Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Awards…. Hope all is well

March 13, 2016: It is a good sign that more and more women are becoming aware of International Women’s Day. What women do to celebrate this day or whether they celebrate it at all is inconsequential. It is more important for them to realize their worth and assert their rights in the society.
Since 1975, the International Women’s Year, March 8 started being regarded as a Women’s Day. However, the first National Women’s Day was observed in 1910 on 28th February to honour the protest of women workers of garment factories in the United States.
In 1910 in Copenhagen, it was decided to have a Women’s Day to support the cause of women’s rights including her right to vote. Some years later in 1945, the UN signed a charter that was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then women’s movement has come a long way and today’s women are a testimony to that.
It is good to see that the gender stereotypes are broken. Today we see several women heading the banks, corporate and other sectors which were once considered male bastions. Just the other day an airlines in India created history by having a Delhi-San Francisco flight with an all-women crew to celebrate the Women’s Day.
Also remarkable is the fact that now women will also be seen in fighter pilot’s roles in the Indian Air Force.
All this is good news and ought to make one happy. The recognition of women is gaining ground and on this day many organizations make it a point to give awards to women who have made a mark. But something in me tells me that things are perhaps not all that right.
This year I was in Rajasthan during the International Women’s Day and while browsing through the newspapers and the pile of my invitations in Jaipur, I was quite surprised to see that about 50 award functions - big and small - were being organized. Several women from different walks of life - writers, artists, musicians, educationists, entrepreneurs, designers, social workers, self-claimed celebrities and so on were being honoured in these functions.
As expected, most of the award functions had the same faces and in these functions number of awardees ranged between 50 to 100. I also noticed that in few of these functions those who were awardees gave awards to those from whom they received awards at earlier functions.
Was it a mere coincidence or is there something more that meets the eye? To me, it seemed that it was a case of mutual back scratching. Quid pro quo! I hope it is not so. If it is, then I have to think twice before I attend any of these because this is not the case of recognition of worthy women. This to me this is nothing but a mockery and cheating in the name of honouring deserving women in the society.
The sad part is that most of these award functions are tied-up with some media houses for the mileage they would get. I understand that small NGOs to establish themselves may resort to such tactics but I do not understand the compulsion of prestigious organizations to host such functions?
I recall about fifteen years ago awards instituted in the name of characters from the Mahabharata were given to businessmen. The story behind this award was that the businessmen received letters from the organizers saying that they were nominated for an award being a successful businessman. When they responded they were asked to place advertisements for the Award Souvenir. It was simple maths.
Award twenty people, spend Rs 10 lakhs in a five star hotel for an award function, take Rs 1 lakh each from these twenty people for the Souvenir and end up saving Rs 10 lakhs. These functions went on for fifteen years until it became a regular affair.
So next time when you receive a invite to be a judge of such an award committee or even an invitation to witness, please think if ... all is well.
ess bee

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