'Ignored' Yasin Merchant cries foul over Padma awards

'Ignored' Yasin Merchant cries foul over Padma awards

Yasin Merchant

In his two-page letter, Merchant has questioned the selection criteria for the award, saying his international achievements had been completely ignored. In his letter, Merchant writes, “All synonyms defining the word disappointment racked my body and as expected, frustration too did an all-body tour, pinching and biting every pore of my disillusioned body, as I browsed through the list of fortunate recipients who have been ‘honoured’ by India.'

“The list was high profile, as it should be, comprising sports people who belong to the nation’s most loved sport, whose earlier recipients did not even consider the Padma Award ceremony worthy of their presence, but they still get favoured.
“The list included performers who are in their late 70s, 80s or even 90s, to whom it wouldn’t matter if it was day or night. Not grudging their award -- just the timing of their receiving it. The list included the ‘elite’ who have just a few cases of alleged fraud tagged along their name.

“Most importantly, the list included ‘Youth Icons’ who have been conferred with Padma Bhushans and Padma Shris for setting such examples like being allegedly involved in killing endangered species, having live-in relationships, abandoning wives and kids and moving on to ‘greener pastures’, getting involved in immature, juvenile digs at fellow performers. Are these the role models for our children?” Merchant writes.

Speaking  from Mumbai, the Busan Asian Games gold medallist said, “Deserving candidates like me who have given so many years to the country are being ignored at this year’s list. They (government) didn’t consider my name worthy. It’s shameful and demoralising.

“In 2001 also, it was announced that I had been given the award but when the final list was declared, my name was not there,” Merchant fumed.

Arjuna awardee and national snooker champion Merchant further writes in the letter, “Coming back to the list, it included all of the above and also some nameless, faceless individuals who have somehow found their way into the good books of the people who decided the awards.  The list however does not include individuals, who from the age of 13 to date (43), have been slogging their backsides off, converting sweat into blood, sacrificing friends and society for the sake of earning glory for their club, their city, their state and eventually their country.”

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