Huffington Post | No one deserves a Bharat Ratna more than Viswanathan Anand
Yesterday at 5:16 PM
Shrinjan Rajkumar asks why despite being considered among some of the greatest players to ever play the game of chess, Viswanathan Anand has not been seriously considered for the Bharat Ratna. Rajkumar then goes on to address Narendra Modi and makes a case for the “messiah of Indian sport”.
The clamor to award the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest honor, to chess grandmaster Viswanathan Huffington PostAnand began in 2012, when the Madras Tiger triumphed at the World Championships for the fifth time, an unprecedented feat. The then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the late J. Jayalalithaa, and former Sports Minister of India Ajay Maken joined in the chorus and said he deserved to win the Bharat Ratna. I too had the same opinion, which I cast publicly in July 2012 to the then Law, HRD, IT & Communications Minister of India Kapil Sibal. In a public forum, I requested him to convince then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to recommend Viswanathan Anand for the Bharat Ratna—a suggestion which was welcomed by thunderous applause by the audience at a time when the Anand vs Tendulkar debate was at its peak. Tendulkar eventually got his Bharat Ratna in 2014, but this recognition still eludes Anand.
Despite being beaten by the current world champion Magnus Carlsen, Vishy at 47, continues to be at the top, and often beats young elites with his supercalifragilisticexpialidocious chess. Vishy has transfigured his game like no other Indian has ever done. Today India boasts 44 grandmasters, close to 100 international masters, women grandmasters and numerous world junior/youth champions—it is Vishy who sets a shining example and gives them the conviction that they too can take on the world. When Vladimir Putin, one of the world’s most powerful people, met Anand in Moscow, he exclaimed “So we brought this on ourselves!” referring to Anand’s adolescent days when he trained at a Soviet cultural centre in Chennai.
Some may argue that the Bharat Ratna must be conferred for a lifetime achievement and Vishy still has time left in his professional career, but has this colossus not already achieved several lifetimes’ worth? Viswanathan Anand is to chess what Roger Federer is to tennis and Sachin Tendulkar is to cricket. Let’s begin 2017 with “anand” (joy) by decorating him with the top medallion. It will unite millions, since most of us can relate to his achievements and serve to circumvent skepticism about our national honors and their recipients. If the messiah of Indian sport at the “global” stage doesn’t deserve the Bharat Ratna, who does?
Read the full article here.