dna celebrity columnist Suhel Seth: Whose Padma is it anyway?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014 - 9:11am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

The Government of India is infested with intelligent people. Very bright. Very patronising and most importantly very fair. Never has any Government been as bright as these blokes who are running the country, which is why I am not surprised by anything they do.

They feed the scion of their dynasty to the lions by getting him to be interviewed on television. They have a Prime Minister who only speaks through his silence. They have blokes who make wise comments on corruption and as soon as they are indicted, they claim amnesia of the finest hue.

 Which is why their choices of the Padma Awards has never failed to surprise. For instance, these dolts offered Anand Mahindra a Padma Shri. The same award they gave to Paresh Maity. This is when Anand’s contribution is beyond industry. He has invested personal money in the Mahindra Humanities Centre at Harvard to create a whole wave in favour of the liberal arts. He has done more for the girl child than all the jokers in the concerned ministry through his forays in Nanhi Kali.

To this day, Dhirubhai Ambani has never been given any civilian honour or for that matter Mukesh Ambani. Both have built companies to a global scale and what is more critical, earned financial rewards for millions of Indian shareholders. Mukesh’s wife Nita produces, through the Foundation, the first ever newspaper in Braille. No one from advertising has even received a civilian honour.

People like Subhas Ghosal or for that matter Ram Ray and more recently even Piyush Pandey have made tremendous contributions.

Rahul Bhatia, the founder of IndiGo has received nothing except the odd illegal notice from the DGCA. In sports, many have been cast aside. I cannot remember the last time this Government actually honoured organisations like Pratham or for that matter Akshay Patra. But they will go to any limits to honour some of their own. Because India is almost becoming a cosy club rather than a country which awards merit.

After decades they honour Ruskin Bond. This is how bright these fellows are. They also in the same breath honour Sant Chatwal: which by the way is a good thing since he is also a favourite of the FBI in the United States. The first ever Indian CEO of a global bank: Rana Talwar of Standard Chartered has never been bestowed a civilian honour but they will obviously give it to every knee and heart surgeon who operates on these blokes. Ranawat got it for Vajpayee’s knees and some gentleman from Bombay got it for Manmohan’s heart.

I am sure the BJP, if and when they do come to power give an award to Arnab Goswami for conducting that interview with the young lad. And making him come across so intelligently. Till then we shall wait for merit to rise...

I am waiting for them to give Raj Thackeray an award for his tremendous sense of nationalism and inspiring work at toll-booths as also for Pawan Bansal for having such an amazing memory and most certainly to A Raja for principled honesty. Karunanidhi will get it for monogamy as easily as Mallika Sherawat will for inventing a new accent that was born in Haryana but flew quickly to Houston.

Whoever says there is one single dull moment in this fine country of ours? Whoever does?

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