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Padma Chee!!

Saif Ali Khan is in bed with Padma while Kareena, standing at the bedroom door, happily looks on. Spotting Kareena, Saif doesn't flinch. If you think that I am talking dirty then you are thinking correct. I am talking about the award which has recently gathered a lot of mud - the Padma Shree - the fourth highest honour to be given to an Indian citizen after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan.

Meanwhile in the bedroom, Kareena points at the head of the Black Buck adorning the walls and complains, "I told you if you had killed a tiger, may be you would have got Bharat Ratna. Who knows! After all there are only 1411 tigers left in India". Saif hangs his head in shame - for recieving the award or killing the Black Buck or not killing the tiger - we will never know.

There is another recipient of this award who is worth mentioning. Sant Singh Chatwal, with a brief stint in jail in 1997, two charge-sheets, bank fraud cases etc., got Padma Bhushan. I wonder why they forgot Ramalinga Raju.

Just like Shiv Sena attacking Sachin has a reason, there is a "reason" behind Chatwal getting the award. Home Ministry has clarified that Chatwal has been given this honour because he was instrumental in getting the nuclear deal signed with the US. We can brush aside the little fact that Chatwal is supporter of the Clintons who are bitter political opponents of Bush, the president who pushed this deal in the American Senate.

OK let's stop complaining. Let's look at the fool-proof and interesting way of selecting the winners. A "secret" committee is formed which is given a list of nominations and asked to choose. The committee is given a few hours to choose from thousands of names with only very little information provided to it. Under such pressure, I think that the committee would have devised even more secret method of selection - choose every 10th name. Simple, isn't it!

My only humble request to the Government of India is not to make the dozens of genuine winners of the Padmas feel any smaller by giving away awards to people like the Chatwals. Please don't make us call it the Padma Chee.

P.S. - If Obama can get the Nobel Peace Prize, don't complain about the Padmas!

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