Aamir Khan and ‘Satyamev Jayate’, his TV show has become an instant hit in the country. No doubt, we need to name and shame those involved in female infanticide and foeticide, provided they are also given a chance to express their views on the same show
Aamir Khan's opening episode of "Satyamev Jayate" has, as expected, run up a storm on the internet as well as other forms of electronic and social media. The subject of female infanticide and foeticide is one that stares many people in the face, not just in India, but also in many other countries. But most certainly the issue is very serious in and around India.
It is not as though this was a secret, though, since even an idiot can spot these clinics all over the country. Nor is it a secret that on the other side of the spectrum, there is now also an industry evolving on helping people have babies, which is somehow related to this - the technologies and qualifications required are pretty much the same. So it is not as though those involved in this business of foeticide will starve.
Therefore, in a way, it can be safely said that unless we live in a cave, there is a gender determination clinic and a pregnancy assisting clinic within 2 kms of wherever we live, which shares the same sanitation worker, press-wallah, corner tea-shop, cable TV guy, grocery outlet, car-wash dude, paper-delivery, milkman, chemist, BSNL/MTNL linesman, night beat-cop, bus-stop, taxi-stand and more. They also share the same blood-banks, technologists, maintenance staff, linen services and security guards.
In other words, everybody knows, since sometimes they are also in the same building, hospital, clinic, nursing home. And we all know. Very often, we are part of the whole set-up too.
So, how different are we from the people who lived in and around the Nazi death-camps, with our studied silences? In many cases, these are people who are part of our social circle, so we are somehow also involved in this circle of deceit.
The first thing needed, therefore, is to name and shame those involved. Certainly, they should be given an opportunity to explain themselves, which is why some of us are insisting that the "other parties" also be given an opportunity to come on the same TV show, and speak about their aspect of this issue.
But not from behind the cloak of anonymity. As well as with representatives of the Indian Medical Association attending. And while the list of doctors and clinics in Rajasthan is long, in the Dr Mitu Khurana case, here's the name and address of Dr Kamal Khurana, who also happens to be a consultant orthopaedic surgeon with Fortis Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, Delhi.
Dr Kamal Khurana, C-4/6, Sector 15, Rohini, phone 011-27852727, clinic B-8/19, Sector 15, Rohini, New Delhi. This is an upscale part of Delhi, not some village in the rural backwaters, or similar. Why not go and meet him at his clinic, ask him, or call him up and get his point of view?
The second thing is that we need the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to come out clearly on this subject, and take some definitive steps, as has been suggested by friends who are doctors but who choose to remain silent because it seems the fear of the IMA is all-pervasive. Only non-doctors can counter it. (As the son of somebody who chucked up the medical profession, partly also in disgust, I can empathise.)
Just these two steps, to start with, would be enough. Aamir Khan, it would appear, has taken the third himself - in an interview with CNBC-TV18 yesterday, he announced that he had withdrawn from all future commercial endorsements and had ensured that past endorsements were terminated with effect from the 31 of March 2012.
And why is that so important in that case?
Because, simply, when you look at the core reasons behind gender determination, you come out with some very surprising results. Which shall be another article. On MoneyLife. As the SMJ bandwagon picks up steam, this aspect will be so very important - what drives people to do these things?
As the saying goes - when you want to catch a criminal, follow the money.
(Veeresh Malik had a long career in the Merchant Navy, which he left in 1983. He has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, loves to travel, and has been in print and electronic media for over two decades. After starting and selling a couple of companies, is now back to his first love-writing.)
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Satyamev Jayate: Will it charge up the nation?
The judiciary should refrain from granting stays on orders when anyone approaches it after defying a legally valid order. Only respect for courts will not make a better law-abiding nation, respect for the law will
As an information commissioner I have noticed that many public authorities do not obey the statutory orders given by the commission. When faced with action for non-compliance, they obtain a stay from the high court by filing a writ petition. This is the case with statutory orders given by many other authorities, as well. I have been thinking about this common practice in our high courts and feel it does serious damage to the rule of law and encourages disrespect for the law. If anyone—citizen, institution or government department—does not obey a statutory order given with the sanction of law, this should invite the consequences of defying the law. Granting a stay of the original order by a high court provides a legal sanctity to an illegal and undesirable action. When granting these stays on legally valid orders, in most cases no reasons are given, hence there is no evidence of any justification for this protection to the defiance of the law. I strongly feel that any standard action of an instrumentality of the state which may promote lawlessness must be opposed and an attempt made to seek correction of such action. Many times the lawyers hired in obtaining such stays charge between Rs1 lakh and Rs5 lakh for an appearance. This money is paid from public funds to deny information to the public and defy legally valid orders in the name of the public. This cannot be considered to be in public interest or legally permissible. Though my proposition appears to be logical and self-evident, I am quoting some Supreme Court pronouncements in support of this.
The Supreme Court in Prithawi Nath Ram Vs State of Jharkhand & Others Appeal (Civil) No. 5024 of 2000 in its judgment dated 24 August 2004 has stated: “If any party concerned is aggrieved by the order which in its opinion is wrong or against rules or its implementation is neither practicable nor feasible, it should always either approach to the court that passed the order or invoke jurisdiction of the appellate court. Rightness or wrongness of the order cannot be urged in contempt proceedings. Right or wrong the order has to be obeyed. Flouting an order of the court would render the party liable for contempt. While dealing with an application for contempt the court cannot traverse beyond the order, non-compliance of which is alleged. In other words, it cannot say what should not have been done or what should have been done. It cannot traverse beyond the order. It cannot test correctness or otherwise of the order or give additional direction or delete any direction. That would be exercising review jurisdiction while dealing with an application for initiation of contempt proceedings. The same would be impermissible and indefensible.” I think it is logical to deduce from this, that if flouting of an order invites contempt proceedings, a stay on an order granted after the order is defied has no legal basis. Such a stay is not in the interest of nurturing respect for the law.
Further, in Prakash Narain Sharma Vs Burma Shell Cooperative Housing AIR 2002 SC 3062, the Supreme Court of India has observed that a judicial order, not invalid on its face, must be given effect entailing all consequences, till it is declared void in a duly constituted judicial proceeding. Justice SN Variava in Ghaziabad Development Authority Vs Balbir Singh (2004)- (002)- CPJ- 0012- SC stated that unless there is a stay obtained from a higher forum, the mere fact of filing an appeal or revision will not entitle a person who is required to pay the penalty to not comply with the order of the lower forum. Even though the person may have filed an appeal or revision, if no stay is obtained or if a stay is refused, the order must be complied with. In such cases, the higher forum should, before entertaining such appeal or revision, ensure that the order of the lower forum is first complied with.
It appears to me to be self-evident that no organ of the state should allow or encourage defiance of the orders of any statutory authority. There are also the judicial pronouncements in support of my contention, which I have quoted above. I hope there can be a public discussion on this matter and the judiciary would refrain from granting stays on orders when anyone approaches it after defying a legally valid order. If there are extenuating reasons for granting such a stay, they must be provided in the order. Our present practice in the courts favours those who can spend money on hiring lawyers. In most of these cases it is the public authority which spends the money. Thus public money is spent to either deny information to the public or protect the guilty officer from paying penalty! This is done by refusing to obey legally valid orders. This needs to be stopped. Only respect for courts will not make a better law-abiding nation, respect for the law will.
The views expressed here are the author’s own personal views
(Shailesh Gandhi is a Central Information Commissioner; he is the first RTI activist to be on the central commission. An IIT Mumbai alumni, the author has closed down his business to devote his time to social causes, especially the RTI Act.)
Despite local demand, Chinese and other emerging market firms have not established their own brands. Instead they have often tried a short cut, purchasing western brands. The main problem for the emerging markets is learning the art of protecting their local brands
The growth of emerging markets is having an enormous impact on everything. However, marketing and brand management in these markets can be a bit of a challenge. This is true for both multinational companies attempting to sell into these markets as well as for emerging market companies competing with them and attempting to expand internationally.
One of the most interesting examples are brand named luxury goods. The sales of these products grew 13% in 2010 to $228 billion and another 10% in 2011 to $252 billion, renewing the growth trajectory that started in 2007 when sales hit a previous record of $224 billion. As with all things concerning emerging markets, sales in China have led the way. Sales of branded personal luxury items purchased by Chinese globally add up to a whopping $52 billion. This is 80% of the $63 billion in sales of the largest market, the United States.
But China is not alone in its tastes for brand names. Latin Americans led by Mexicans and Brazilians are raiding the posh stores of New York, Milan and Paris with reckless abandon. Local markets are growing, as well. Sales in Brazil grew 50% from $2 billion in 2009 to $3 billion in 2011. Sales grew in the same period by 12% in the Middle East and by 25% in Korea.
But catering to these markets often means adapting to local tastes, which are often quite different than in Europe or the US. For example Chinese women’s taste for whisky and sports cars is higher. In China, Maserati sells 30% of its cars to women, while in the west women buy only 2% to 5%. In contrast, Chinese men purchase more far more grooming products including face creams than in older markets. They also are large consumers of luxury bags. Coach sells $1.7 billion worth of leather bags in China, 45% to men compared with 15% globally.
Despite the local demand, Chinese and other emerging market firms have not, with a few exceptions, established their own brands. Instead they have often tried a short cut, purchasing western brands. This process has even been sanctioned by the Chinese government.
But government encouragement does not necessarily mean success for the Chinese any more than it did for their Japanese predecessors who did the same thing 30 years ago. The computer firm, Lenovo Group, purchased IBM’s personal computer business in 2004. Lenovo now sells computers under its own brand and the only thing left of the IBM brand is the name ThinkPad. The problems with the IBM brand have not stopped the Chinese from buying others. The Chinese car company Geely bought Volvo last year and a Chinese bulldozer manufacturer bought the Italian luxury yacht maker Ferretti, owner of the legendary Riva boat brand. Not to be outdone, one of India’s largest industrial group, Tata, purchased the famous British tea company Tetley and more recently Jaguar Land Rover.
Still marketing success has proven elusive even on their home turf. Chinese car companies have been unable to pry the more lucrative parts of their own market away from VW and General Motors. The foreign-branded cars are seen as more reliable, stylish and a better value than their Chinese competitors. This leaves the Chinese car makers with the low end of the markets where competition is only on price and margins are razor thin.
Emerging market governments are all ambitious to make their mark in the world and have no problem supporting their locals. In China this means reviving a bit of socialist history with the Mao era Red Flag limousine. Like its Soviet counterpart the Zil, it was originally produced for the communist leadership in 1958. But it fell out of favour with the Chinese leadership who preferred the more polished Audi, which dominates 30% of the market. Discontinued in 2010, it is now back as the first choice of the upper echelons of the party.
But the main problem for China and other emerging markets in learning the art of marketing is the protection of the brands themselves. The Chinese governments, usually local governments in trying to protect home grown industries, have been ruthless in slandering foreign brands. Luxury brands including Hermès, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger Chanel, Armani, Christian Dior, Zara and Burberry have been attacked as substandard. Wal-Mart in Chongqing found itself the scapegoat for high pork prices, while Coke, Heinz, Procter & Gamble General Mills, Lipton Teas, Colgate-Palmolive all have been accused of selling adulterated products.
Besides slander, the Chinese are notorious for intellectual property violations and trademark infringement. This consistent disregard for property rights was supposed to damage multinational firms, but the real losers are in China, for without these basic protections, the locals can only hope to produce basic commodities and leave the more profitable higher end to foreigners.
(William Gamble is president of Emerging Market Strategies. An international lawyer and economist, he developed his theories beginning with his first hand experience and business dealings in the Russia starting in 1993. Mr Gamble holds two graduate law degrees. He was educated at Institute D'Etudes Politique, Trinity College, University of Miami School of Law, and University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He was a member of the bar in three states, over four different federal courts and has spoken four languages. Mr Gamble can be contacted at [email protected] or [email protected]).