It’s that time of the year when the Indian Government declares the list of Indian citizens who have made the cut for the Padma Awards. The 2010 list of Padma Awardees has opened the Pandora’s Box. The Indian Government webpage states that
Padma Awards, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri are given for exceptional and distinguished service in any field including service rendered by Government servants.
The inclusion of Sant Singh Chatwal, the US residing hotelier of Indian origin, into the list has not gone down well with many quarters of the Indian society. The official stand of the Indian Government is that Sant Singh Chatwal aided with the ratification of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.
Well, I have a slight issue with that reasoning- something that involves LOGIC. The Chatwal family is close to the Democratic Party in the US, a fact that can be confirmed by the various photographs he has flaunted- with former President Bill Clinton and with the present President Barack Obama, both belonging to the Democratic Party. The Indo-US Nuclear Deal, however, was passed during the George Bush’s presidency (Bush, belonging to the Republican Party). Someone chummy with the Democratic Party couldn’t possibly “pull some strings” to get things done when the Republican Party is in power. And besides, he is embroiled in legal cases, being accused of defrauding Indian and American banks (Read here and here). With all these “accolades” being showered on him, the least the Indian Government could have done is waited until Chatwal’s name was cleared, before giving him the Padma Shri.
Every time the Indian Government involves in such foot-in-mouth behavior, it makes a laughing-stock of itself in the eyes of the world, as well as in the eyes of the Indian citizen on the street. Such a boorish outlook bodes no good to anybody.
And a time will come, when the only Padma people will take seriously will be Padma Lakshmi. 😀