It is heartening that Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has been honoured for his scientific contributions. It is also true that he deserved a better honour. India could have recognised the pathbreaking effort of this great scientist by conferring Bharat Ratna on him. It is a pity that the government has missed a splendid opportunity to honour Science in the person of Venkatraman Ramakrishnan. It is still not too late.
When Indians abroad are awarded the Nobel prize, the government suddenly wakes up and recognises them. Veterans like Ilaiyaraja get the recognition too late. Serious thought needs to be given before the awards are announced lest it should bring down the prestige of the awards themselves.
Congratulations to all recipients of the Padma awards. While many of them richly deserve the awards, the list invariably includes personalities who by no stretch of imagination would deserve the award if a strict evaluation procedure was followed. Inclusion of such personalities among the true achievers points to considerations other than merit. It is desirable that when the list is announced, the government spells out the criteria for selecting the awardees. Transparency and uprightness are essential for maintaining the dignity of the national awards.
Varsha S. Shenoy,