Celebrating Mediocrity - G Plus

Sunday, 01 November 2020



Celebrating Mediocrity

Sidharth Bedi Varma | January 25, 2019 10:35 hrs

It is often said that we as people enjoy celebrating mediocrity, and of all the states, I couldn’t emphasize more that Assam emerges as the star here.


“Celebrating Mediocrity” here is a reference to the fact that many people, who are unworthy of recognition and haven’t really contributed to their respective fields, have been recognized, and Assam continues to celebrate that with pomp.


This is in context of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, being awarded the first ever Philip Kotler Presidential Award by an organization named World Marketing Summit (WMS).


A lot of people have raised questions on the credibility of this award and rightly so. A fact that needs attention is that the award was labeled “a very confidential award.” Not much clarification was issued about the jury panel and the process of selection. Might I also add that a single nomination cost about Rs 1 Lakh.


Another question that comes to mind - if there was a real purpose of giving an award to the Prime Minister of a country? There was no previous recipient of this award. This award was instituted for the very first time for India’s knight in shining armor, Narendra Modi. The WMS has previously given awards to recognize achievements in advertising and marketing – so did Modi successfully market himself? Which begs the question – should the Prime Minister really accept an award like this?


Let’s be clear, the position and chair of the Prime Minister is one of the highest in the world. It clearly needs no certificate or recognition, especially from a non-entity such as the WMS.  The position of Prime Ministers and Presidents are supposed to recognize and reward excellence – these include bravery, gallantry and civilian awards such as the Padma Shri. So is Modi looking for recognition for himself – by an organization which has not even been heard of?


Now here is another perspective – more than people focusing on what award was given to the PM, people started talking about the Philip Kotler Award. Let’s face it: Narendra Modi’s chair and his 56 inch chest are clearly bigger brands than the WMS. Organizations like these would mint the opportunity to leverage the position of the Prime Minister of one of the biggest democracies in the world! What is the outcome of this process? The PM was kind enough to acknowledge the award with a photo-op on his Twitter feed.


Honestly, this was a bigger branding exercise for the WMS who took away all the “chatter” with this one award. I was extremely intrigued by the report done on The Wire on this entire award and how each partner in the event seemed to be achieving a bigger agenda by associating with the event. 


Setting the context in Assam - there are similar initiatives taken here where a lot of “xongothons” institute such awards and bestow it upon people who have achieved something at the national or international level – but ironically do not hold much credibility as an organization themselves. These awards are more of a PR opportunity for the organizers rather than the awardees.  The purpose of an award is to reward and recognize an achievement, but here the process gets reversed.


Until very recently, an organization, not really known in the region, made its way to Guwahati. They held an event at a hotel and gave away an award to every business establishment. I’ll break it down further – about 4 or 5 people were given the award of “Best Real Estate Builder.”Now how do you gauge who the best is? I also ask why there is no transparency in the process. No public opinion, no survey, no jury? Just awards … I reaffirm my statement that these organizations actually institute such independent and opaque awards to only propagate their own interests and ride on the achievements of others. At this point, I can only say that achievers should stop accepting these awards – because it is not they who are getting the recognition but the organizers. And in this process, some of these awards are given to undeserving people, and the ones that do deserve, are left out.


Guwahati is rampant with such fictitious organizations creating award shows as a business – with no transparency and credibility – young adults running around media brands to propagate their event. I would not withhold the fact that there are organizations that offered, “aapko ek award de de?” to which I think – “Bhaisaab, award show hai, langar nahi!”


More than often, these award shows are also hijacked by the same set of people. A filmmaker from Assam was honored with the Northeast Excellence Awards by an organization that aims to promote business and investment opportunities in the northeast. The filmmaker, in her own right, is worthy of laurels. But why is it done by an organization that does not even function in the same space?


When a commerce/industry based organization is honoring a person for her work in films, bestowing an award is clearly a PR move. The media would cover it because the said filmmaker has grabbed the media’s attention over the past few months.


So my point is: these baseless awards have damaged the credibility, sanctity and gravity of an awards ceremony. Leaving room for questions in a process only shows the fishy business there. Here’s hoping we stop celebrating mediocrity.

Comments (0) Post Comment