I read with a fair bit of amusement today a leading Indian in Bahrain being honoured for “leadership”. A few weeks ago, there was another person who was similarly feted in India for “work among the downtrodden.”
I have lost count of how many such people regularly receive “honours” for having “excelled” in various fields, most commonly being philanthropists or “givers” to the community. What I do not, however, understand is how can these people “serve” the downtrodden, the less fortunate among us, the homeless, or the “park benchers” by sitting in air-conditioned offices, jet setting across the globe or setting up massive business empires. Okay, I am not saying they should ignore their businesses and come on the streets but what I am saying is there are countless such selfless people who have done so much for the community. For example, there is this one gent who makes sure he washes every dead body of a destitute expatriate that arrives for repatriation to his home country.
Then there is this genial woman who takes care of the paperwork of countless domestic workers stuck in legal tangles. There is yet another person who goes around collecting leftover food from restaurants and hotels and distributing it among those who cannot afford a meal.
There may be scores of others like these three but they have never received any awards. They are not even mentioned. They are not demanding. They are just nameless, faceless and selfless people who just work.
Isn’t it time we looked at them? Is it not the time they are rewarded in some way? What good are awards for those who put them on mantlepieces or get Press releases in newspapers? The real winners are out there – unrecognised and unappreciated.
But, of course, no one’s going to recommend their names, for that needs political patronage and clout. It also needs sustained Press coverage over many years so that the awards are “worked out.”
That, unfortunately, is the awards story, and that, quite shamelessly, will continue.
May we live long!