November 2, 2005

Cheapening the Awards Ceremony

Coalition Means Identifying More People, Says Chief Minister(yeah, right)

Bangalore: Two deletions, one last-minute addition, notable absentees and a list that grew like Hanuman’s tail: Blame it all on coalition politics, but the Rajyothsava award ceremony turned into a Diwali dhamaka on Tuesday.
The length of the awardees’ list jumped from 127 on Saturday to a record-equalling 175: The only other time Karnataka had seen such largesse of awards was in 1992, when former chief minister S Bangarappa gave it away to everyone, from the man who put up shamianas for political rallies to the nadaswara player who welcomed him at the venue.
Present CM, N Dharam Singh had his defence ready: “Journalists may raise their brows and ask questions on why the list is long. But it should be so. This is the 50th anniversary of Karnataka’s formation, a record year, naturally, the list should be a record one.’’
The additional names on the list include Guinness record holder young IT entrepreneur Suhas Gopinath, Kannada film comedian Tennis Krishna, doctor Sudarshan Ballal of Manipal Hospital, Horanadu temple dharmadhikari Bheemeshwara Joshi and activist Ruth Manorama of Women’s Voice.
It also includes, among others, three journalists from Bidar-Gulbarga, a tailor N V Bankapur of Gadag — whose claim to fame is that he unfurled the national flag when former PM Jawaharlal Nehru visited Hubli — and several others whose names were just announced without a biodata.
One name — M V Prasad (sports) — which came on the recommendation of JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda, was added minutes before the awards ceremony. The names of S N Chandrashekar and Shivaram Moga were withdrawn from the first list as they have already been awarded in 1986 and 1992 respectively.
Innumerable awardees were absent as their names were included at the last minute. But some of those whose names were on the first list, like retired bureaucrat Chiranjiv Singh and litterateurs Vyasaraya Ballal and Krishnamurthy Hanur, were absent.
Singh breezily turned aside the absence of most members of the Rajyothsava awards committee and put the full onus of the endless list on the highly embarrassed deputy CM M P Prakash: What really is the need for a committee? We are also aware of who is eligible. We are in a coalition government and this is the situation. Our deputy CM is a litterateur, he has drawn the list.
Clarifying the situation further, Singh said: I have not given in to pressure or put in my own people on the list. Every one of them deserves to be there. We have drawn up such a long list because that is the public opinion. From now on, the lists will be longer.
Acknowledging the limited seating in the awards venue Ravindra Kalakshetra, due to which family members and wellwishers of the overflowing awardees had to watch the event on CCTVs outside the hall, Singh said: “From the next time, we will hold the event on the steps of Vidhana Soudha. I planned to do it this time itself, but impending rain prevented it.

Please don’t devalue the award
Question of the week What should be the upper limit for the number of Rajyothsava Awards? What should be the criteria for selection?
i) 100 — fewer the awards, better will be the quality of the awardees; b) For outstanding service rendered in the field of literature, the arts, social service, sports, etc. and for bringing a good name to Karnataka. Karthik Darshan, J P Nagar, Bangalore i) 25; ii) Nothing else but outstanding achievement in their disciplines. These days, awards are being distributed as if they are free pamphlets given away by the roadside. Quantity, rather than quality, seems to be getting the upper hand. Usha G Rao, BSK II Stage, Bangalore i) 100; ii) Talent, not proximity to politicians, must be the criterion. It must be given to those who have brought glory to Karnataka by excelling in their chosen field. Vidya V, Jeevanbimanagar, Bangalore
The person’s contribution for the state’s development and welfare of the people should be the criteria and free of political consideration.Chandrashekar Naik, HAL II Stage, Bangalore i) 50; ii) Setting an upper limit becomes biased, unscientific and meaningless. The number can increase or decrease depending on the potential winners. The important thing is that it should reach the deserving people; ii) The government should appoint a non-political body consisting of 10 experts — five from the state and five from other states. The chief secretary should conduct meetings and complete the formalities. Jagadish Kalmath, Yelahanka
i) 15; ii) Value-based rather than political considerations. The personalities should have outstanding contributions and set an example for others. The winner should be known for her work when she is given the award, rather than being known for being given the award. Ananda Angomcha, Siddapura, Bangalore i) 5; ii) The selection should be made by a committee consisting of non-political, honest and eminent persons of proven integrity. If no one is eligible, the awards need not be given. H G Narayanamurthy, recd via e-mail i) 100; ii) People who have excelled in their fields and their contribution should have a constructive and healthy impact on society or worth emulating. Above all, keep politics and caste out of the selection process. Inamdar Ramachandra, recd via email i) A definite number of categories should be listed and a maximum of two awards given for each. It should be a coveted award, not an easily accessible one. Rajiv Radhakrishnan, recd via e-mail

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