A billion hearts were choked with emotions today, November 16, 2013, as Indian cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar retired from the game after a legendary career that spanned 24 years. Acknowledging Sachin's contribution, the President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, has awarded him the prestigious Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award.
In India, the Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India) is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour. Any person, without distinction of race, occupation, position or gender is eligible for this award. The 40 year old Sachin Tendulkar will be the first sportsperson and the youngest person to receive this honour.
Social media was abuzz with reactions and congratulatory comments.
In a discussion on Quora, Bala Senthil Kumar expressed firm opinion as to why Sachin deserved the Bharat Ratna. According to him,
On another similar discussion thread in Quora, Vaibhab Sharma, a cricket lover and die-hard fan of Sachin Tendulkar, pointed out his reasons for Sachin deserving the prestigious award. He commented:
As the announcement of the award filtered in, Twitter too was abuzz with congratulatory comments and reactions.
Indian entrepreneur Kiram Mazumdar Shaw (@kiranshaw) tweeted:
Sachin is a rare legend He is not just a national but a global phenomenon. That makes him extra precious and our Bharat Ratna
— Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (@kiranshaw) November 16, 2013
Bharat Ratna @sachin_rt ! True Champion of the game, International Sports Icon, Global Indian, Inspiration for young & Humble Human Being.
— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) November 16, 2013
Actor and social activist Rahul Bose (@RahulBose1) tweeted:
And so @sachin_rt becomes the first sportsperson to be conferred the Bharat Ratna. Incredible honour. Congratulations!
— Rahul Bose (@RahulBose1) November 16, 2013
Varanasi Ramprasad (@smarttrainers), a management consultant, tweeted:
Bharat Ratna for Sachin. Another record set by the Master Blaster. Youngest & the first sports person to get the Ratna Award. We Salute you.
— Varanasi Ramprasad (@smarttrainers) November 16, 2013
Vaneet (@Vabo18), a cricket fan, was ecstatic. He tweeted:
The moment I heard the news Sachin was receiving Bharat Ratna, my face just glowed with happiness! Finally, Indian Gov. gives it to him!
— Vaneet (@Vabo18) November 16, 2013
While the mood of the nation was largely congratulatory, there were also a few voices of dissent, which either felt that there were other equally deserving candidates for the award or felt that the award should be given to non-sportspersons, to those who were perhaps older and had spent a lifetime working for a larger national cause.For example, independent journalist Shivam Vij (@DilliDurAst) felt that this was a populist gesture by the government. He tweeted:
Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar but not for Dhyan Chand or Anand Vishwanathan. Populism.
— Shivam Vij (@DilliDurAst) November 16, 2013
However,on this day, these voices found themselves in the minority, drowned in the adulation of a doting billion.