What's the story?
KD Jadhav, who is India's first individual Olympic gold medalist after independence, has for long been the subject of ignorance when it comes to recognition by the authorities. His son Ranjit, who has long been fighting for a Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honour, for his father was left fuming after Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni was nominated for the Padma Bhushan.
"Cricket and its popularity means that the players are treated like kings in India. But that does not mean we should ignore other sports that lag behind," said Ranjit. He also lamented that his father's achievement has never been given its fair due, especially since it came at time when India had never even won an individual Olympic medal.
However, he added, "It is good that Dhoni, who has achieved so much, is being honoured. But what about my father, who fought so many odds as well?"
There have been reports of Jadhav being nominated for the prestigious Padma Shri award, India's fourth highest civilian honour, but it is unlikely that it will suffice for Ranjit.
In case you didn't know
Jadhav is considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers India has ever produced and received the Arjuna Award in 2000 posthumously. The Satara-born athlete was the second person to win a medal for India at the Olympics after Norman Pritchard and the first after independence, with his bronze medal at the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland.
The heart of the matter
Jadhav's family had been struggling for a long time and trying to get some recognition from the government. They had also been trying to raise funds to build an academy in Jadhav's name but have not been successful to this day.
However, the wrestling venue for the 2010 Commonwealth Games was named after him. With regard to the academy, Ranjit Jadhav, KD's son had even threatened to auction off the Olympic medal in order to raise funds.
Other nominees for the Padma Bhushan are Pankaj Advani (snooker) and Sushil Kumar (Wrestling). Joining KD Jadhav in the Padma Shri nominees are Achanta Sharath Kamal (table tennis), wrestling coach Kripa Shankar Bishnoi and Manoj Kumar (boxer).
We hope that Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav can get the recognition that he rightly deserves and that his achievements are celebrated all over the nation.