HYDERABAD: AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi has once again stoked a controversy, by calling Bharat Ratna — the country’s highest civilian honour, as an exclusive club of upper castes and Brahmins. Owaisi made the comments while delivering the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
His comments drew immediate criticism from people on social media as many questioned them pointing out that Bharat Ratna has been awarded to people from different communities, including Zakir Hussain, Abul Kalam Azad, APJ Abdul Kalam, Bismillah Khan, Mother Teresa and JRD Tata.
One Twitter user posted saying, if the same logic is used for Nobel Prize awardees in the fields of science and economics, then it can be claimed that the prize is awarded only to Jews and Christians. However, this is not the first time that Owaisi has been critical of the way Bharat Ratna is conferred.
Just last week, when Owaisi was delivering a speech at a public meeting at Kalyan in Maharashtra, attacking the BJP and Congress parties, he questioned how many Dalits and Muslims have been awarded Bharat Ratna till now. He also alleged that awarding of Bharat Ratna to Dr BR Ambedkar in 1990 many years after his death, was out of political compulsion but was not a heartfelt decision.
Even when former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2015, Owaisi had criticised the move by the BJP-led government. Speaking to media then, he had said that transparency along with public discussion and well-defined criteria has to be evolved for awarding Bharat Ratna to individuals. Meanwhile, BJP MLC N Ramchander Rao told Express: “Incidentally, there are Brahmins who have been awarded the prestigious civilian awards. The award is conferred based on the achievements of a person and not his community.”
Not for the first time
This is not the first time that Owaisi made critical comments on how Bharat Ratna is conferred. Last week, when Owaisi was delivering a speech at a public meeting in Maharashtra, he questioned how many Dalits and Muslims have been awarded Bharat Ratna till now