By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: As Maharashtra and India rejoice at the second Maharashtrian getting India’s highest civilian honour, Asia’s Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar who was accorded the Bharat Ratna in 2001 couldn’t contain her joy and excitement.
Said Lata, “I’ve been saying Sachin deserves the Bharat Ratna for three years now. The Indian government couldn’t have chosen a more opportune moment to award the Bharat Ratna to Sachin. Right now the public’s emotions and sentiments for Sachin are at the highest ebb. On Friday, Sachin walked out of the field for the last time. The nation wept to see him go. Believe me, I’ve never seen anything like this before. The emotional farewell for Sachin has now been endorsed by the Bharat Ratna. I am very happy he received it now when he is so young and has so many years ahead to enjoy the honour.”
The retirement at 40 rankles Lata. “I still say, Sachin had a few years of very good cricket within him. And I am sure everyone agrees with me. The crowds at the Wankhede stadium were cheering for Sachin as though they wanted him to go on playing. When after his farewell match someone asked me how long Sachin could have gone on playing I said he should’ve played for another year. But now I feel he could have played for two more years at least.”