While many of us are cognizant of billiards champion Pankaj Advani's achievements, I am not entirely sure that the Indian government is. On the Sports Minister's congratulatory tweet upon his national title victory in Pune, Pankaj vented out his disappointment as he replied, "Thank you sir. Just feel after 16 world titles and two Asian Games golds if I'm ignored for a Padma Bhushan, don't know what more I need to do."
I totally agree with Pankaj. The entire sports fraternity should be gutted by this preposterous overlooking of this champion. If Pankaj Advani were British, he would have been knighted by the Queen by now.
While winning is synonymous with Pankaj (as our Sports Minister Vijay Goel mentioned), unfairness is synonymous with the government. Everyone goes gaga about how India dominates cricket which the British invented but no one says much about Pankaj's domination of "English billiards". Not just billiards, he is an accomplished professional snooker player too and was the first Indian to break into the world snooker scene, leading the way for others to follow his footsteps. He is the face of the game. You need to travel to the UK to know the enormous following of indoor sports like billiards and snooker.
Those going on about him "begging" for it, should know that he has "earned" it.
Billiards is a pretty hard game to play and he makes it look like a breeze. The territory of billiards and snooker is marked with loneliness—it's where skills and approach take priority over aggression. These games are tests of the prowess of the mind which is why it takes brilliance to master the art of playing it and a certain amount of intelligence to appreciate it. Perhaps that's where our government has faltered. And if you don't know who Pankaj Advani is then you too join the list I am afraid. And those going on about him "begging" for it, should know that he has "earned" it.
So please give him a break (pun intended) and of course the Padma Bhushan!