No Padma Shri award for India’s first individual Olympic medallist

Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav wrestled his way to the bronze medal in the freestyle (bantamweight, 57kg) category at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Khashaba Jadhav’s first feel of the big stage was at the 1948 London Olympics.   -  K. N. CHARI

Ranjit Jadhav, son of wrestling great Khashaba Jadhav, on Wednesday, sought the country’s highest civilian honour ‘Bharat Ratna’ for his late father.

Khashaba, the first Indian to win an individual medal at the Olympics (1952, Helsinki), did not even get a Padma award, Ranjit said, noting that likes of TV producer Ekta Kapoor have got these awards. Khashaba died in 1984.

“For the past 19 years, I have been trying my best to ensure that my father gets Bharat Ratna, or at least a Padma award, posthumously. My father died in 1984 and after 17 years was awarded the Arjuna award,” he said.

 

“My father won an Olympics medal in 1952. If you look at the list of award winners from 1954 to 1984, several sportspersons got Padma Shri, some even got Padma Bhushan, while few got all three (including Padma Vibhushan). However, there was no Olympian among them barring hockey wizard Major Dhyanchand and few other hockey players,” claimed Ranjit.

“After the 1952 Olympics, India had to wait for 44 years to get an individual medal in the Olympics. This underlines the greatness of my father,” he said.

“Ekta Kapoor was given Padma Shri this year. What was the social significance of giving the award to her?” he asked.