What has he done for humanity and charity with the billons of dollar he has made? Does he give free cricket coaching classes or equipment to less fortunate youngsters who aspire to be a cricketer? Cricket is not the only sports, does he do anything to support other sports and sportsman as Rajya sabha MP? Hope to see him do something more with all the fame and fortune he's made for less fortunate.

  • Manav on November 17, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    Sachin isn't just Bharat Ratna but a Gem of the World. He is "THE GREATEST PERSON" I have ever seen, or in fact even heard about throughout the history. He is the person everyone should aspire to be. Dedicated to your work, always being honest, giving respect to everyone, helping others. He has done all that you can expect from a human being. I am Proud to be born in the Era of Sachin Tendulkar.

  • Dummy4 on November 17, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    Dhyanchand was never conferred with Bharat Ratna. I am wondering if he did not qualify the new amendment in Bharat ratna award 2011 ( "performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour"). It is easy to be carried away with emotions. But India can't afford to ignore the real legend. I am sure in a more mature country like Australia , they would not have done this gaffe. Can Bradman be ignored... and someone like Waugh , Ponting, Chappel be honoured ahead of Don ???

  • Vaidyanathan on November 17, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    So now there'll be a controversy whether (1) a sportsperson should be given the BR, (2) if so, should Dhyan Chand have been given it fist, (3) if the flailing UPA govt's trying to gain some votes here.

    The last day of his career after SRT did a great job of a farewell, salvaging his goodbye from BCCI's over-the-top preparations, and going just the way he wanted to go, the govt has to start a controversy.

    As in his career, he'll never get one day or one moment to savour without someone trying to score points for themselves off him. Sad.

  • Rajah on November 17, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    Sachin deserves the Highest Award in India. You call it what ever the name for the award, without any doubt in this century he deserves more than anybody else.

  • Dummy4 on November 17, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    what a career u have just finished....have a good life......hats off to u man...........a fan of u frm BD.