Pooja Poddar Marwah

The Great Indian Award

India truly is a land of achievers. In every sphere, we have someone willing to dish out fancy plaques as awards to us. There was a time when we waited, with bated breath literally; for the Filmfare award for the Bollywood fraternity, which was and still has a cult like phenomena around it. But the significance of the award diminished as the frequency of the “Bolly” award increased. Every other month there was some or the other award show and eventually, we got tired of seeing the same thing over and over!

Then came the world of social media wherein everyone is an influencer; everyone is the best in what they do. It’s a world where there is a race to one-upmanship over another. One has a 100K followers so another wants 150K. One has 50K likes on their content and the other pines for 60K!

Not only did this put an insane amount of pressure on people but also gave birth to numerous award categories by interminable organisations. You can be famous for pretty much anything – remember Stephanie Matto, the 31 year old girl who sold her farts in a glass jar?

Does credibility matter?

Not by a long run.

Does the fact that you had to pay for it count?

Not really, it is still an award.

What makes people scramble and pay huge sums of money for public credibility? Why is there so much hunger for falsified fame? Do the congratulatory calls even feel real?

Or am I just too old school and righteous?

As an author, I too have been asked a number of times to sign up for an award. I was guaranteed a certain rise in followers, assured a lot of publicity in national dailies and even been sanctioned for gifts and glamour! But then what? In my heart if I know I paid for it, it simply won’t be the same. The fun of the game is always in the chase. Easy is just not worth it for it is too superfluous in its appeal. Glory and fame matter if they are earned, akin to respect. The work should speak, not the number of certificates or medals on the wall for in today’s world, if I walk into a room with accolades hung, its authenticity does cross the mind, even though they all may be legit!

In a similar context, if I were to give the example of an online examination. I did have my child wail at the prospect of having to study and earn the marks as opposed to friends who had their notes and books scrawled on the table. Sure, it looks exciting, for you can get a 99% and the Merit certificate, but what did you allow the child to feel? By hook or by crook, the marks matter. End Of Discussion.

Are we not instilling a grossly wrong image, most specially for the younger generation? Are we perhaps headed towards a digital dystopian society? With everything around losing its credibility, am I perhaps sailing in a lone boat? To a writer, it is the Jnanpith award that entices, to a sportsman, it is the Khel Ratna. But if along the way, we choose to shower ourselves with pretentious notability and stardom, how satisfying will receiving the highest pinnacles of honour really be?

India’s not only got talent but India is talented in awarding itself. We talk of taking the harder right instead of the easier wrong and yet, as adults.. slip a little each day!

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