Former Indian President and the eponymous 'man of all seasons', Pranab Mukherjee passed away on August 31 at the age of 84 following the 21-day battle with multiple ailments.
In an illustrious career that spanned nearly five decades, Mukherjee has seen it all and was known for his encyclopaedic memory and insights into varied issues. In August 2019, Mukherjee was conferred the Bharat Ratna award to commemorate his contribution to Indian politics and public service.
But since the news of his death went viral, many on the internet have been searching why Mukherjee got the Bharat Ratna.
Searches for the term 'Bharat Ratna' spiked on August 31, as can be seen on Google Trends. Among the states that looked up the term, Himachal Pradesh topped the list with Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura close on the heels.
And one of the related queries was, "Pranab Mukherjee ko Bharat Ratna kyun mila?" (Why did Pranab Mukherjee get the Bharat Ratna?)
Searching 'Why Pranab Mukherjee got Bharat Ratna?' revealed a number of related searches including 'Pranab Mukherjee achievements', indicating people's interest in what he had done to achieve the prestigious honour.
The question is not new and one that has been asked several times on Quora since last year when Mukherjee was given the award.
In fact, people have been debating the question long before Mukherjee even got the award.
While some said that the former President deserved the civilian honour for his remarkable impartiality as a public figure despite being a Congress loyalist.
When Mukherjee was given the award, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lauded it as fitting recognition for Mukherjee's service to the nation. "Thank you for leaving no stone unturned towards making India more developed," the PM had tweeted.
It is often said that Mukherjee harboured the dream to become a Prime Minister, but as President of India Mukherjee has ruled over some significant decisions such as the rejection of nearly 30 mercy pleas during his five-year tenure. A seasoned statesman and politician, Mukherjee had friends in every corner and commanded respect across factions.
Though he was first given entry into the Rajya Sabha by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Mukherjee went on to make his own mark by handling several portfolios including finance, external affairs and defence. As the Finance Minister, he had been responsible for hiring Dr Manmohan Singh as Governor of RBI.
He also shared a good relationship within international circles and was known for his close personal ties with Bangladesh's Sheilh Haseena.