Logic Behind calling “Bharat Ratna” Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam “Rashtra Ratna”!

What may be the logic behind calling Former President and Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, a Rashtra Ratna.

PM Narendra Modi did just that hours back, when he said: …Before being a Rashtrapati, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was a “Rashtra Ratna”.

He knows better, although for some reason or the other he keeps bringing among public such terms, which many a times leaves don’t look very suitable.

Take for instance, calling Physically Challenged or Handicaps, Divyang (in Hindi would mean a body part of divine origin). It’s easier to understand the use of Physically Challenged or Specially Abled in place of Handicap. But “Divyang”. What is so divine in being physically challenged? Who would want to be one?

This Government is particularly interested in renaming roads, cities and Institutions.

We will not go much remote in time, but the latest beneficiary of such renaming has been 7 RaceCourse Road, the Official Residence of Prime Minister Modi. The address is now known as 7 Lok Kalyan Marg.

Around the same time last year, the name of Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi was changed to Abdul Kalam Marg. A couple of months ago, the name of Gurgaon was changed to “Guru Gram”.

We may have different views on such name changes and coining new terms. Many among us will see it as a deliberate attempt on the part of the incumbent Government to make an ideological change (else what is the difference between Bharat Ratna and Rashtra Ratna! Both seem to stand for the same). But honestly speaking, I’m not much fan of such name changes and inventing new terms for existing concepts, honors, places, roads etc.

Why? As such attempts don’t contribute anything constructive. Instead they rob the entity (existing concepts, honors, places, roads) of much. For instance Gurgaon as an IT City, with global distinction, suddenly becomes unheard of place, the moment you start calling it Gurugram. Although Gurugram will remain not better than Gurgaon in terms of civic amenities. The same happened with Bangalore during the tenure of pervious Government. Even earlier Connaught Place in New Delhi was renamed as Rajiv Chowk. Although now Rajiv Chowk, although nothing has changed much… people don’t feel the same nostalgia about the Business Centre, which still remains a crowded place.

In the same way, if a parallel term for Bharat Ratna is invented, then people will either forget the earlier recipients of Bharat Ratna, or start treating Dr. Abdul Kalam as one who received Rashtra Ratna and not the Bharat Ratna.

In the same way calling Physically challenged or handicapped, “Divyang” adds nothing constructive to their lives. Calling them Divyang is no less than mockery, for the reasons already shared above. It would have been better, if some real attempts are made to better their lives.

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