There are also many who have not aspired for any such award and yet could not decline when offered, out of politenessas an eminent doctor friend commented perceptively some years ago, he had to live down the embarrassment quickly. Some are unhappy for being used to add flavour and credibility to an otherwise bland list.
Civilian honors and awards have been controversial in many countries. No wonder that Tony Blair has been questioned by Scotland Yard as part of its investigation into the cash-for-peerage scandal involving, among others, Gulam Noon, the curry king, Chai Patel, the CEO of Priory Clinics, Barry Townsley, a stockbroker, and David Garrard, a property developer.
Soon after World War I, there were serious charges in the UK of corruption that included trading bells, whistles, ribbons, trinkets and titles for huge sums of money. In comparison, there was probably greater transparency when William the Conqueror, auctioned honours publiclynot a bad idea at all. A leaked document a couple of years ago contains the names of those who refused the honoursthe list of almost 300 people since World War II includes renowned authors, writers, and poets who were unhappy with the regimes or considered the honour belated or lower than what they deserved.
In many countries, the selection process has been questionable and often provides enormous scope for lobbying, sponsorship and intermediation of many kinds. This is aggravated in a system that relies on a bureaucracy that promotes private information, political patronage and noise at the right places. Thus, a market evolves for such honours. Such a market is also conscious that for maintaining the threshold reputation, some of the awardees have to be picked on merits that would bring honour to the resta good free ride for the many driven by the reputation of a handful. Sadly, though, it proves a no-win situation for those who have wormed their way into the list via the market mechanism. Such an award worsens public perceptions of fraud. The award, instead of enhancing their reputation among the intelligentsia, confirms what otherwise may have been a mere suspicion. Some years ago, an academic awardee was publicly derided as a Badmashri in the light of his questionable past and political connections.
In comparison, there was probably greater transparency when William the Conqueror, auctioned honours publiclynot a bad idea at all
Wait. Outcomes... what outcomes