Even as scientist P M Bhargava has declared that he will return his Padma Bhushan award, other scientists have come out and slammed the Award Wapsee brigade. Bhargava, who had received his Padma Bhushan from the Rajiv Gandhi Government just 2 years after the 1984 Sikh pogrom, has said that he will return this award in protest of “growing intolerance in the country”.
Besides being a scientist, Bhargava has been part of the “civic society” movement on many occasions. In 2011, he was part of a banner called the “National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements”, along with former NAC member Aruna Roy, and current Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. In 2013, he signed a letter which was released by AAP, which supported Kejriwal’s “civil disobedience movement”.
On the other hand, two scientists have come out and taken an opposite stand. Physicist Bikash Sinha who is himself a Padma Bhushan awardee has said that returning awards in such a manner is “an insult to the country“. He further said that such a charade of returning awards will not solve the problem. Instead, he said the awardees should show their protest in some other form and attack the source of the problem.
Returning awards will not solve problem, we hv to attack the source of problem, You can show your protest in some other way: Bikash Sinha
— ANI (@ANI_news) October 29, 2015
Along with him, former chairman of ISRO and Padma Bhushan awardee G Madhavan Nair, has termed the Award-Wapsee routine a mere “show“. He said that awards are mostly given to people for their life-time achievements and “you cannot belittle that (by returning them). The individuals should be proud that the nation has honoured them and that (award) stays with them until they leave this world.”
He slammed the behaviour of scientists and writers saying “Matured people like scientists and writers should not react like this; they should respond constructively. We have to be pro-active and take corrective action rather that making such….I will say it’s only a show“
He said that a few incidents can happen in a large country like India, and for the Government cannot be held responsible for the same. When asked about the timing of the protests, he said: “There could be some political agenda (in returning the awards). It cannot be ruled out. There are always some people following some philosophy or the other. There could be some political motives also behind that,”
He said the issue was being “over-hyped“ and ” because of the large publicity through electronic media and also through social media” it is spreading like wild fire. He further said that such action “only creates news for one day” and serves no purpose, and instead of this, people should talk to the “concerned people“, convince them and bring them back to “normal stream”.