|Beam Global Spirits and Wine, the 4th largest spirits company in the world, recently announced its nominations for the 8th Edition of the Teacher’s Achievement Awards. Avininder Singh was there to cover the event. When you hear of “Awards” linked to a Liquor Company the first cynical reaction is bound to be “surrogate advertising”.|
However, when you put this to Harish Moolchandani, CEO & MD, India & Indian Sub-Continent, Beam Global Spirits & Wine, India Business, you can almost feel the palpable rejection of your remark.
“The Teacher’s Achievement Awards,” Harish tells me, “have been around for eight years now. They are associated with leading personalities in their fields in India. They are part of a popular process that is independently audited by KPMG. Don’t you think we need to be given some credit for having sustained the Awards over so many years without our motives being questioned?”
A trifle abashed, but still combative, I prod Harish once more. In days of yore it was the role of the rajas to encourage such Achievers. Does Beam see itself as a replacement of the rajas? Harish laughs aloud. “I wish.” he says. “But in the largest democracy in the world where is the need for such aspirations? Without royal or state patronage earlier achievers would not have survived. Today’s achievers earn very well for themselves, thank you. The Teacher’s awards are a true celebration of achievement; a getting together of the best and the brightest.”
Doubts assuaged, I turn my attention to some of the members of the celebrity jury that has gathered for the announcement of the nominees.
It’s a veritable Who’s Who!! Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan; Fashion Designer Ritu Kumar; former Billiards World Champion Michael Ferreira; Advertising wiz Syeda Imam; Fashion Designer JJ Valaya, Jazz Exponent Louis Banks; and Former Chairman & Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young India, Kashi Memani.
Talking to them one realizes that, in the context of the Teacher’s Awards, the jury members are not really conscious of their own celebrity status. They see themselves as responsible citizens involved in a worthy corporate cause.
And the Nominees are…
•BUSINESS category: Ajay Bijli, Chairman & MD, PVR Cinemas; Alok Kejriwal, CEO, Contest 2 Win; Raja Kanwar & Sanjay Gaikwad, Founder & Chairman, UFO Movies; Sanjeev Bhikchandani, Co-founder & CEO, Infoedge India Ltd.; and Neeraj Roy, MD & CEO, Hungama.com.
•ENTERTAINMENT category: Music composers Kailash Kher; Monty Sharma; Pritam; Sajid-Wajid; Shantanu Moitra; and Singer Sunidhi Chauhan.
•COMMUNICATIONS category – this year focused on Fashion, as an expression of Communication: Fashion Designers Ashish Soni; Manish Arora; Namrata Joshipura; Rajesh Pratap Singh; Sabyasachi Mukherjee; Suneet Verma; Varun Bahl; and Wendell Rodricks.
•SPORTS category: Olympic Gold Medalist Abhinav Bindra; shooter Jaspal Rana; racer Karan Chandok; billiards champ Pankaj Advani; golfer Shiv Kapur; and Olympic Bronze Medalist boxer Vijender Kumar.
This year a special award – Teacher’s Achievement of the Year – has been introduced. The special award will be given to the individual who has not only showcased leadership and excellence but also redefined leadership in their own way.
The winners of the 8th Annual Teacher’s Achievement Awards 2008 will be announced on November 8, 2008, at ITC The Maurya, New Delhi.