Why do we wait so long to honour our legends?

B_Id_384364_Pran_Sikhand

K. JAVEED NAYEEM writes: We recently saw the veteran thespian Pran getting the Dada Saheb Phalke award for his contribution to Indian cinema over nearly five decades.

As a child I used to think that he must be the meanest and vilest person on earth as I used to see him only as the traditional ‘bad man’ who could do no good. That was until I grew up a little to see him doing some good too in his later movies where someone perhaps thought of transforming his character!

But what all grownups now agree upon is how nice a gentleman he was in his real life whenever he was off the film sets.

While all his fans are very happy that he got his due when he was selected for what is considered the highest and most coveted award of the land in his field, I fail to understand why the honour was bestowed on him so late in his life when the ravages of time and old age have ensured that he can never relish the happiness of the honour in full measure or for long?

When he had stopped acting more than a decade ago and had retired and when we all knew what a magnificent innings he had played, where was the need to wait so long before recognising his contribution to the film industry?

It is not just with Pran that this has happened.

We routinely see many honours being awarded to many very accomplished and talented people long after they can feel fully rewarded for their roles. On many occasions we have seen the person passing away very soon after receiving the honours. And it is not just in our country that this happens.

Even in the case of the Nobel Prize we routinely see that many laureates are given the award years after their contribution to their fields is recognised when they can only totter to the stage in a confused daze supported by others or in wheelchairs.

Is it necessary for us to wait decades before we acknowledge their greatness in a much belated show of magnanimity that holds no meaning for them? I think if we love someone we should say so when it can make the person feel happy. Otherwise what purpose does it serve?

Do think about it.

(K. Javeed Nayeem is a practising physician who writes a weekly column for Star of Mysore, where an enlarged version of this piece first appeared)

Photograph: courtesy Press Trust of India

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8 Responses to “Why do we wait so long to honour our legends?”

  1. harihara Says:

    Simple it is due to Ahankaara, the illusion that I am big

  2. MysSchu Says:

    Unlike the arts, it is necessary for prizes in science to be awarded after sufficient scrutiny, and acceptance of the discovery/theory by the wider scientific community. Here, “loving someone” is not the reason for awarding them.

  3. Sanjeeva Says:

    Because we are Indians. We are like this only and we will always be like this. What else one can say!

  4. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Author should at least do a basic search on the internet before asking about Nobel prizes:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize#Recognition_time_lag

    As to Indian awards, I think author would understand.

  5. the colonel Says:

    it doesn’t make a difference to Pran Sikand.

    he was the MAN who fought and won to have a non-entity known as amithab to act in Zanjeer.

    and see the peacock strut at Cannes, still a nobody and read his tweets.

    a twit of the highest order.

  6. Abdur Rehaman Patrawala Says:

    Government of India has proved to be more villain than Pran…

  7. Ringer Says:

    “Even in the case of the Nobel Prize we routinely see that many laureates are given the award years after their contribution to their fields is recognised when they can only totter to the stage in a confused daze supported by others or in wheelchairs”

    What a sweeping statement from a person who has not done any basic research to check the facts. Just to give an example: The Indian origin scientist, Venky Ramakishnan got his Nobel prize in Chemistry within a decade of his discovery, and the scientists who discovered “gene silencing” got theirs much sooner within 5 years of the discovery and so on. In the case of IVF pioneers, there was debate whether it was really a discovery or a procedure much improved. Again the Indian origin writer Naipaul got his after recognition of the impact of his writing, but he was not in a wheel chair when he collected his Nobel Prize for Literature. The only scientist in wheel chair is Steven Hawking, and with all his contributions, there is none to award him the Prize. These types of articles need some good editing before they were published in this website.

  8. asha Says:

    Dada Saheb Phalke is supposed to be a National award meaning a film personality from any region and any language who is eligible for this award should get it. But just think about this, Dr. Rajkumar and Dr.Sivaji Ganesan both south indian actors par excellence were given this award as an after thought. In Raj’s case under pressure exerted by Deve Gowda when he was the PM. This tells its own story. Contrast this with Padma awards being doled out to Saif Ali Khan and Aamir Khan…

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