Sure, I'll Jaago...then?

Listening to prime time news discussions requires me to park my brains elsewhere to 'connect', and that's such a pity. But then I console myself by saying at least I've had my fair share of comedy for the evening. Tuning into Nidhi Razdan presiding over a discussion on NDTV, that included opposing politicians and some guys from an NGO initiative called 'Jaago Re', you get to understand the term 'dumbing down' in all its glory. Let me explain.

The discussion turns into a slug fest between the opposing politicians and that's when Nidhi pops this brilliant question to the NGO guy. She asks him about what his message to the warring politicians would be, and if it would have calls for a positive attitude? Of course, the guy launches into an Obamaish like sermon, about how we must look at the positives and how the youth want to connect with a prime minister who needs to come on the idiot box. Wow! I was almost moved. To what, don't ask.

Issues that dog the Indian elections are so diverse and complex, the last thing you want is the urban youth mulling over the same. The city-youth are better off at their cafes sipping their lattes. Just to give you a flavour of what's at stake in these elections, consider these issues. And then tell me what's this positive message that must ring in my ears. Remember, issues here are never Indo-centric, they belong to local regions and the solutions to them must be found in those very regions.

Consider the Naxal issue, the Telengana movement, the Dravidian-Tamil-LTTE issue, the Irom Sharmila- Armed forces special powers act problem, the Kandhmal-Tribal Christian issue, the Meena-Gujjar conflict, the anti-Bihari sentiment, and so on. Do their solutions lie in Jaago Re and vote? Of course, I am all for urging everyone to vote. But when complex issues get dumbed down to an Obamaish rhetoric, I have a problem. Its time the youth zip up and mull over real region-centric issues and see if they can find answers. If they can't, continuing to mull is better than their rhetorical utterances. In fact, tell you what, governance in India, for the future, lies deeply embedded in one and only one skill. The ability to manage coalitions. Coalitions are the future. Any party that wants to govern must learn the art of managing coalitions and getting policy decisions to pass, by consensus built through whatever means that work.

In the business of products and services too, it must again be a similar practice. Consumer solutions are never about some smart-alecky advertising. Its about managing a host of allied practices. That includes having great product portfolios, managing costs and thus pricing, keeping channel partners within the fold and happy, great distribution, merchandising, customer service and of course, marketing communication. Any firm that can manage all of these competently, gets the consumer.

Ask me if I think someone does that brilliantly in India. Yeah; Hindustan Unilever tops my list. There's so much one can learn from this company that's got the FMCG markets India in its stranglehold. For the youth looking to mastering business, its about zipping up and learning from the likes of HUL. Rhetoric can wait.


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