We, as a race, are rather loathe to spontaneously acknowledge, let alone heave praise upon, contributions of a person or an organisation towards advancement of the society. In our country, more often than not, praise or recognition works as part of a ploy for financial, social or political gain. As a result, role of those who have had their lives dedicated for the cause of their fellow beings goes unsung, unheard. The Dainik Janakantha has certainly made a difference. The Bengali daily has effectively shown that recognition of contribution in the socio-cultural arena is an integral part of journalistic consciousness. The Janakantha Gunijan Sammanana (Honour for Men of Accomplishment) and Pratibha Sammanana (Honour for Men of Merit) are indeed a praiseworthy initiative, and we extend our hearty congratulations to the minds behind the move.
Recipients of Janakantha awards for the year 1998 - Bareen Majumder (music), Abdul Matin (language movement) for Gunijan Sammanana; Vinod Vihari Chowdhury (teaching), Ataur Rahman (poetry), Shafiuddin Ahmed (journalism), Emdad Hossain (painting), Rani Sarker (acting), Kankan Bibi (freedom fighter), Sukumar Barua (lyricist) and Abdur Rashid Sinha (literature) for Pratibha Sammanana - have proved their prowess beyond an iota of doubt in their respective fields. Provision for monthly allowance besides the cash award, although unsavoury to many purists, only reveals the prudent minds behind the programme. We have seen painters, teachers, actors, musicians, poets die in extreme poverty, leaving their family in total uncertainty. The monthly allowance would surely come in handy for the recipients and their families.
It is just the start. We hope that the excellent example set by Janakantha will be emulated by others. Not only newspapers, other institutions and business houses should also honour our men and women of letters and exceptional talent. However, the quality of the awards must be kept very high, and the selection process must enjoy highest credibility.