An anti-establishment and a firebrand voice as she has always been, Jwala Gutta once again unleashed her tirade, this time against the selections process for the Padma Awards.
Jwala, a bronze medallist in the mixed doubles World Championships, made no bones about her dissatisfaction over the manner in which sportspersons are selected every year for the Padma awards. She was disheartened with the fact that she was overlooked for the Padma Shri, for which she had been applying for the last three years.
“Of course, I feel let down. That’s what I am feeling right now. For some reason whatever I do, whatever I achieve, it’s not enough. There is always a question mark on what I have done. If someone wants to know what I have done, he or she should check it out,” Jwala told India Today.
“I don’t know the criteria. I see Olympic medallists getting Padma Awards and there are some who are not Olympic medallists also get the Padma Award. So what is the criteria?
“I won’t comment on who deserves the award or who doesn’t but surely, I think I also deserve it. I was very patient about it. If people talk about my performance in the last two years, then I should have got it five years ago when I had won the World Championship medal because we have a badminton player who got the Padma award for the very same medal that I also won. In that case, I think I am five years late,” reckons Jwala, who also has a Commonwealth Games gold medal that she won in 2010.
Jwala, however, made it clear that she doesn’t have anything against any sportsperson who has got the award in the past or this year.
“As for sportsperson, I think everyone works hard, and Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar definitely deserves it as well. No award defines me because I am what I am but still it is a feel good thing. I have been in the Indian team for the last 16 years and I have been a top doubles player. If my achievements are not acknowledged, then I am not demanding anything.
“They (Government) should remove the system of applying for an award. They should just give the award.”
Eight sportspersons – Virat Kohli (Cricket), Sakshi Malik (Wrestling), Dipa Karmakar (Gymnastics), Deepa Malik (Para), Mariyappan Thengavelu (Para), Vikas Gowda (Athletics), PR Sreejesh (Hockey) and Shekhar Naik (Blind Cricket) – were announced as the recipients for this year’s Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award.