Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ash - Abhishek Wedding and Media

Last few days most of the newschannels (esp. Hindi) were showing only one news. Shaadi of the year (or should I say decade, century...)!. Coverage on channels like Aaj Tak, Star News was simply ridiculous. They were telecasting as if it is the only news that Indians are interested in. Agreed it was a headline, but not worth the importance it received. Times of India, so called leading paper in Mumbai, alloted more than half of its first page for the news. Newspapers and news channels are giving up their responsibility of being 'The Fourth Pillar of Democracy" and are morphing into yet another medium of entertainment.

But I am amazed by a completely different aspect of Ash-Abhishek wedding. I am amazed by the amount of rituals and pujas performed before engagement and the amount of coverage it receieved. Aishwarya is maangalik and hence they performed a series of pujas at the Kashi Vishwanath temple and Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi. I find this simply ridiculous. We are leaving in modern age. Education must inculcate scientific attitude in learned and they do away with such ideas. Media and role models in society are supposed to create awareness among people to develope such rational mindset. On the contrary, Amitabh Bachchan, role model for many Indians, is performing such rituals and media is abating by giving it unnecessary coverage. Not a single newspaper or news channel raised this issue. On the contrary, they portaryed it as if it was one of the necessary events before the wedding.

Media has to play more active role in eradicating such irrational traditions and practices. Newspapers have, over the years, been successful in creating awareness among masses against such traditions. They must live upto that tradition.

PS: Just my father pointed out that maangalik issue was portrayed in right perspective in latest blockbuster 'Lage Raho Munnabahi'. And the irony is that Abhishek Bachchan is shown marrying to a maangalik girl against the wishes of his father and ctiticises such traditions. Time to replicate the Reel life into Real life!

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Anti-terrorism campaign by Mumbai Police

Most around the world are concerned with the rising terrorism. And Governments are taking various measures to stop terrorism. However, the latest ad campaign by Mumbai Police to create public awareness about teroorism, fails to fulfil its objective.

In this campaign, various advertises (by Lintas. Since joining JB, I always pay attention to this kind of stuff!) are put up in buses, trains to make commuters aware that the next terrorist can be right next to you. Some of the posters go like this

  • The bag next to you may not belong to everyday commuter

  • Don't be ashamed to check below your seat

  • Don't look outside. Check the person next to you instead for any suspicious actions

I found these slogans really really ridiculous, especially the last one. I mean, you have boarded the bus and enjoying the scenery outside (though we don't get much of that in Mumbai), then suddenly you see this slogan. Does it mean that we should not enjoy life, instead look at each and every person around you with suspicion. This is India, a democracy, and not any dictatorial country. This kind of things used to happen in communist Russia, where every person used to spy each other. Isn't it the responsibility of the Police and Government to look after the safety of the citizens. Agreed that there must be some citizen awarenss, but it should not precede the basic right of the citizens' basic right to live.

This kind of thing creates paranoia among public, decreasing their confidence. But such things are becoming more and more pervasive around the world. People look after each other with suspicion, which is not the sign of healthy society.

Thus, this campaign is not serving its purpose. Advertising Agency is also to blame to an extent in my opinion. The message can be conveyed in more effective manner. Citizens can be made to participate actively without creating this paranoia.

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