PV Narasimha Rao deserves India's highest civilian honour

former Prime Minister of India, Pamulaparthy Venkata Narasimha Rao
former Prime Minister of India, Pamulaparthy Venkata Narasimha Rao

Telugu Bidda, former Prime Minister of India, Pamulaparthy Venkata Narasimha Rao is back in spotlight

Telugu Bidda, former Prime Minister of India, Pamulaparthy Venkata Narasimha Rao is back in spotlight. PV, as he was fondly called by his contemporaries and all those who were close to him, was undoubtedly a legend in all respects.

He was a multi-faceted personality with varied interests. He was a lawyer, scholar, writer, polyglot and an astute administrator. He was proficient in several Indian and foreign languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Bengali, Gujarati, Odia, Tamil, Kannada, English, French, German, Persian, Arabic and Spanish.

His strategy of being a silent performer, his penchant for traditional dress and his visionary outlook helped the country steer out of severe economic crisis.

The reforms he had introduced amidst stiff opposition have helped in integrating the country with the world. The Telugu pride was the first Prime Minister from South India outside the Nehru Gandhi family. His political acumen which had no words to describe helped in enlisting the support of all different political parties including the two left parties.

He was unparalleled in linguistic plurality in true Indian spirit and brought local governance reforms. If only PV was from north India, it would not have taken 16 long years to get some recognition for his great services to the country.

He faced humiliation after his death as AICC practically disowned him. They did not allow his family to perform the last rites in Delhi which PV always considered as his Karmabhumi. Against the backdrop of this situation, it is commendable that both the Central and State governments had reacted positively at last.

The TRS in 2014 had announced that his birth anniversary would be celebrated as a State festival. Now it has decided to organise year-long celebrations not only in the State but in over fifty places across the globe.

Remembering the great leader as the centenary year began, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that PV remained on the forefront of raising his voice against injustice. "Narasimha Rao also understood history very well.

His rise from a very simple background, his emphasis on education, his tendency to learn, and, with all this, his leadership ability - everything is memorable," he said. "I urge that, in the birth centenary year of Narasimha Rao, all of you, try to know as much as possible about his life and thoughts Modi advised.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said PV laid a strong foundation for national nuclear security as well. His efforts resulted ultimately in Pokhran Nuclear test in 1998 as Vajpayee said after succeeding him as Prime Minster, "Rao said to me the bomb was ready, I only exploded it".

Many others including Congress leaders praised PV and paid rich tributes. It goes to the credit of the BJP which constructed a memorial for him in Delhi. But then it stopped at that point. Even today, there is no mention of any proposal to honour him with highest civilian award Bharat Ratna.

The TRS has now announced year-long celebrations and said would try to see that he is awarded Bharat Ratna. This decision of the pink party is appreciable. Analysts say that the talk of Bharat Ratna for PV by TRS has political overtones.

Maybe they are right but still, if they succeed it would be a tremendous achievement. He certainly is the most deserving personality for the coveted Bharat Ratna Award. The former President of India Pranab Mukherjee's comments that "PV was the former Prime Minister, a deft practitioner of realpolitik, a great intellectual, an erudite scholar, thinker, writer and linguist and someone who would be remembered for his historic contributions to the country," speaks volumes.

Pranab da had made these observations on December 31, 2012 at the first PV memorial lecture organised by The Hans India. Interestingly, he was conferred Bharat Ratna in 2019, but the poor Telugu Bidda is still being ignored. Modi ji are you listening?

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