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Posts Tagged ‘Controversy’

Art of attracting crowds

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on July 29, 2012

As there has been so much hoopla around what has been called disappointing crowds at Jantar Mantar during Anna Hazare’s fast, I started to ponder and here is what I think, if you care.

You really need to be an expert in the art of attracting crowds and following are some near sure shot ways to do it.

  1. Short skirt: Nothing beats this. Tactics has been successfully employed by news channels during ‘news’ broadcast, companies at exhibitions, F1 with their grid girls and what not. A pretty face in an immodest dress can be a clincher.
  2. Money: This again is a tactics that has been practiced for years, generally by the politicians, where a lump-sum is paid to the leader of a fraternity who is then given the responsibility to bring in crowds.
  3. Free food: There is something about free food that strikes chord with every class of society.
  4. Fear: This is the most cost-effective method for obvious reasons. It doesn’t cost a dime but, might take some time to build the reputation before you can start scaring people off.
  5. Celebrities: India loves their stars. A celebrity on stage is a sure shot formula.

Now, lets see which of the options above could have been used by 75-year-old Anna Hazare. It would be difficult for Anna Hazare to scare someone off so, option 4 goes out of the window. It will be difficult for a man who sleeps in a temple to pay someone off or arrange free food so, option 2 and 3 look a bit far-fetched. Celebrities in general have too comfortable a life to come out of their cocoon just to earn a few brownie points. So, option 5 is practically difficult.

Now Anna can always ask his young female supporters to help the cause but, a movement to eradicate corruption might well turn into a desperate attempt to prevent crime if he does that especially with the knowledge of what happened in Assam. Thus point 1, while possible, will be foolish.

So, Anna needs to rely on people’s own willingness to get out of their beds, commute 10s of kms, bear the brunt of heat and rain just to support what for all practical purposes looks like a losing cause to most. While that is asking for too much, people thronged Jantar Mantar today and gave a brilliant riposte to all the naysayers.

Having said that, to fight the way they have despite the likelihood of thin crowds, has raised Anna Hazare profile more if that was possible.

Posted in Controversy, India, Motivation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Speak Asia vs Indian Media

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on May 16, 2011

I didn’t want to write another post related to Speak Asia but, I decided to write one for those who are being redirected here after the news conference held by the company. And then there was my own curiosity ofcourse after my previous post (Is Speak Asia Doomed to fail?).

Didn’t watch the live press conference but, did watch the recorded video at night. Here is what I think:

    1) It was a long press conference! I think it ran for over an hour and you need every bit of patience you are capable of
    2) There are only few sections of substance though
    3) What a bunch of “journalist” they were?! They were arrogant, rude and barely managed to ask a single sensible question. It felt more like a police interrogation room and less of a press conference. I behaved so much better at school!
    4) Journalists did not miss any opportunity to mock the Speak Asia Mgmt. Patted themselves for either asking an insulting question or for insinuating at every possible opportunity.
    5) To their credit, the panelists did manage to stay calm

What did panelists have to say?

    1) They talked about their business model. Explained Rs. 11000 subscription and the per-survey payout

    2) Explained their investment in technology and said their plan to invest more. Showed their new website due to go live in two weeks. Talked about having offices at 5 locations in India by August 1. Plans for new business – telephony, insurance etc’. Volunteered to show balance sheet.

    3) Gave some accounting numbers. Rs 350 crore turnover. Rs 250 cr given to panelists. Rs. 68 cr paid to govt. in service tax.

    4) Talked about the clients. Said that while they had done some research on the brands shown on channels, they were not commissioned by those brands and apologized for any mis-communication. They however confirmed that they do business through distributors and these distributors do remit money through ING and ICICI. Volunteered to show bank statements. Volunteered to show their client list subjected to people signing Non-public disclosure agreement.

    5) Showed their willingness to be investigated by government agencies and answer any questions they might have. They pleaded media to encourage agencies to investigate instead of passing their own judgement.

I barely watch Hindi news channels. I already have expressed my opinion about these channels in one of my earlier posts. Today’s performance was just as despicable. Surprisingly, most sensible questions came from a guy from Aaj Tak. 🙂 Now, I don’t know how much of what these panelists said is true and relevant authorities should definitely do what is required for the peace of mind of those who believe in this company but, media’s curse can prove to be a big blow specially for a year old company.

Lets see which way this pendulum swings!

Posted in Controversy, Journalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Shocking Journalism. Worst Protest.

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 7, 2008

I was hurt like any other Indian when India lost Sydney test and the manner of loss made it harder to digest. But, what disappoints me more is the way it has been captured in Indian media. Rise of Internet has ensured that people don’t have to wait till the next day to go through the newspaper. This is being exploited by the media who keep coming up with cheesy headlines and controversial stories – mostly concocted, to increase their popularity. If print media is bad, electronic ones are worse. 24 hour news channels have ensured that it is full of rubbish. Every channel tries to tap in to mass’s sentiment twisting every piece of news to spice it up as opposed to making an effort to present accurate information.

Cheesy Headlines, humiliating remarks, everything blown out of proportion. What is happening? The way Indian public has responded to this is shocking. Its one thing to criticise. Its another thing to humiliate. People have been posting absolutely absurd and mindless abusive comments in response to articles. And all this in the name of protecting our pride. Is this the impression we want rest of the world to have about us? My pride is far more injured by the events that is taking place in India as compared to what happened in Australia on the cricket field. What happens to the pride of these people when India gets named as one of the worst countries in the way children are treated here? This rarely forms subject of intellectual discussions because dealing with it will require them to be far more proactive as compared to showing anger in chat rooms.

When a few Australians did not carry themselves as we would have liked, we responded in the way we did. What about thousands of Indians who are proving to be no different? This is specially surprising when majority of the neutrals and quite a few Australians have shared our sentiment.

Same Australian public gave rousing reception to VVS and Tendulkar when they came in to bat at SCG and gave a standing ovation when they scored their centuries as if they were playing in front of their home crowd. It is one thing to be disappointed. It is another thing to be stupid.

Its true that we did not like what we saw in the test and what transpired thereafter in Harbhajan’s case but, our behaviour and that of quite a few journalists has not been very appealing either. Everybody is wrong but for us. Talk about fairness!

There are lots of decent ways to lodge protest and put your case forward. Calling names and posting abusive messages in the forums is definitely not one of them.

Update: All is not lost and I am not the only one to be incensed by the nonsense that is going on in Indian press which by its very nature demeans the cause Indians are fighting for. Here is an extract from an article in The Guardian that states as to what this post is about.

India is blessed with an extraordinary capacity for indignation. But occasionally there is cause. So even if it was a little tiresome to have to hear Harbhajan Singh’s mother on every news channel, watch donkeys with name-tags of the umpires Bucknor and Benson dangling around their necks, and find that 94% of viewers on one network wanted the team to return from Australia, it did not fully detract from the issue.

A few other people have written about the quality of journalism which they call over the top or in other words nonsensical. In Guardian, Dileep Premachandran calls it India: Where truth is up for grabs. (Cracking title but may have overcompensated by launching a scathing attack) and on Cricinfo Suresh Menon pleads for some balance.

Posted in Controversy, Cricket, India, Journalism | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

God As Your Soulmate

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on March 27, 2007

This is not about whether god exists or not. However, if an abstract concept, if it is an abstract concept, has the capacity to bend our minds to behave in certain way, it is as real as anything that we can see, touch and feel.

I like to think of God as an anonymous entity who is my soul-mate. Somebody who challenges me to excel. Somebody who challenges me to rise despite all adversities. Somebody who challenges me to live.

I heard somewhere “I dare not assume for the fear that I might be in error.” So, I refrain from making assumptions regarding god’s existence, his appearance or anything that will conflict with my logical understanding of “Life”. Luckily, I don’t see the need to make such assumptions about his existence. Any of my assumptions are philosophical which lifts my spirits and boosts my confidence just enough to give me the ability to fight yet again.

One of my friend casually mentioned once, “Bhagwaan load usi ko deta hai jo usko utha sakta hai.” (God pressures those who he thinks will be able to bear it.”) I like to think myself as one of those. If this belief raises my spirits and takes me to a point where I start feeling invincible, can anything be more “real” than this?

Posted in Life, Motivation, Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Whats on your mind? Others will know it. Soon.

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on February 18, 2007

Recently another scientific breakthrough was announced in which scientists claim to being on path to predictingwhats on somebody’s mind  based on some brain scans. As always, and not surprisingly, it is being discussed if this can be used to curb crime by predicting criminal intent. People are also playing with the idea of using this in court as legal evidence.

How can somebody’s intent be ever proved in the court based on these scans? Don’t our legal system work on the theory of “beyond reasonable doubt”?

That aside we are very close to proving one point. We are merely biological objects following the rules set by our genes. Thats not a surprise as we always knew that. However, being able to predict one’s behaviour accurately does make it a bit different. There have been arguments made in favour of prevention of wrong doings based on predictions of these scans rather then to punish the wrong doer after the crime has been committed. It is said that criminal intent is merely a result of biological signals triggered in certain environmental conditions. As we are knowing more and more about these signals and the factors that trigger them leading to criminal behaviour or otherwise, the whole theory of free-will is being questioned. Science everyday is getting closer to proving us as a biological being dancing to the tune of these strings. Once we manage to discover the relation between these strings, we will be able to generate our own Minority Report (2002 blockbuster in which criminal behaviour is predicted to stop crime from being committed).

It is said that we blow these scientific discoveries and inventions out of proportion to excite ourselves but, it has seldom stopped us from wondering.

Posted in Biology, Controversy, Psychology | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Racists or Emotional?

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on February 8, 2007

Shilpa Shetty won the reality show Big Brother and received whopping 63% of votes. It would have been interesting to find whether those 63% of votes she received was due to people of Indian ethnic origin in UK (about 3 million people of Indian origin live in UK) flooding the show with calls or was it a gesture from the general British public to let Indians (and others) know that they don’t condone shocking remarks made by Jade Goody and her fellow housemates. In either case, it does make you wonder whether remarks made echoes the sentiment of large section of British society. Education teaches us to be tolerant but, emotions more often than not has the final say. So, was that just an isolated outburst or does it go far deeper than that.

I have been in UK for more than five years (four years as student) but apart from isolated heated exchange have had quite a pleasant stay. However, recently India has made its presence felt on the global map by being one of the fastest growing economy and has taken big strides in most sectors. But, with stories of Indian success ( Tata taking Corus, Shilpa Shetty winning Big Brother etc’) flashing across the television screens, sentiments are bound to take over. It is further compounded by the fact that major section of this demographic share the belief that Indian economic surge has been at the expense of US and European economy.

Well, I am not ignorant enough to call them racist but it will not be entirely misplaced to call them emotional.

Posted in Controversy, India | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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