Another year of Padma awards, the highest civilian awards given to citizens of India for excellence, got announced on Jan 26, this year’s Indian Republic day. The list boasted of politicians, surgeons, actors, singers, artisans, sportspersons, army personnel, and writers who have excelled in their respective fields. Sadly, another year when designers go unrecognised for their efforts.
Designers are nowhere in the radar for the Padma awards and this needs to be addressed immediately. Few designers who have received awards have been designers like Dashrath Patel and Dadi Padumjee, who have been recognised for their excellence for their work other than design. While Dashrath got it for art, Dadi got it for his puppetry. Truly deserved, but their grounding in design went un-noticed.
And even so, two designers in a span of 66 years?
In an interaction with the then Industry minister, Anand Sharma, at NIFT Delhi, I broached this subject and he did recognise the anamoly.
Designers, save the environment, give artisans new lease of life, educate children, make products safer, visually enrich society, solve problems, contribute in communication of social issues, make the world a better place to be. Reason enough for the government to consider us for awards. Surely, this needs more urgent intervention.
Designer Jonathan Ive got knighted for his work by the British government recently. Will the Indian government too take charge and do the honours?