Bharat Ratna which literally means the Jewel of India is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Instituted on January 2, 1954, the award is conferred to the individuals in credit of outstanding service/performance of the highest order, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. For every original statutes for the award, only the fields of art, literature, science along with public services were made eligible, previously. However, in December 2011, the Government of Indiabroadened the criteria to include any field of human endeavour. It was only after this amendment, Sachin Tendulkar, the veteran cricketer on India, was conferred with Bharat Ratna, recently. Recommendations to award the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President, and a maximum of three people may be awarded in a year.
With NDA government in the centre and TDP (constituent of NDA) government in Seemandhra (Andhra Pradesh), it becomes very easy to get Bharat Ratna for NTR, the late Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. This has been a long pending demand. For sure, all is made ease for the conferment of Bharat Ratna on Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao. Nevertheless, the conferment would be for his services to the nation as a politician or for his contribution to Indian cinema has been a question of concern. There is no doubt that NTR deserves the highest honour in either way.
Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao more aptly known as NTR was born on May 28, 1923 at Nimmakuru in Krishna District. He was popular among the masses as N. T. Rama Rao and also by his initials NTR. He was a popular Tollywood hero of his times who later turned a politician. He served as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for three terms. As an actor, he received three National Film Awards for co-producing Thodu Dongalu (1954) and Seetharama Kalyanam (1960) under National Art Theater, Madras, and directing Varakatnam (1970). Also, he garnered the Inaugural Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu in 1954.
NTR made his debut into Telugu Films with the 1949 Telugu social film, Mana Desam directed by L. V. Prasad. He gained popularity in the 1950s when he became well known for his portrayals of Hindu deities, especially Krishna and Rama, roles which have made him a “messiah of the masses”. NTR has made his appearance in a total of 274 Telugu movies, 15 Tamil movies and 3 Hindi movies. NTR was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1968, recognizing his contribution to Indian cinema.
After his career in films, NTR entered politics. He founded the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982 and served three turbulent terms as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh between 1983 and 1995. He was known as an advocate of Andhra Pradesh’s distinct cultural identity, distinguishing it from the erstwhile Madras State with which it was often associated. At the national level, he was instrumental in the formation of the National Front, a coalition of non-Congress parties which governed India from 1989 until 1990. He breathed his last on January 18, 1995.
On the eve of 91st Birth anniversary of NTR, many people came before the cameras of the media and universally demanded for the only thing -Bharat Ratna for NTR. Let’s hope the supreme leader of Telugu community would receive the honour, at least posthumously!!