Am so glad that many writers, eminent personalities and film directors are returning the various awards that have been conferred on them. I wish there was a way for those who are dead and gone also to return their awards… that would give us a clean slate.
If I ask anyone about the leader that they look upto from history, chances are many would say Alexander the Great. I would too. I really look upto Alexander the Great – what a leader, a 23 year old lad with 25000 soldiers licking a Persian army that was 100,000 strong. There must be something in him. There was something in him, no doubt, for he has outlived so many leaders that came after him and for nearly 2400 years !! About 300 odd years after Alexander the Great came a simple shepherd called Jesus … who could heal, raise people from the dead and while we call him God’s son, we nailed him to a cross and later kill fellow human beings in his name. We don’t recall him during our leadership meetings because its not fashionable or rational to do so.
If Jesus and Alexander lived right now, Jesus probably would be a distant second choice for the Nobel peace prize, and Alexander would be a forerunner …. You don’t believe me ? President Obama won the Nobel peace prize in 2009 and Syria happens to be the 7th country that has been bombed by the US forces since then. He was given the Peace prize in the “hope” that he will work towards bringing peace … well, peace doesn’t come when you “enforce” your world view through your military might. Has anyone heard of “Peace Pilgrim” ? She brought the message of peace and walked all over the US spreading that message but won no Nobel peace prize and won’t ever win it because she was genuinely peaceful and peace loving, like Jesus was. What an irrational woman, right?
So ideally President Obama should return his Nobel peace prize because he has failed to live upto the “hope”. I like him, mind you, he is a great President and probably history will view his contributions well, but peace prize ? Nope, don’t see how that prize really does anything for peace.
Now lets look at another category – the Nobel prize for literature. In 1962, John Steinbeck got it and guess what, archives unearthed allege that he was a “compromise” choice. Again, should he simply return the award ? He is a great writer and I love all his books but I don’t give the Nobel prize for literature and if they felt he was a “compromise” choice, why couldn’t they just not award anybody ? Ah, the farce of awards. All of them are irrational.
Want me to come closer home …. Saif Ali Khan is a Padma Shri award winner. I am still wondering what exactly is his contribution except being a good actor, but there are greater actors in comparison and many of them allegedly didn’t kill a black buck nor slapped a fellow diner in a restaurant !! Do you know that Pravinchandra Varjivan Gandhi is a Padma Bhushan award winner and he is no relation to the “real” Gandhi nor the “unreal” Gandhi. Also Fenner Brockway is a Padma Bhushan award winner, and he should probably have gone onto winning the Nobel Peace prize, for he seems to be truly a peace loving man. You don’t know about him ? I didn’t too. Go find out. I won’t go to the Bharat Ratna awards because I will have a whole powerful political party on my case if I did, but can the self nominated awardees please return those too ? Yeah, two awardees I know were self nominated – hey, they genuinely felt they were “ratnas” of India and dad set the example for the daughter to follow. True “ratna” daughter.. you rational fool, do you have a daughter like that?
Hmmm the whole “awards” business is irrational. So my suggestion is to scrap the whole thing. If your contribution matters to the world, you will be remembered and that is your award and reward. If you didn’t contribute but managed to get an award, well, you still won’t be remembered except for the wrong reasons. Sorry but I have to give yet another example – Who do you think is a better human being ? Hitler or Churchill ? Ofcourse Churchill, I must be an imbecile to even draw up that comparison. All that Churchill did was send just 3 million brown skinned worthless Indians to an early grave by taking away their food to feed the glorious British forces that were stopping Hitler during World War 2. Six million jews were killed in the holocaust by the Nazis.. unforgivable and never to be repeated. But Sir Churchill is a great human being, because the war was won by the allied forces. 3 million people died.. collateral damage, Sir Churchill ? And yeah, he did win the Nobel prize for literature in 1953… some saving grace that it wasn’t the peace prize. Now shouldn’t Sir Churchill return his award, miffed that he wasn’t awarded the peace prize? And we live in a rational world and you still think these awards are rational ?
Just as the “R&R – Reward and Recognition” programs in the corporate world need to be scrapped because they are hollow and just about everyone gets an award, all these awards and award ceremonies should be stopped and the money used to do some good work. All the money that goes into the Nobel peace prize can feed millions and bring true peace around the world.. similarly all the money that goes into the various national awards in India should be diverted to create some social security for the needy.
Even better, pamper everyone’s egos and pander to popular mandates by keeping the awards as they are, just remove the money attached to them. Use the award monies from across the world to make the world hunger free – now, whoever does that deserves the Nobel peace prize. And everyone else, just return all the awards you got or hope to get – we live in an irrational, intolerant world and your contribution in making it so is fully acknowledged.