Every year around November, there is hectic activity in the homes of certain people who are members of the altruistically named 'Awards Committee'. Now members of this committe who range from the illiterate to the extremely savvy have a job to do - award some of their friends some National Honours. So, a few years ago, when the BhaJaPa was in power, a person, we will refer to here as 'God' won the Padma Bhushan (Irony : Note the site where I lined to), which was quite strange given that journalists don't usually win such awards, I mean journalists don't usually win such awards now that the socialist tendencies of the 50's-80's are over. In those days, entire colonies in South Delhi were given over to journalists at massively subsidised rates. Ah, the good ol' days. But, of course, there were people who couldn't distinguish between 'God' and then the then Deputy PM, only that the DPM was a lot taller. Of course, even though the dispensation at the centre has changed, 'God' has proven to be a 'flip-flopper' beyond John Kerry-esque dimensions, and now spreads the word of Mrs G v2.0 with vigour.
But this post is not about 'God' (who still strangely enough doesn't have a Wikipedia entry - even though a search for his name led me to this, which if ever populated fully might be the longest entry in Wikipedia), its about the Padma Awards this year, which again are full of surprises.
The Padma Awards stink of politics and yet successive governments have nothing to change the system. India for example won't do what Australia does (who gave Nicole Kidman their highest Civilian Honour), we haven't given Amitabh Bachchan a Bharat Ratna - and with the current government which hounds him for money on his 'potential' death-bed, chances are slim. Lets be honest, he is the biggest thing India has got, if you travel in the Middle East, North or West Africa and announce yourself to be Indian, they all know the man. Nobody of course knows who our Prime Minister is, which might be a good thing, because he himself has no idea of whats going on - heck, the Central Government's Remote Control operation makes Bal Thackeray's RC controlled Maharastra Government of the 90's look amatuerish
This time round Sucheta Dalal and Mrinal Pande are journalists who won Padma awards. I have no issues with either of these people, but I just have this small burning issue, if the government awards you something, can you really call them a bunch of 'dunderheads' in your next article/column/TV show - which of course neither of these people would (I'll reserve other comments for later). The debate is much like accepting a junket (OK, maybe the analogy is a bit much). But honestly, they're Padma Shri awards, and giving those to journalists might be OK, its not like the Padma Bhusan that 'God' managed to wrangle for himself. But my probelm this year is not with the journalists but some other people in the list, I mean see the list its mind-boggling where the awards land up.
A person I know, who sat on the 'Committee' a few years ago, unfortunately he sat on the 'Committee' which awarded 'God' (who also wanted an award for his 'man' - the publisher and 'editor' of the publication he works for but the 'Committee' weren't ready to give him a PB and only wanted to give him a PS, but 'God' would then be a quandry, winning a bigger award than his 'boss', so that got scrapped and subsequent events concerning God's #2, a pretty lady journalist and half the Indian Cabinet were to derail the sequence of events next year - EDIT - God's boss already had a PS but he wanted more either a PB or a RS seat, thankfully he got none). This person told me that that they got 25,000 applications for the Awards every year, I read a few of the applictions, people writing in letters demanding that they be awarded the Bharat Ratna for developing among other things 'A clinically tested cure for Cancer' (hah!) and running Delhi's largest chain of weight loss clinics, and generally looking gaudish. And talking about gaudish Shahnaz Hussain won the award this year in the 'Trade and Industry' category. That alone proves my entire diatribe. 'Nuff said!
EDIT : I think we should do something like this in India. The 101 Stupidest moments in business.