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KBC: Good ads. Now over to the show

The advertising for KBC, which is about to roll again, is witty and entertaining. But the show, now into its fifth year, will have to live up to the expectations 

The TV show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' is about to roll again. I wonder how it will do in terms of the TRPs this time. The format has been sucked dry by the desi entertainment channels for the last one decade. Viewer fatigue will surely have set in big time. Personally, I am looking forward to it, as I do all the mindless debates on the news channels. Also, Bachchan is back as the host. In short, it's that same old, same old feeling.
However, I must admit that the ads created to generate excitement around the show are kickass. I have watched three of them, and I enjoyed all. The central theme is this: 'Koi Bhi Insaan Chhota Nahin Hota'.

One ad features Shuklaji, an honest worker in a maha corrupt government office. His colleagues are seen brazenly collecting bribes, and our man doesn't approve. He warns the chors to mend their ways, but they only scoff at him. Worse, our Shuklaji has taken a bank loan, and is worried about losing his job if he squeals on his seniors. Of course, he then participates on the KBC show, wins, and proudly tells Bachchan that he'll report his corrupt colleagues.

Another ad features a loser who's desperately trying to convince different girls into marrying him. But they all trash him because the fellow is broke. And when he wins on KBC, the man announces he will never marry any of those who rejected him, much to the girls' disappointment.

In the third commercial, a senior citizen is treated badly by his family members. Because they don't see any use of the old man in the house. And they want to dump him in an old age home. Uncle then goes on to win at KBC and declares that he will donate his winnings to an old age home, and not a paisa will be given to his family.

I like these ads. Everything is right about them. They are rooted in our culture, they are topical, witty and very entertaining. The key target segment for KBC, the middle- and lower-income groups, will enjoy these commercials even more so.

Bottom-line: Advertising has done its job. But the product, which in this case is a tired show now in its fifth season, has to live up to the expectations. Clearly the appeal of easy winnings will no longer be enough to get the TRPs. The show has to deliver more than that. Let's see how that goes.


Greedy breed of Indian political leaders

The people of the country witnessed the entire cash-for-votes scandal on television. So, to say that the police or the parliamentary committee investigating the episode cannot find evidence in the case, is a real shame

Greed and fear are powerful human emotions, most misjudged though. However maligned the two might be, their significance in shaping human behaviour cannot be ignored. And they are as desirable as they are despised. Curiously, absolute absence of these two intrinsic evils of human nature-call them so if you wish-will rob the individual of his prudence and useful social conduct. When responsibly handled, these emotions enable us to add quality to the lives of others as well as our own lives, as we get on in the civilised world. If evidence was ever needed in support of this, it flows straight from the universally preached and practised business principle: 'highest returns from lowest investment'. It would be foolish in any corner of the world to practise the opposite of this; like saying 'give more, take less'.

Ironically, corruption springs straight from this theory. What we seldom acknowledge is that we are all corrupt in varying measures. It would, therefore, be utopian to expect total extinction of the evil called corruption. There has never been an era in human history-the Ramayana and Mahabharata periods included-when corruption did not exist. Why we are crying against it today is because it has crossed the limits of affordability.

Secondly, the role of 'fear' has altered. Instead of inducing caution in the mind of the exploiter, we are now in a reverse mode that adds an awesome, fearsome dimension. Gone are the days of 'under-the-table deals'; it is a blatantly open and an over-the-table business now. The public ambivalence over such dealings has only encouraged the perpetrators of the evil, because they are patronised by the same people who envy and hate them in private.

Politics in India has become the most lucrative business, with the fastest gains in fortune. As has been reported in the newspapers recently, the rise in wealth of our politicians averages 300% (or more, depending upon the 'capability' and 'capacity' of the leader concerned), within a period of five years, as evidenced from the affidavits filed by Members of Parliament/Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Who will not like to win over (or buy out) a pliable bureaucrat, judge or politician, willing to intercept and change the course of justice to favour their benefactors-be they from the government hierarchy, cronies from the fraternity, or an interested 'party' from the public?

Those who can pay can make the otherwise callous police and local administration move and act in the desired manner. Unlike other necessities of life, sex and money influence people in more curious ways-the more you have, the more you will want. Lust is nothing but excessive greed, which can drive you mad, like it happened with home ministry bureaucrat, Ravi Inder Singh, who was arrested in November 2010 for selling state secrets in return for sex and cash.

Fear can often lead to panic, which ultimately hampers the decision-making ability of individuals and establishments headed by leaders and officers running scared. The nation has seen this in the jittery responses of the government that is floundering in a deluge of scams and peoples' ire against corruption.

First, the government thought Anna Hazare was too tiny to deserve its attention. When the people rallied behind him with remarkable spontaneity, it scurried to appoint a joint committee with a duly notified timeframe to draft and legislate the Lokpal Bill as demanded by 'civil society'.

Then it made a mockery of statecraft in dealing with Baba Ramdev. Initially, senior ministers prostrated before the yoga guru, conceding all his demands (some quite weird) even before he could step out of Delhi airport. Even as they exchanged pleasantries, we saw the police pounce on a peaceful, harmless gathering in the sleepy hours at Ramlila ground. Statecraft was abandoned and witchcraft took over.

Corruption has now become the Frankenstein's monster of Indian politics. No political party is prepared to condemn it enough, aside from scoring points over each other in the routine 'holier-than-thou' frenzy. While the opposition is seen to be angry over the scams and is holding the prime minister responsible for the misdeeds too, no political outfit has come out in open and unequivocal support for a strong, powerful and effective anti-corruption institution like Lokpal as proposed by Anna Hazare's team. Shockingly, a jittery government is again trying to throttle people's peaceful protest, by denying the Jantar Mantar venue to Anna Hazare, the most peaceful protester that free-India has seen, even as numerous other rallies/meetings are being allowed there during the current 'ban'.

Even orthodox societies are fast evolving and adjusting to new realities. India, already well poised to lead the world, is hindered and threatened not so much by Pakistan or China, but by its very own enemy within-corruption in high places. No doubt, Pakistan-sponsored terrorism has hit us seriously enough in the past. But the menace of terrorism has also found a great ally in rampant corruption right at home.

With India topping the world with black money ($1,546 billion) more than the total of the next four countries (Russia, the UK, Ukraine and China together have $1,056 billion) in the list of black money hoarders in Swiss banks, Indian terrorists have enough to support them at home. Don't we hear politicians cry foul every time police or the army raid and arrest suspects? Not only the Batla house raid by the Delhi police, even the most blatant, daring Mumbai attack that is ominously remembered as 26/11 (to liken it to the 9/11 al-Qaeda operation on the World Trade Towers), found vociferous, if shameless, political support very much at home! First, it was AR Antulay who, when he was a minister in the Manmohan Singh government, suggested the hand of 'Hindu Zionists' in the killing of Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare (The Times of India, 18 December 2008). Lately, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has been shooting from the hip, like an errant constable running amok, blaming the RSS and Hindus for all terrorism in India!

The whole world watched on 22 July 2008, how Members of Parliament waved wads of currency notes in the well of the house, screaming and complaining how they were bribed to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government, or abstain, during a trust vote after the Left parties had withdrawn their support. The government survived through murky horse-trading in Parliament. Recordings of a 'sting operation' carried out by a leading television channel captured these 'horse-trading meetings' and 'cash transactions' which were also shown to the Parliamentary Committee constituted to inquire into it. The Lok Sabha speaker asked the Delhi Police to also inquire into the affair.

First, the parliamentary committee report (not unanimous though) said they did not find enough evidence to pronounce anyone guilty. Now, after three years of investigations, the Delhi Police in its interim report says it has found no evidence pointing towards 'guilt of any politician'! Despite the glaring evidence that the people have seen in the entire episode, if the police or any other investigative authority absolves the culprits, it is an insult to the people of India.

Corruption is a secular pursuit. Politically, too, it cuts across party lines and converts enemies into friends and vice-versa. Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party was in the opposition, but only till the ruling UPA government had a comfortable majority. The moment the Left parties withdrew support, they not only jumped on the bandwagon but also went out of the way-using the cunning and innovative skills of Amar Singh-to garner additional support, by poaching Members of Parliament from other opposition parties. And we are the proud people of the largest democracy of the world!

Perhaps, if the Guinness Book of Records wanted a page on the world's most corrupt and shamelessly audacious leaders, I see no worthwhile challenge in the world-we will win hands down.

(The writer is a military veteran who commanded an Infantry battalion with many successes in counter-terrorist operations. He was also actively involved in numerous high-risk operations as second-in-command of the elite 51 Special Action Group of the National Security Guard. He conducts leadership training and is the author of two bestsellers on leadership development that have also been translated into foreign languages.)




4 years ago

ish desh ko badlana h ab or hum sub ko bhi . pr ab hum sub ko ek sath milkar apne ap ko bada nayak banna h , tabhi hum sub kuhsh haal zindagi ko ji payenge. kyonki ye desh aj phir se gulam ho gaya h . or ish gulami me hum sub har din pathar ki tarah aj bhi pish rahe h.

Dr Vaibhav Dhoka

5 years ago

Corruption is not only changing money but it has changed the whole process like offering sex,no action indefinitely on complaint till cash is paid as there is no time limit for cognizance on complaint .Suggestions are never implemented.As it may fracture their nexus in ring of CORRUPTION.The days ahead are very gloomy.All four pillars of democracy is fully involved in corruption.

shripad padhye

5 years ago

Further to the above my concern is as follows:
The present situation in the country is such that I am constrained to express it in the following manner.

Darwin propounded the concept which proclaimed that the fittest only can survive, may it be plant or animal and when weighed on the scale of scientific reasoning, this appears to be significantly true and universally holding fast at large.
Should I elaborate this concept in terms of “struggle for existence” it will not be untrue in the wake of the scenario prevailing in country presently. Furthering this could be self expressed in the form and state of affairs, encountered by the inmates of society day to day.
The Human civilization evolved through a continuous process of reformation and achieving excellence remained centre of the objective. While learning about the theory of evolution one comes across a statement given by some eminent researcher – the goal of evolution is not human. Then what? The level of intelligence & excellence acquired by the human beings should not be mistaken to be the ultimate perfection or goal achieved. It will not be out of place to state that in the quest for excellence and achievements, the human values are rather lost somewhere.
The all time great leader Abraham Lincoln has wisely described the Govt. in a Democratic set up as- “The Govt. of the people, by the people and for the people”. But today what is observed and experienced distastefully is- “The Govt. is off the people, bye to the people and far from the people”. With this the scenario, the essence of Democracy is lost, no doubt.
And with this situation in the fore the quote of Fred Woodworth appears to a reasoned truth when, he states that ‘Government is an unnecessary evil. Human beings, when accustomed to taking responsibility for their own behavior, can cooperate on a basis of mutual trust and helpfulness’.
It left me wondering on many occasions, does the Democracy in India mean an environment in which everyone is free to behave as frantic as wished and is there no place for the law with natural justice? Does it mean to be license for the strong armed subjects to overrule the norms of the society and dogmatize the weak?
Does Democratic freedom achieved through struggle by leaders! Means a society where the law abiding inmates are scared of the Policing, they have a sense of insecurity and their effort is to avoid approaching for any kind of relief to the makers of law so as to avert undue harassment? If one approaches to a police station to lodge a complaint, firstly the station I/c will not be available and if at all he is there, it is next to impossible for the commoners to register a report. The station officer & his assistants will harass the complainant so much, as if he has committed a crime by coming to the police station that one would run away without writing a report. In the event of a road accident the on lookers would refrain from taking the wounded to hospital due to the fear of getting ‘trapped’ in the police enquiry, for exhibited mercy & humanity! Where the elections of the University students are sponsored by the Political parties and to inculcate among the youth what kind of leader ship?
Is it a true Democratic system in which competence is ignored and preferential treatment is extended on the basis of cast and creed? The voice of certain categories is promulgated while the stakes of others are ignored- why?
Whereas Constitutional provisions are based upon the principle of equal opportunity to one and all then, why discrimination? The motive behind this practice is getting unveiled gradually and this practice would be revolted and challenged may be, after a gap of few generations when, Democracy in its true spirit will prevail in the country.
The above are a few instances quoted and this situation is not only explosive but also alarming for one and all and should be reckoned as eye opener for the days and generations to come. People grow, strive for something and …vanish from the scene but, the fact remains that the marks of their thoughts and actions remain and the legacy is to be accounted for inevitably by the upcoming generations. This holds true since the ages past- the era of Ram-Krishna, Buddha- ‘Tathagat’, may be Nero, great warrior Hitler or Gandhi, to quote a few who propounded their thoughts and policies when, the masses were mobilized. In the context of the Indian democratic set up the thought expressed by Jorge Luis Borqesthat that ‘Democracy is an abuse of statistics’ becomes pertinent and at times one feels ashamed of being a part of the system.
For the youth, it is a note of caution that their involvement does not end with heralding the slogans of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Inquilab Zindabad'. They will have to come out of their comfort zone for establishing the effect of the ambitious movement being launched by Anna Hazare. Today the youth very well knows and enjoys 14th of Feb as ‘valentine day’ but hardly know that on 14th Feb 1931 at Lahore the legendary freedom fighters “BHAGAT SINGH, RAJGURU & SUKHDEV” were hanged to death- for the cause of freedom!

Also, not only the youth but the experienced seniors of the society who have completed their first inning should also be encouraged to be an active part of the movement. This will not only give them a ‘reason’ and ‘sense of self prestige’ but also the movement would be benefited with the copious experience gathered by these ‘time over’ members of our society who, otherwise neither find place to sit nor adored by even their family members nor the Government have any concrete plans for their living.

The beginning as above is attempted with the hope that such writings might prove to be a guiding lamp for the upcoming generations and the "Aryan" Nation regains its glory as before globally. (shripad)

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