Nominated For India Authors’ Award-2021 In Humor Category: But Is The NMCBI The Right Platform For Creative Writer-Authors?

The India Authors’ Conference and Awards-2021, a great initiative by the Navi Mumbai Chamber of Business and Industry (NMCBI) in collaboration with Great Human University, was held in Vashi, Navi Mumbai on 30th November 2021, giving away the Awards to writers/authors/bloggers/poets in a range of categories. The full-day function was a dignified affair with the anchor Yesudas coming up with some humorous interludes at various stages to involve, entertain and enthuse the writers present there. The event was also available online for those who could not be physically present. All the Award winners and even the nominees were invited on stage to be felicitated—the winners getting an Oscar-like trophy and a certificate while the nominees were given a certificate of nomination along with a token gift—and to speak their minds. The Awards were presented by the Chairman of NMCBI, Dr. Dhirendra Gautam Mishra who has also been an author/researcher. 

This writer was present on this significant occasion and was also presented with a certificate of nomination as the Best Author-2021 in the category of ‘Humor and Entertainment’ for his books ‘Laugh and Let Laugh’ (2017) and ‘The Cheerless Chauffeur and Other Tales’ (2021), being felicitated on stage. The Award in this category was won by retired Lt. Commander of the Indian Navy who fought in the Kargil War and has been a passionate runner afterward, Bijay Nair, for his book of humorous anecdotes on the runners ‘B.H.A.G.H’ (2020).


The biggest highlight of the event has been the launch of the India Authors’ Federation (IAF) by the NMCBI to further their initiative to recognize the great efforts and contributions of the writer-authors. The IAF is to have a Governing Council with representation from all the states of India and the inclusion of the regional languages of India in the federation was also marked as a most important issue to be taken up in due course of time. The IAF promises to be a great platform for the writer-authors to interact with fellow writer-authors, showcase their books and to have mutual promotion campaigns to increase sales. All the nominated and awarded writers of the India Authors’ Conference and Awards-2021 are to be the founding members of the federation with Rahul Bansode from the NMCBI being the prime mover. The IAF also promises to hold frequent meets/events for authors including a Lit Fest in Delhi next year.


Notwithstanding all the moves in a definitely positive direction some questions and ‘ifs and buts’ do arise, mostly from the perspective of this writer’s experience. Firstly, about the objective of the NMCBI to take up this initiative for the first time (earlier they held events to award the coaches in various fields of activity) which is basically ‘to recognize the great efforts of writers/authors in empowering people (may also call readers)’. This phrase of ‘empowering people’ leads to various interpretations including the ‘business angle’ most prominently. And this leads to the second point.


Personally speaking, I never knew about this competition till a message came from the NMCBI through LinkedIn came to me informing that I was being shortlisted for Nomination for the Awards. As a low-profile writer like me who does not even manage to sell a lot of copies of his books, I was hugely excited and filled up the nomination process with zest—choosing naturally the ‘Humor and Entertainment’ category. However, I continued to have my reservations about the event thanks largely to the ‘empowering’ factor and that all the activities had been happening in the social media of LinkedIn which is always a natural platform for the business community. Although I have been having a LinkedIn account for several years now, I never felt that I belonged there, mainly because I never had any ‘business strategy’ behind my writing or my books, and my posts/articles never got any attention. At best, I used to get some telephone calls from the private life insurance companies offering me ‘jobs’!


Thirdly, even though I found the three-layer evaluation process adopted by the NMCBI transparent and good enough the same persistence on ‘purpose of my work or adding values to human lives’ kept on disturbing my mind. As the first step I had to send a video of mine talking about the event and my ‘purpose’. Next, I had to fill up a power-point presentation form, telling about myself, my book/books and the ‘purpose or adding values to fellow human beings’. The last step was an interaction with the Jury on Zoom. Even though it was for more than 10 minutes, quite liberal and friendly the questions or queries again concentrated mostly on the same things. The Jury for me was only two persons—the Chairman of the NMCBI who, I’m sure, never had time to read my work or for that matter any other contender’s work, and a lady Juror whose name was not announced to me and even now I don’t know her credentials, apart from the fact that most of the Jurors were CEOs or Business and Finance stalwarts. Anyway, the lady Juror said that she found some of the stories in my first book ‘funny’, a statement which was not at all convincing for me—strengthening my doubt that the ‘work’ they consider amounts to be about the ‘business or empowering’ part only, and never about reading the writings or the books competing with other books.


Lastly, even after being fully aware of what were the exact ‘requirements’ I, you can call it foolish, kept on with my views that ‘my only purpose is to make people laugh; I believe that laughter is the best medicine; that one should laugh from within rather than resorting to artificial means; that creating a merry and friendly atmosphere in workplaces increase efficiency and productivity of which I had first-hand experience; and so on. I could never say that my purpose is to motivate people to laugh, to act as a stress-buster in difficult times like the pandemic-age and making better persons of fellow human beings, because I had never undertaken the on-field businesses in various roles of a ‘motivator’ or an ‘educator’ or whatever in writing my books.


After the Jury interaction I was convinced that I could never make it to getting the award; but I wanted to attend the great event as basically it was for a very good purpose of promoting writers/authors giving them a platform to showcase and interact. My experience of the event was mixture of excitement and disappointment—exciting for the IAF and disappointed because the way of giving the awards more or less confirmed my suspicions. Most of the established ‘business-driven’ or else and writer/authors with celebrity status got most of the awards with a few given to the promising youngsters which is extremely necessary in the new age, as the Chairman himself said earlier in this introductory address that ‘digital-driven expert youngsters are much more valuable than the old-timer or retired writers/authors’.


Therefore, I raised the question. Is the NMCBI the right platform for genuinely creative fiction or non-fiction writers many of whom become bestselling authors just on the basis of their content, and not on any ‘empowering business strategy’ except for trying various ways of promoting their books? I don’t question the necessity of the businesses of ‘motivators’, ‘educators’, ‘self-help campaigners’, ‘coaching for both mental and physical wellbeing’, ‘personality transformers’ and so on. However, what about the writers having only good readable creative content with the absence any business strategy behind?  


This post is going to be my last one on LinkedIn where I never belonged, because I don’t have any business other than to love having more readers to my blog that I managed to monetize recently and my books, and of course, selling more copies—hoping against hope. I’ve already started the process deleting most of my previous posts from my timeline. I’d let the account go on though as I’m very keen to follow the updates on the proposed India Authors’ Federation and how it goes.