Two Personalities who refused Padma Awards

Former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and former General Secretary late EMS Namboodirpad are among the two personalities who refused the Padma Awards, from state.

Key Points

  • Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is not the first Marxist leader to refuse the national honour.
  • Former General Secretary late EMS Namboodirpad was the first among CPI(M) leaders to refuse the Padma Award.
  • As a policy, both the CPI(M) leaders, do not accept awards from the State.
  • CPI(M) policy has been consistent in declining such awards from West Bengal.

Padma Vibhushan to different personalities

  • EMS was selected for Padma Vibhushan award in 1992, along with BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee by the then Congress government, headed by PV Narasimha Rao.
  • While Vajpayee received the award, Marxist veteran refused to accept it.
  • EMS was not alone while refusing to accept the Padma Vibhushan. There were at least two more people who refused to accept it. Bureaucrat PN Haksar also felt that “accepting an award for work done causes an inexplicable discomfort”. Swami Ranganathananda also refused to accept it, as it was conferred to him as an individual.
  • In 2020, former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also returned the Padma Vibhushan, to extend his support to farmers’ protests.
  • Family of politician Lakshmi Chand Jain also refused to accept the posthumous honour, because he was against accepting state honours.

Padma Awards

Padma Awards were instituted in 1954. It is awarded to citizens of India, to recognise their distinguished contribution in several spheres of activity including education, arts, literature, industry, acting, science, social service, medicine, and public affairs. It has also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who were not citizens but contributed in multiple ways to India.

Selection criteria

The selection criteria for the award have been criticised in some quarters, claiming that highly deserving artists have been left out to favour certain individuals. Following the criticism, India has created an online nomination platform for common citizens for recommending nomination for the awards.

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