What is prestige? The meaning of this word is as follows:
"1.The level of respect at which one is regarded by others;standing.
2. A person's high standing among others; honor or esteem.
3. Widely recognized prominence, distinction, or importance."
(Quoted from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/prestige)
So prestige generally means how people respect you. If you are respected by a large number of people you have a high prestige and if you are not respected by people, you have a low prestige. How do you earn respect from people? This is where the actual question lies. Prestige can come from many sources. But the sources through which you earn, are what really matters if you care too much about prestige.
This is where I doubt if people really understand this thing at all. Most people relate prestige to wealth and other things. Everybody somehow tends to overlook that fact that prestige can be associated to real talent also. For example, a not so talented, wealthy spoil brat can also be prestigious if people respect him/her for wealth he/she didn't acquire through his/her hard work. So it comes to another question if prestige is related to worth at all.
Is prestige related to the worth of a person at all? It is 50% true and 50% false. There are people who really are prestigious on account of their worth and hard work and their skills and talents. On the other hand, there are people who don't have any of these and try to become prestigious just by show off. For such people too much of materialism matters a lot. They care for their outward appearances, their possessions, or the fake positions they own in the society. I should explain these statements.
Take the case of a really talented person or a wise person who is respected by everybody. I'll say that they really deserve the respect or position they have. It is not by force that they are getting this respect, but because of the clear fact that they have something in them to be respected or called prestigious for. People respect them for their good qualities or because they are worthy of being somebody's inspiration or role models. I guess most of the really famous people have these qualities, otherwise they wouldn't have been famous.
Now take the other 50% people. they have no specific goals in life. It is not a sin not to have specific goals in life, but atleast you should have some idea about what you are going to do with your life. Well many people do have ideas like "bangla,gaadi,dahej" and the godforsaken "settling down". Personally I don't know, what one gains from settling down, or why people are so eager to settle down, where actually there is nothing like settling down, because life is ever changing. Their idea of prestige is study upto a level where you are made eligible to do a job and go for a highly paid job and buy all the materialistic pleasures available in the market and "show" others the high standards of their lives. Fine. But when everybody in the society thinks in the same line, it becomes monotonous. And it creates a social tension and asymmetry, by planting the idea in the minds of common man (who doesn't dream beyond "BGDnSD", which is exactly the consequence of this monotonous trend) that unless you satisfy the conditions of possessing materialistic virtues which are being used as criteria of prestige, common man is a complete loser.
Is this fair? Middle class people crave to be upper class, which they will never be no matter whatever materialistic pleasures they posses; and lucky middle class people become upper middle class and not so lucky or people who aren't greedy are forced to become lower middle class. What about BPL people? Well who cares for the aspirations of poor people? "We have money, we will use it as we please." Dear upper middle class people, who are at your will to use your money as you please, have you ever stopped to think about the social implications of what you are doing with your money? You have money. True. But isn't money something which is supposed to be used judiciously? And just because you have some money to use or that you've suddenly become rich out of the blue doesn't mean that you have to show it off. And particularly try to put up a show which will cover up your inadequacies. Just money can't ensure your prestige. But of course since prestige is a statistical thing, you can get "respect" from those corrupted people who belong to the class which comprises the 50% including you.
To be continued...........................