And as the campaign rolled out, I grew less and less enthusiastic and tried to understand why there was no buzz.
Simply put, the campaign sets a goal for itself that is out of the realm of the possible and the probable.
In the case of Lead India, the premise was that India needed leaders with intelligence, integrity, capability, drive, commitment and so on.
Consumers agreed with the premise.
The Times of India
made available various platforms of their parent company, Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited, to promote the cause and involve readers and viewers in the identification of the leaders of tomorrow.
Consumers got involved, leaders were identified. The campaign, from the point of view of The Times of India, worked brilliantly.
It’s another issue that I have no clue what the ultimate winners are doing. Are they working for a better India or have they gone back to their humdrum lives? In the case of Teach India, the premise was that India needed teachers outside of the framework of formal education; ordinary citizens who would sacrifice personal time and effort to help other ordinary citizens improve their lot by helping them improve basic skills.
Consumers agreed with the premise and The Times of India and various platforms of BCCL pumped up the volume. Consumers got involved, ‘teachers’ signed up in thousands. This campaign, too, from the point of view of The Times of India, worked brilliantly.
This, too, is another issue where I have no clue what the ‘teachers’ who were discovered are doing. Are they changing the world or have they gone back to their humdrum lives?
In the case of Aman ki Asha, the premise is that peace is required between Pakistan and India and that more people-to-people interaction would help achieve that elusive, much wanted peace.
In this case, I do not believe that consumers agree with the premise.
The premise that people – individual citizens or groups of citizens – could help bring about peace between the two nations is optimistic at best and fanciful at worst.
The ‘boycott’ of Pakistani players by IPL teams demonstrates the major issue at hand: politics.
Lalit Modi, the BCCL, various chief ministers and home ministers at various states, the Prime Minister, the home minister, – all of them, together, cannot guarantee that teams with Pakistani players will not be targeted by trouble-makers for meeting political ends.
Cricket fans in India certainly like to watch Pakistani players; any number of Pakistani players are popular in India. We’ve had Imran Khan modeling for Cinthol, we have a number being appointed as commentators on various sports channels whose primary audience is in India.
‘People’ in India would have no objection to Pakistani players being a part of the IPL. Politics is another issue, however. That’s why Aman ki Asha fails.
It’s bitten off more than it can chew. It’s taken up a cause, however dear to Indian readers, which Indian readers do not believe can be solved by Indian citizens.
Perhaps The Times should have taken note of a global trend. Give me more local news, talk to me about local issues, educate me on local personalities, involve me in problems that impact my life on a day-to-day basis.
For the rest, we have Ban Ki Moon and Barack Obama.