NEW DELHI: Noted historian Ramachandra Guha today criticised the choice of Madan Mohan Malaviya for Bharat Ratna posthumously, saying it is "indefensible" and there were "far greater Indians" eligible for the highest honour than the late freedom fighter and Hindu Mahasabha leader.
Guha, however, said giving former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee a Bharat Ratna was "fine".
"Giving Vajpayee a Bharat Ratna is fine but one should not award it to people dead or long dead. Awarding Malaviya is a mistake..," he tweeted.
In a series of tweets, Guha said, "If Malaviya, why not give Tagore, Phule, Tilak, Gokhale, Vivekananda, Akbar, Shivaji, Guru Nanak, Kabir, Ashoka, Bharat Ratnas too?"
"The more I think of it, the more the award of the Bharat Ratna to MM Malaviya strikes me as parochial and indefensible....," he said.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tweets that Malaviya got the award for his scholarship and patriotism, Guha said that "in both spheres, there were far greater Indians..."
"Gokhale, Tilak, Kamaladevi, Bhagat Singh, contributed far more than Malviya to the freedom struggle, Tagore far more to education/literature.
"But Gokhale/Tilak/Bhagat Singh/Kamaladevi/Tagore and other such stalwarts did not work or live in the Prime Minister's constituency," he tweeted.
Guha, also a well-known writer, hoped "from now on there no more posthumous Bharat Ratna, so that such rampant politicization is at least minimized."