The national creators awards: Padma 2.0!

Bhopal. Madhubani. Jai Khor. Ajmer. Sonipat. Prayagraj. Even Chamoli.

The recently-held National Creators Award was like the Padma Awards of social media — most nominees were from non-major metros. Even remote districts many hadn’t heard of.

There’s a refreshing wind of change blowing across the Indian heartland. Many awards, including the Padma, are increasingly honouring rural or small city gems — from farmers and artisans to local heroes — who’ve long been the backbone of India’s rich social tapestry.

The National Creators Award 2024 was a first-time-ever initiative by the Indian government, to honour and recognise the contributions of digital content creators across various platforms.

This award ceremony, held at the Bharat Mandapam Convention Centre in Delhi, was graced by PM Narendra Modi — who is quite a content creator himself.

Here’s the ones I really liked. Includes a guy who makes videos for farmers and an ex-scientist from ISRO who promotes green living.

(To be honest, I didn’t like all the nominees and awardees. Some are pure formula, nothing new to say — they exist on big fan counts and little else. But anyway.)

Best storyteller: Keerthika Govindhasamy ‘’Wants To Tell The Real History Of India That The Education System Has Forgotten’’. That’s quite a mouthful, but I like her mojo of mixing storytelling with archaeology.

Disruptor of the year: Ranveer Allahbadia. Ranveer has his detractors but he’s the GOAT of Indian social media entrepreneurs. Inspired lakhs to take up YouTubing. Bit silly at times but keeps the cash registers ringing, much needed in this industry.

Green champion award: Pankti Pandey, an ex-scientist from ISRO. Love her waste audits of household trash.

Best creative for social change: Jaya Kishori aka Meera of modern times aka ‘Kathakaar’. Refreshing and engaging perspective on the epics.

Most impactful agri creator: Lakshya Dabas. Short videos on improving agricultural practices with the use of innovation and technology, natural farming.

Cultural ambassador of the year: Maithili Thakur performs original songs, covers and traditional folk music in multiple Indian languages. Am a big fan of both Maithili and her cute brothers.

Tech creator: ‘Technical Guruji’ aka Gaurav Chaudhary. Probably the top tech YouTuber, a pioneer who started creating ‘unboxing videos’ out of sheer boredom at his brother’s home.

Swachhata Ambassador Award: Malhar Kalambe has been leading clean-up drives since 2017 and is the founder of ‘Beach Please’ — interesting name.

Best Creative Creator (Female): ‘Aiyyo’ Shraddha, famous for her comedy sets that engage across generations.

Best Creative Creator (Male): Am not a big fan of RJ ‘Baua’ Raunaq but he has, painstakingly, over the years, built up a huge fan following based on ‘prank calls’. He’s also transitioned brilliantly from pure FM to a mix of radio and video — and is a huge influencer.

Best Creator in Food Category: Kabita Malhar aka Kabita’s Kitchen. Again, not a big fan of calorie-heavy North Indian food, but I love the way she makes cooking so DIY. Btw didn’t understand the repeated emphasis on the “ordinary housewife” tag Kabita kept getting at the award show. The point being?

Best Creator (Education): Naman Deshmukh educates lay audiences on tech-related subjects like AI and coding, educating people on online scams and besides technology, also covers gadgets, finance, social media marketing and more. In my view, Insta educators like him are the future of skills-based learning.

Best Gaming Creator: ‘Triggered Insaan’ Nischay a Delhi-based YouTuber, Live-streamer and gamer. Considering India has 421 million gamers, and over 80 per cent of Gen Z, he brings great value to the table. Nishchay has 2.5 billion views btw.

Best Micro Creator: Aridaman is from the new – and growing – breed of micro and nano creators with as little as 10,000 fans/followers. Aridaman says he simplifies Vedic astronomy, among other traditional knowledge systems.

Best Nano Creator Award: Piyush Purohi from Chamoli highlights little-known places, standout residents and regional festivals. I liked this winner the best, imagine a 1,000 Piyushs all over India, in the remotest districts!

To wrap up, the National Creators Award 2024 underlines the power of regional digital content creators in shaping new, transparent narratives, and inspiring millions across the nation. Our main narratives have been in the control of a select, self-appointed urban few for far too long.

Let the floodgates open!

(Shubho Sengupta is a digital marketer with an analogue ad agency past. He can be found @shubhos on X)

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