We all know what an award is don’t we?
An award is something given to a person, a group of people, or an organization to recognize their excellence in a certain field; a certificate of excellence so to speak.
An award is to be cherished – unless its the Razzies for awful movies or the Darwin Awards “given to people who seem to improve the human gene pool by accidentally killing or sterilizing themselves during a foolish or careless mistake”.
Its an honour after all.
At least in theory.
Some awards, for example, have lost all value due to being rewarded to completely undeserving candidates.
The prime example of that is the Nobel Peace prize.
Do you know what that award is for?
According to Alfred Nobel, the award is to be given to someone who has “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.
So, in their infinite wisdom, the committee did not award it to the man who epitomised peace – Mahatma Gandhi (not that he ever needed or wanted it).
Instead, again in their infinite wisdom, they have, over the years awarded it to that noted pacifist Henry Kissinger and the terrorist Yasser Arafat (the Osama bin Laden of that decade)
And before some secular person attacks me for calling him a terrorist, remember that this man secretly amassed a personal wealth estimated to be USD $1.3 billion by 2002 despite the degrading economic conditions of the Palestinians and it was his group which carried out the Munich Olympics massacre and the Coastal Road massacre.
And of course, who can forget the awarding of the..er… award to Mr. Obama, for doing the grand total of fuck all.
But easily the most undeserved award has to be to Al Gore, who got it instead of Irena Sendler.
If there is one historical person that you learn about this month, let it be this lady.
There is no prize on the planet which can adequately establish humanity’s gratitude and debt to people like Irena Sendler. She did not do what she did for money or awards or fame or because someone ordered her to do it; she did it because that is what great human beings do; they define humanity.
It would not have mattered a great deal to her had she never been nominated, being the sort of lady she is, she couldn’t care less. However, once nominated, there is no justification for giving it to anyone else.
And so they gave it to a politician for making a film.
Anyone who still believes in the sanctity of that award needs their head examined.
We, in India, have our own version of the Nobel Peace Awards, as far as giving it to undeserving candidates goes; its called the Bharat Ratna.
This is the list
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1954) C. Rajagopalachari (1954) C. V. Raman (1954) Bhagwan Das (1955) Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya (1955) Jawaharlal Nehru (1955) Govind Ballabh Pant (1957) Dhondo Keshav Karve (1958) Bidhan Chandra Roy (1961) Purushottam Das Tandon (1961) Dr. Rajendra Prasad (1962) Dr. Zakir Hussain (1963) Pandurang Vaman Kane (1963) Lal Bahadur Shastri (1966) Indira Gandhi (1971) V. V. Giri (1975) K. Kamaraj (1976) Mother Teresa (1980) Acharya Vinoba Bhave (1983) Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987) M. G. Ramachandran (1988) B. R. Ambedkar (1990) Nelson Mandela (1990) Rajiv Gandhi (1991) Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1991) Morarji Desai (1991) Abul Kalam Azad (1992) J. R. D. Tata (1992) Satyajit Ray (1992) A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (1997) Gulzarilal Nanda (1997) Aruna Asaf Ali (1997) M. S. Subbulakshmi (1998) Chidambaram Subramaniam (1998) Jayaprakash Narayan (1998) Ravi Shankar (1999) Amartya Sen (1999) Gopinath Bordoloi (1999) Lata Mangeshkar (2001) Bismillah Khan (2001) Bhimsen Joshi (2008) C. N. R. Rao (2013) Sachin Tendulkar (2013) Atal Bihari Vajpayee (2014) Madan Mohan Malaviya (2014).
A list of great Indians – mainly politicians – and Rajiv Gandhi. This is not a dig at Rajiv Gandhi the man, but Rajiv Gandhi the politician.
Indira Gandhi in 1971 is another one which makes no sense. Had she won it in 1981, it would have been a different matter, what with the Bangladesh war and all that.
Mr. Atap Behari Vajpayee is a political awardee as well.
You just know that 20-30 years down the line, both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are getting it.
Hell even Robert Vadra is a Bharat Ratna as far as the Indian Antinational Congress is concerned.
And if the awards are being given to Rajiv Gandhi and Vajpayee, then there is absolutely no way they should be given to the likes of Neheru or Netaji or most importantly Sardar Patel.
Not because they don’t deserve it -hell no – but because they are above it; basically the same reason Gandhiji can never be given the Bharat Ratna – these are people who gave birth to the nation. Giving them the Bharat Ratna is akin to giving Einstein the Einstein Awards for Physics or Walt Disney the Disney Awards for Excellence in Animations.
Without Sardar Patel, there would not have been a Bharat, its as simple as that.
As for Nelson Mandela, my only issue here is if him, then why not the Dalai Lama?
Then there is the Arjuna Awards. By my reckoning there are about 6 million awardees currently in the world, give or take a million.
It has become as redundant and pointless as a participation award.
Anyone who is even vaguely related to sports gets an award somewhere or the other.
So imagine the disappointment and the sense of disillusionment of the average population when 2 of India’s biggest and more famous sportsperson start clamoring/petitioning/complaining about an award.
Saina Nehwal is India’s greatest badminton player to date. She has won numerous titles, is undoubtedly one of the top players in the world, has numerous lucrative sponsorship deals and is as famous as its possible for a non cricketer to be. Being fair skinned and good looking (in India, if you are a dark skinned sportsperson, you are fucked, no matter how good you are), she gets lots of advertisements and appearances also. In short, she is someone who has it all.
Then why exactly did she need to cheapen it all by complaining about the Padma Bhushan?
Her claims that she did not demand it does now hold a candle. Had the proposed awardee been some completely random sportsperson or Ishant Sharma and then had she complained, it could have been justified.
But when the proposed person is Sushil Kumar – a 2 time Olympic medalist, an Asian games and CWG Gold medalist and a World Champion, then complaining about the award on a technicality leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
She would have won the award on her own anyway in a year or two. Right now, even if the government decides to give it to her, it will forever be tainted. Its an irreparable damage to her reputation.
Vijender Kumar has also jumped on the bandwagon asking for the award. But nobody is taking him too seriously, probably due to his alleged predilection of hanging out with drug peddlers.
This kind of lobbying is unwarranted and completely undermines and reduces the prestige of the award. And if lobbying is the only way, then I hereby start lobbying for a government award – anyone would do, even one acknowledging the glorious beauty of my ass.
That being said, there is one kind of lobbying which works and is desirable – when its apolitical.
The Flying Sikh Milkha Singh recently commented on the imbecility of all Indian governments throughout the ages for not conferring the Bharat Ratna on Dhyanchand.
There could have been an excuse earlier that the award is not given to sportspeople, but after conferring it to Sachin Tendulkar, even that excuse does not cut the mustard. [As an aside, if Tendulkar deserves it – and of course he does, no doubt about it – then so does Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Dada, Vishwanathan Anand and Leander Paes. And if Sushil Kumar manages to get another Olympics medal next year, he should get the award automatically]
There are no ifs, buts, what ifs, maybes, why nots, if any Indian deserves it, its Dhyanchand – so stop fannying around and just give it to him already.