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September 19, 2018

Tag: politics

May 3, 2017

Pepsodent to Patanjali transition of the society

by viggy — Categories: social, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , Leave a comment

Can you remember the era of toothpastes ad with actors dressed as doctors certifying that they would recommend this or that toothpaste to their patients. Do you remember the claim made by almost every toothpaste that 99% of members of some Dentist’s association has suggested them as the best toothpaste, etc. While the Indian society was changing to be a consumerist society, we accepted any garble from the idiot box and bought the products. From toothpaste to toothbrush, soap to fairness cream, everything was sold based on how much it was marketed and how much it made the buyer have a feel good factor. None of the claims were questioned, it was never verified, just broadcasted on all mediums.
They said the toothpaste had salt, we thought it must be good. They said it had neem, we accepted it. The put logos of all the certifications that product had obtained. What those certifications meant, why it mattered was never asked, never answered. As long as the product had the feel good factor, it was bought. Ask anyone the difference between one or other toothpaste, what mattered was only the offers it had or whether it had some taste or smell which they preferred, nothing to do with how it helped the teeth.
Then comes Patanjali, which also said that their toothpaste also had neem but now with certification of being nationalist, being swadeshi. People accepted it also. They again never questioned anything. While the marketting team of big FMCG companies are trying to understand why people are accepting Patanajali, where as they had themselves trained the society to accept anything with a feel good factor, not with any value in it.
Question still remains as to why do we need a toothpaste, why do we need a soap? What properties should the soap have? While we have never asked this question, we can see how a similar ignorance plagues our politics also.

In 1990s, while we were told to accept globalization as the answer to all our problems, we hailed the ones who were called as the architect of liberalized India, PV Narsimha Rao to Manmohan Singh. Everyone accepted that this was the way forward for the nation to leave the clutches of poverty. A grand vision of development, with roads, flyovers and skyscrapers was shown to everyone. Everyone accepted it, they had known of one or other who had benefitted from it. The cousin abroad, far relative who had a white collared job, industrialists in the town, everyone seemed to be benefiting and there was ‘development’ everywhere. No one was interested in trying to understand the fundamentals of the politics they were propagating. This idea of development made them feel better, brought a hope of a change which was more easy to accept.
Than came the nationalist forces which had been brewing silently in the country side making their base stronger. When they bought forward the same idea of development with nationalist way of implementing it, people have accepted it in the same way they shifted from Pepsodent to Patanjali. After all if the feel good factor is the criteria, all it takes is to show a vision which is more tempting than the current one.

If we accept this analogy, the natural question to ask is what would be the next direction for the society. In case of toothpastes, my guess is that very soon we will have local gurus and babas coming up with their own version of toothpastes. While the nationalist layer peels off from the society, society may well be painted with a layer of regionalism. As the efforts of nationalism fails, it may just be too easy to make the society to blame one region to other as the cause for all its problems. Some of the states already have a very good established regional party which would gladly accept this opportunity. Also the glaring economic divide between the south and the north will also make it possible for people to pass the blame on each other. Close to a decade ago, a friend of mine had suggested that India should get disintegrate into all the different states to solve its problems, I had laughed at him as an absurd idea. I wont be surprised if our political parties use such absurd idea to try their luck to political power.

March 24, 2013

What is the cost that we are ready to pay

People have been talking about the development model in certain states and how it needs to be emulated across the nation. But apart from all the PR machinery involved, this development model was bought by cashing a costly paycheck. This cost is that of complete ignorance of minority. Such ignorance breeds in itself a sense of alienation amongst the people and the current silence is only an indication of the future revolution that is going to be fought for equality and freedom by the minority.
There is not doubt that to keep themselves relevant the fundamentalist forces once in power, will sooner or later take us to war. External war threat has been looming onto us. With US forces planning to leave Afghanistan and Pakistan government becoming more and more unstable, there is no doubt that activities along the border is going to increase and people in power in New Delhi might have to take some tough decisions. If there are fundamentalist forces in power, it will only give them too easy a reason to take the nation to war.
However my concern is not external wars. My concern is the internal civil war that loom over us if fundamentalist forces see the light of the day of power.
Our society is on edge while media like an uninterested babysitter, is just shying away from its responsibilities to report the truth and come with concrete studies of the on-the-ground situation. Small insignificant incidents spread like a fire across the nation where as real burning issues of the common people are just not getting any attention. The mob behavior growing across the nation can easily be fueled towards any direction.
Lying on such a hot volcano bed, the future with fundamentalists being in power can only be catastrophic. Our society is yet to understand and respect difference of opinion and faith. With the kind of diversity, India boasts of and with the strong personal interests of a few to keep the society divided, we just have not yet been able to learn to live in harmony. Especially with the educated middle class just too interested in enjoying their sudden financial growth, there has been just too little interest in real solving social issues that plague the society and such issues have only grown thanks to the conducive environment. As always, it is not that the society wants to get into communal war. It is just that the environment becomes such that everyone is engulfed into it.
Now having considered such speculative but still serious issues, we need to consider what is the cost that we are ready to pay for the perceived development. Hence I request to all the people filled with anti-incumbency to have a greater thought on other alternatives present than the fundamentalist forces.