Blog: When international ‘awards’ come pouring for PM Modi

Even Doordarshan failed to resist the temptation of hailing the ‘award’ by an obscure website declaring PM Modi as more powerful than other world leaders. But this is not his first dubious award

Blog: When international ‘awards’ come pouring for PM Modi

Atul Cowshish

Take a bow Mr Modi, you are adjudged more powerful than Donald Trump, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin! The honour came from a journal or a website called ‘British Herald’. The name ‘British Herald’ was enough to suggest that it was a ‘British’ award, something that did send many Indians into paroxysm of delight.

In the midst of this euphoria in the ‘Modi media’ (TV channels) and Modi devotees’ ecstasy over his winning yet another ‘international’ accolade, spoilsports discovered that ‘British Herald’ is a barely known website ‘magazine’. It is owned by a Malayalee Muslim who runs a business fortnightly from his home state. The only thing ‘British’ about the magazine is a classy address in London.

The year 2019 had begun with a ‘first ever’ award being given to Narendra Modi. It was the Philip Kotler Presidential Award by World Marketing Summit India. The official Twitter handle of PMO carried a photo with the information that the award ‘focuses on the triple bottom-line of People, Profit and Planet.’ The unkind said that the three-P formula did not fit Modi for he, in their opinion, had failed the people, profits and the planet.

Philip Kotler is known as the ‘father of modern marketing’. Wiser after this illumination, most people would readily concede that Modi is indeed a marketing whiz kid who so effortlessly sold his non-performing record to register a thumping electoral victory. Modi may not have ‘managed’ the economy well but there is no doubt that his ‘management’ of the media has been unrivalled.

Even the Kotler award to the Prime Minister exhibited some of the ‘management’ skills of Modi and his team. The event where the award was handed over to him was reportedly sponsored by Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali and a TV channel known for loudly promoting Modi. The man behind the award was said to be a businessman from Aligarh.

It lent an air of mystery when it emerged that Modi was selected for the Kotler Award without a jury. The procedure followed for the selection was also opaque. Kotler ended the controversy by ‘clarifying’ that it was all very ‘confidential’. It provided a moment of amusement to some in the social media, one of whom recalled the number of things that Modi, champion of transparency, believes should remain ‘confidential’--his university degree, his marital status, the Rafale fighter jet price, the list of black money holders, official data on unemployment, GDP, suicides, lynchings, etc.

After an entire array of BJP leaders had congratulated Modi on winning the Kotler Award, Congress president Rahul Gandhi sent his best wishes to him for winning a ‘famous’ international award. It left the humourless Bhakts cold.

If ‘British Herald’ is yet to establish itself outside the circle of Modi admirers, the American TIME magazine needs no introduction. It is one of the oldest ‘prestigious’ publications. About two years ago it had declared Modi as the Person of the Year, much to the delight of the Modi fans who did not tire of singing the virtues of the American weekly. But the same TIME magazine became an object of hate by the Modi Sena (army) when this year it declared him as India’s ‘Divider-in-chief’.

In 2018, he was also awarded a ‘Peace Prize’ by South Korea for the success of ‘Modinomics’ which according to the citation had helped reduce the disparity between the rich and the poor!. Never mind if the evidence point to just the opposite.

Also in 2018, Modi was awarded the UN Champion of the Earth award which relates to contribution in the field of climate change. Under Modi, India may have taken a stand at international gatherings on climate change that earned praise but it somehow contrasts with the unscientific and irrational outlook of the Prime Minister. Remember, while addressing school students, he had told them that winters were not harsh due to climate change but people felt more cold as they advanced in age.

It is no secret that many awards to foreign dignitaries are given on political consideration. The state of Palestine bestowed its ‘Grand Collar’ to Modi for promoting closer ties with Palestine. Yet, at UN fora, Modi’s India is increasingly voting against Palestine

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