An Apology Letter to “Kailash Satyarthi” !


Kailash

Dear Kailash,

With great embarrassment and remorse, I must confess to you. I had never ever heard your name, until you were announced for 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai. Yes, never read your name in these 100-paged newspapers or in fancy magazines, neither via several 24X7 TV News Channels, nor via thousands of online posts and blogs. Although they all are now Ga-Ga over you, nevertheless I congratulate you on your latest recognition.

I have always considered myself, a fairly active news-chaser, reading across the categories through all modes. I know, almost every Tom-Dick-Harry in field of Politics, Sports and Entertainment. I follow all the news-makers and news-chasers on social media too. Yet, I missed knowing anything about you. I pity myself! But is it only me, or the fault also lies with the establishments too?

Kailash, you donated your whole life struggling to fight against Child Labor, primarily in India and across the world. Your efforts have helped rescue thousands of children from bondage, trafficking and exploitative labor. With the help of other NGOs and activists, you have organized hundreds of raids on factories and warehouses where children were being made to work. Although being an Engineer, you chose to work in interiors of India, for Children’s rights. You have received top-notch “Peace” awards for your selfless work from United Nations and countries like USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherland etc., with Nobel Peace Prize being the prime. Yet India, Indians and Indian media chose to ignore your marathon-work before Nobel.

You are yet to be appreciated by any of Indian or State Governments through any awards or help. Still, you chose to silently focus on your day-to-day efforts, and work towards the cause. Its high-time, our Governments start recognizing and supporting causes and efforts of social activists like you.

India media failed to cover your story, not because you are a real news-maker, but because you didn’t chose the make noise about it. Our media is enamored with glamorous people, events and controversies. Across all the platforms, Politics, Sports and Showbiz rule the majority news. In pursuit of headlines and business-profits, news-channels spread “nuisance”, and have turned itself into “Entertainment” channels. We news-chasers need real stories of men like you Kailash, much before the world acknowledges it.

Kailash, despite any media or government attention, do continue with your journey to make the world a place for our children to live in.

With much regret,

A Proud Indian!

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100 Days of Obsolescent Congress !


While the TRP-hungry Indian media is busy analyzing the meagre 100 days of the mighty Narendra Modi Government, I decided to look the other side of the coin. Indian National Congress, as a political organization, also completed their 100 days of devastation, powerlessness and cluelessness.

The lethargic Congress Working (pun intended) Committee has neither shown any zeal nor any intent to reinvent themselves. They have still not even hinted their sympathizers, on any alterations, either in their leadership, or structure or communication etc. It seems, they are neither planning, preparing nor willing to win the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, and later in J&K, Bihar and UP. Another washout for Congress in these elections would not at all be surprising.

Even as an opposition, be it in parliament, news-channels, social-media or streets, Congress finds itself unnoticeable. Congress representatives (barring Tharoor’s of the world) still witless and sometimes regressive, though mostly humbled (thankfully), after massive defeat. Spokesperson, still spoon-fed by the Old Guard, are surely “Young” but they do not represent the “New”. They are “Fossiled” to past, both in content and in person! Although the BJP Government (and not Mr.Modi) and their mouthful friends, have provided enough political opportunities to latch upon, yet Congress failed to materialize any issue.

If things remain the same as they are now in Congress, very soon, the political prowess of Modi-Shah duo, will be penning down the last chapters of Indian National Congress, a political organization, which once existed.

Why India should vote for BJP in 2014 Elections!


2014 General elections are not too far, and political parties have started their drum beating acts, vilification and slug-fest. Voters either already have or are in process of aligning themselves to preferred ideologies, leadership teams and parties.
Sooner or later, even I had to announce my loyalties for the forthcoming elections. Though I am not fully convinced, but still, here are the reasons, why India should vote for BJP this time.

Widespread Cynicism
Seems like majority to Indians (especially on Social Media) are at their heights of Cynicism. They are in no mood to trust our Media, Government, Institutions and Politicians (except “The Saheb”).
Pessimism is spread among the urban Indians like a wild fire, and the credit goes to both UPA and BJP. UPA Government through their unwanted actions and desirable inactions, have raised several doubts on the theory “India: The next Superpower”. And BJP, backed by RSS, also to be equally blamed, for their vilification tactics using social media and pracharaks!

And the only way to transpose them from Cynicism to Realism is by bringing “Change”.

No-Confidence Motion against Congress
Congress has lost any sought of trust in the Indians. Flurry of scams, minimal communication with the public, perceptive spineless leadership and opaque decision making have crashed their popularity index. All the decisions, statements, views of their leaders are seen with suspicion and usually termed as political opportunism. They have lost their moral ground to even criticize their opposition on every aspect be it economics or governance and more so, on the secularism. More so, Congress is been in power for 10years now, and fatigue factor is overpowering Indians, and thus considering change. Although all the political parties have deleterious baggage of their past, but “The Recency Effect” goes against Congress too. The only political party which seems to “substitute” them is BJP, considering AAP being too small. AAP also lacks the governance experience and the political muscle to win seats in 2014. As of now, they can be a good opposition party, if not more.

Stability

Indian economy needs a stable and decisive government, even if affects the social fabric of India. India needs quick economic, social and agricultural reforms, which only a stable and decisive government can provide. Federal parties don’t seem able enough to provide stability due to internal political tussle and deficiency of national approach to India’s problems. Thus we are left with no option but to vote for BJP.

New Era of Politics

The new-age India would now vote the basis of performance (economic and social). Congress and many other parties would soon realize that their style of traditional politics is now obsolete. Also now it’s high time for Congress to move beyond Gandhis and the Oldies. Thanks to emergence of AAP and BJP’s marketing strategy (based on their state Government’s performance), Indians would soon disown dynastic, corrupt and criminal leaders from politics.

NaMo Mysticism

To start with, I would still believe, India should vote for BJP minus Mr. Narendra Modi as Indian Prime-Minister. But since, now their paths are aligned, this possibility seems hypothetical.

Meanwhile, Indians overwhelmed by the Modi-Mania are dreaming of a mystical world with Mr. Modi with a magical wand, which would solve all of India’s problems, as he did in Gujarat. Many Indians are into idol-worship of NaMo, and see no wrong in the Mr. Modi. Let not their dreams not be shattered.

Mr. Modi, who mirages hope in impatient Indians, for a better future, has outgrown himself bigger than the party. Infact amusingly, many are fascinated with Mr. Modi but not with the party, BJP. Let not their hopes get crushed, because, if crushed, they will lose faith in India’s growth story.

If Modi remains “The Un-Chosen One”, India will keep harping on “If”s and “But”s. He should be given a chance to dictate India, because, sometimes, a country needs to go through the holocaust to realize its true character and to rekindle the importance of social framework.

 

 

Disclaimer: I would still not wish BJP to get 272 seats. A BJP (max 200 seats) led coalition government would keep a check on the right wing extremism in India.

My Remonstrance with Contemporary Journalism !


With the emergence of Television and Digital platforms in last 10 years, I expected more from Indian News Media, but I stand disappointed. I am disappointed because, even after inclusion of newer technologies and heavy investments, our news channels have not milked the benefits in right direction. In the era of fierce competition of making profits, news channels have lowered their standards of content creation and reporting, their outreach and journalistic code of conducts.

Frog in the Well

Today’s journalists are such lazybones, that we end up watching news only from urban India. None of the news channels today have journalists or teams to cover issues of labors and farmers.  Thus effectively, news from 70% of India is neither reported nor even considered by today’s news channels. English News Channels cover stories (pun intended) only from metros/capitals or of major events. And Hindi News Media is busy serving their audiences with either crime reports or entertainment. Even election surveys are merely confined to urban population. We would never get to know how the rural India (actual voters) actually feels, before D-Day of election arrives.

Obsession with Headlines

Gone were the days, when we used to see news reports and features on relevant topics. Today either we end up seeing only speed news or debates. Investigative journalism and reporting seems to be out of fashion. Journalists are out there seeking bites from the news-makers, more so to create headlines. We rarely see these days any documentaries or news reports illustrating all existing on-ground perspectives.  Journalists have turned into vultures, news-makers being their prey, looking for controversial statements or key words to create headlines; and further stretching the issue through irrelevant debates and featured stories.

Opinionated Anchors

News anchor’s role in any discussion is to merely moderate the debate and help bring out all the perspectives. A news anchor has to project him/her as non-partisan and free from any prejudices. But in an era, where debates are equated with popular journalism, news anchors push their views and ridicule counter-viewpoints or perspectives. Though journalists are entitles to have a personal viewpoint, but that can only be exemplified through editorials and not through news or debates.

Why India is NOT Pakistan?


India and Pakistan both got independence from British in 1947. Both countries born together had one struggle for freedom, one civilization, and one culture. Yet after 66 years of each other’s independence, both the countries are poles apart, both economically and socially. As famously George Bush quoted, “I explained that Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories”!

But have we ever thought of reasons behind this anomaly between the two countries, which were years ago so similar, but today completely contradictory?

I have tried dwelling upon few reasons from our history in last 66 years. Here are the following:

Visionary Leaders –

India had assembly of great leaders in 1947, whose visions helped in defining India’s roadmap to recreate an exemplary civilization. Unlike Pakistan, India was lucky to have wise and compassionate leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, B R Ambedkar, S.Radhakrishnan, Lal Bahadur Shastri etc. All these leaders were groomed under Mahatma Gandhi and thus always valued the importance of upholding the “Dharma” (Justice). All these leaders valued the sacrifices of Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Ashfaqulla Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil etc. and thus vowed to craft India a great Nation.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s Muhammad Ali Jinnah lacked both vision and wisdom. He could not create next crop of leaders nor was able to inspire fellow countrymen.

Non-Aligned Movement –

Those were days of Cold War between USA and Russia, and all the Third-World countries were aligning themselves to the either superpower. Non-aligned Movement led by Jawahar Lal Nehru with other world leaders, decided to not formally align or go against any major power blocs. Such entrepreneurial and hyperopic foreign policy helped India gain huge respect among the world leaders across geographies.

Unlike India, Pakistan chose to get associated with USA and its allies, to receive favors from the economic and military powerhouse. Today after so many years, where India is now highly self-dependent, Pakistan has ended up being a pet of USA (and also China). Pakistan’s impatience to grow faster by aligning itself to USA landed it nowhere. Whereas India grew slowly but surely, leaving Pakistan laps behind in the economic race.

Secularism –

Where Pakistan slowly turned into an Islamic country and treated minorities as second grade citizens, India chose “Secularism”. India respected people of all faiths and beliefs, allowing everyone to co-exist in harmony. Pakistan’s transformation into an Islamic country ended up mushrooming powerful religious leaders, which led to rise in terrorism and religious extremism.

India, on the other hand, kept a strict check on right-wing extremism of the majority, and also protected minorities through equal justice and supportive policies. Indian governments didn’t allowed India to become a Hindu-Pakistan, and kept restoring the faith of minorities during difficult times.

Equality among Democratic Pillars –

India always ensured equilibrium among all the democratic pillars of democracy which are Judiciary, Legislative, Executive, Military and Media. None of the five pillars was neither allowed to interfere, nor allowed to overpower another pillar. Although being parallel, all the pillars of democracy worked collectively to take India to newer of heights of being a great democracy.

Pakistan, failed in maintaining this equilibrium, and thus allowing the Military, several times, to overpower all other pillars of democracy. Pakistan had seen several coups by their Military leaders and even today, none of the other pillars had yet challenged its supremacy.

Beyond these key aspects, in last 66 years, India had been through several conflicts and issues. Issues ranged from leadership issues to secularism turned appeasement issues to pillow-fights between democratic pillars to feeble foreign policy issues etc. Yet we all have always been able to overcome all the problems, thanks to our fore-fathers, fellow Indians and leaders. We may come across several new conflicts in our near and distant future. But I am confident, that we “The Indians” will be able to solve all the existing and forthcoming problems amicably. Though sometimes slowly, but surely!

I would conclude by sharing this famous quote, “By travelling alone, we can go faster. But by travelling together, we can go farther!”

Happy Birthday : Father of the Nation !


Wishing a very Happy and Respectful Birthday to our Dearest Mahatma Gandhi !

You were the greatest, bravest and the simplest man India ever had, in recent history !

Unfortunately these days, Social Media and Rightist leave no opportunity to defame you and undermine your importance in Indian freedom struggle.

I am sure, sitting in heaven, you must be smiling at their childishness and re-quoting one of your many thoughts –
“‘An ounce of practice inspires more than a ton of preaching” !

And for those who point fingers at our Bapu, here are few lines from an Indian song –
“Kuchh reet jagat kee aisi hai,
Har ek subah ki shaam huyi, !
Tu kaun hai, tera naam hain kya,
Sita bhi yahan badnaam huyi” !!

Shahrukh Khan : The Desperate Marketer !


Marketing is a phenomena used by companies to communicate with their customers/prospects about their product/service. But when, product has a short shelf life, marketing is more about creating excitement, and generating buzz among the prospects. Marketing of movies faces the similar scenario.

Movies are produced with a specific budget, and has a very short shelf life. To generate profits, the product has to be consumed by the customers within first few days. And thus, these days, marketing plays a huge role in movie budgets. Production houses try different routes like ATL, BTL Promotions and PR to generate buzz among the audience.

I consider Shahrukh Khan a “Desperate Marketer”, as he uses each and every marketing route desperately without considering the profitability and marketing relevance. He has changed the famous 4Ps of Marketing into “Please, Please, Please, Please “. In marketing terms, his marketing style would be termed as carpet bombing, which is loosing its viability in recent times.

An example which I will like to quote is “Ra One”. He bought every media spot, be it television, newspapers, internet or radio. The bullish marketing campaign ran for nearly 3 months. His movie “Ra-One” was co-branded with numerous brands. Shahrukh Khan was promoting his movie on every TV channel, in every function, every mall. With his In-Your-Face marketing of “Ra-One”, audience got really irritated with the movie, even before the movie was released, as every second advertisement was about “Ra-One”. When the movie released, it was a big dud. As a product, movie was also trying to desperately trying to please all forms of audience.

Even before “Ra-One”, in his earlier venture “Om Shanti Om”, he brought each and every star in the Bollywood industry in one song, to create buzz. Even in the first edition of IPL, Shahrukh again used the carpet bombing strategy for his cricket team, “Kolkata Knight Riders”. His cricket team even had a Music Video, which irked other owners to create one for their own teams as well. Though soon factors like profitability and marketing relevance emerged, and these music videos were no more a part of team’s marketing strategy.

Post IPL victory, Shahrukh went overboard in celebrating and promoting his team’s success, in Kolkata. Although earlier IPL champions like Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals never had such celebrations.

I believe, he should take a tip or two, from his contemporary “Aamir Khan”, who has always been lauded by marketers for his ” Intelligent Marketing” of all his ventures.

Lets see if he again goes overboard with his next venture, “Chennai Express” !

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