Netizens demand Bharat Ratna for 'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh; Sports Ministry responds
Milkha Singh's passing away has left a huge void in Indian sports. Being one of the most celebrated sporspersons of the country, Milkha Singh brought several laurels to India in track and field events and was one of the first superstar athletes in the post-independence era.
Milkha Singh died due to Covid complications, at the age of 91, in Chandigarh after losing his life partner Nirmal only a few days back, on June 13. Since his death, there have been reactions pouring in from all corners with PM Modi, President and vice-president of India and many other famous sports personalities paying their rich tribute to the legend.
Following his demise, netizens have also come together and are demanding Bharat Ratna for Milkha Singh. For the unversed, Milkha -- also known as 'The Flying Sikh' -- was bestowed with the Padma Shri award in 1959 and honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2001. The Bharat Ratna award is the highest civilian award in the country. To date, Sachin Tendulkar remains the only sportsperson to have received the Bharat Ratna award.
Here are some of the reactions as netizens are demanding Bharat Ratna for 'The Flying Sikh':
Sports minister Kiren Rijiju took to his official Twitter handle to pay tribute to Milkha Singh and revealed that he is leaving for Chandigarh to attend the funeral of the former sprinter. He wrote, "I'm leaving for Chandigarh to attend the funeral of #MilkhaSingh Ji. I'm carry the message of Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji for the family and pay my tribute to the pride of India, the legendary #FlyingSikh"
He said, "Milkha Singh is an icon for every generation. The courage he showed in life is a lesson for everyone. He’s above all these awards. We can’t compare him to any awards."
Speaking of Milkha Singh's achievements, the former athlete was a four-time Asian Games gold medallist and also a champion in the 1958 Commonwealth Games. While he missed out on a podium finish in the 1960 Rome Olympics, he made heads turn by ending fourth in the 400m final with a timing of 45.6 sec, which was a national record for 38 years.
Milkha is survived by his three daughters and a son, Jeev Milkha Singh -- a golfer. Milkha and his wife Nirmal had also adopted a 7-year-old son of Havildar Bikram Singh, after the latter's demise in the Battle of Tiger Hill in 1999.