Friday, July 26, 2013

Sir MV, Amartya Sen and Bharat Ratna

The cabinet decided to award the title Bharat Ratna to Sir M VIshweshwaraiah. Knowing his character, none in the cabinet wanted to write to him and seek his acceptance of the award. Nehru was up to the challenge and wrote.

True to his nature - straightforward, upright - Sir MV replied that he is ready to accept the award only if it did not rob him of the freedom to criticize his (Nehru's) government if the need arose. Nehru wrote back that it was precisely for this that he was being awarded the Bharat Ratna.

This is a long story in short.

Nehru did not place the condition that Sir MV could comment only when his opinion was solicited. He did not stipulate: "Don't foist your UNSOLICITED opinion on the nation".

Sen's opinion, right or wrong, needs to be foisted on the country. This is the "job" (unpaid) of an intellectual. If the nation has any Sen_se, it will listen. And think.

I can anticipate a retort that Sen is no Sir MV. Perhaps. If so, the government should have had enough sense not to anoint him the Bharat Ratna.

Merrily go on Bharat Ratna Sen. Even if you get senile and speak nonsense there is a distinct possibility that you make more sense then than others who are supposed to be sound of mind.

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