Monthly Archives: October 2009

The media religion

Had a chance to go through some of the news coverage websites & TV channels lately, most of them focusing on Maharashtra assembly elections.
It’s not surprising that Raj Thackeray was the biggest villain for almost all of the Indian ‘national’ media, most of them stayed focused on the Thackerays & hardly anything was noticed against a poor performing Congress government.
The Congress party has once again utilized the media very smartly to their advantage, which in fact, is quite a good political quality.

However, what I saw in the media under ‘Reactions against Raj’ was appalling & disappointing to say the least.
Some people called him Jinnah, some called Maharashtra a new Pakistan (WTF, WT big F)! Many of the online readers comfortably used the F*** word against him, there was no dearth of online abuse for MNS & no level of decency while using this ‘freedom of expression’.
Even more shocking is that none of the ‘national’ media houses bothered to stop this cheap level of anger-venting.

And not for just supporting what I like, but honestly, all the MNS fans (at least in my view) have maintained that decency and honored the ‘right’ expressions, which is heartening to see.

Has Indian media divided us? Aren’t they biased?

I say again & again that Raj Thackeray has been misinterpreted. He’s the only politician I have ever listened to or read who has the balls to talk against SLUMS.
I dare any of India’s national parties talk against hazards and threats from Slums, can you guys come forward and speak?
Anyway, let me not further get into MNS, their agenda & Mumbai-Maharashtra’s problem.

Indian media comfortably influences the literate of India, it has made pseudo-intellectuals borne everywhere.
Most of Indian internet users are literate, since India’s not so much used to the internet yet.
Look what ‘most educated’ people talk? Doesn’t that sound as a ‘verbal abuse’?

Consistently failing to play any constructive role over the time, Indian media has developed itself into a hypocrite phenomenon.

Is Indian media a new religion in India?
Why blame extremists, look at Indian Media … they have made the most educated group go crazy!

Literate (let me just use the term ‘India literates’ henceforth) people follow blindly what’s presented to them through this media (you can’t blame them … sorry, you can’t blame us … for that).

We’re driven by media conclusions so much that we don’t wanna verify anything for ourselves.

We very well know the rule: once a Madness/Religion is followed by many, it multiplies rapidly.

Isn’t this the same media that projected Narendra Modi as modern day Jinnah few years ago? (who, IMO, is now the best Chief minister in India)

Isn’t this the same media that caused a major embarrassment to India, reporting false against China? (and later, not disclose it). It went on to be labeled India’s fear.

I came across some videos claiming tampering with Varun Gandhi’s remarks too (not very sure on that, though)

These guys are the first to report ‘famous’ side of the story and suppress the other.
Same happened to MNS protests, same happened to doctors & pilots on strike, students from AIIMS-Delhi protesting against reservations.

I wonder why don’t we ever listen to what our Congress government is up to? (not that am against or for them)
Or a recent one, projecting the India-born Nobel prize laureate so much that he was irritated by Indians.

On the issue of staying fair and notwithstanding other aspects of media, let’s just hope we become a better media, rather than an emotional & igniting one.

When India talks business

Constant unyielding comparisons:

I happen to attend few of the startup events (in person or over the web) recently. Most of them were related to doing business in India or just say business in India. India, one of the biggest markets, probably one of the few of the balanced ones in terms of the range of products and services, stands as one of the largest growing economy of the world. Many other nations and investors would be interested in India. As in any typical Indian business event, I saw lots of promise and pretty active hope with beaming confidence of the investors as well as the entrepreneurs.

Getting inspired is very common and sometimes natural in India. We look at others’ examples for learning; which in some carefully limited sense, is good and preferred. However, I at every time during any discussion on business, could not help listen to the US (and sometimes, European or Chinese) examples more than India-centered conversation. Do we compare too much?

Comparison plays a very important part of lifestyle in India which was sadly seen on business stage as well. Do we have to follow the US or China or some other nation on development?

Lack of emphasis on our strengths:

Dependant and comparative attitude has already driven us away from our strengths. Despite having huge cultivated land for agriculture, we could not bring science and technology at the core inside of the agro business. It is not very surprising that farming, agriculture, fruit and flower cultivation techniques, water and land related innovations have emanated from US and European nations (notably, Switzerland, Netherlands and Israel from Asia). Have we forgotten our strengths all together? Despite an amazingly big market for vegetables/dairy/farm products in India, we rarely see green startups.

Agree to high extent that we have been blessed with some of the best Tech brains too, Indians are probably one of the most competently techie personalities. What concerns me is that despite a section in our nation being so strong, technology penetration into ordinary households is poor. The tech creamy layer has failed (Or just say, is not inspired enough) to spread it around India. Secondly, gradient of difference between people ‘attracted’ to tech startups and green startups is alarmingly steep west. On the top of my mind, it seems that this scenario has led India to an imbalance: despite high foreign currency investments, technology advancements and the IT, India’s still way behind the world in infrastructure (poor communication, poor networks and pathetic handling of emergency), pollution control, damage control due to natural hazards or calamities, and resisting the global warming.

Personal point in case: when I talked to investors and VCs about these issues needing to be addressed, few of them turned away blaming it all on Indian government while few just surrendered admitting their failures or impatience to deal with the Indian government.

Media negative propagation, not using media well:

Can media pressurize the government positively? Has the business community failed to focus on pressing (but equally potential) issues and spreading it across? Is the Indian media biased or just lagging behind the era? Has the term ‘constructive medium’ of communication vanished and Media’s now defined as ‘something that reports what happens around’?

Ignoring whichever the reason and whatever that has happened so far, India to become a strong nation needs its Business community and Media to focus constructively on long (or very long) term internal buildup [and not just look at short-term financial and strategic gains]

Not using the Indian Diaspora well:

Before I start on this, I must appreciate all startup incubators to make conscious efforts towards getting the ‘Rich and Investing’ Indian Diaspora around the world attracted to new business setups.

India is nation that commendably utilizes the outside currency earned by its citizens for growth. Reportedly, India has the highest incoming remittances which must be appreciated by even the most ardent critiques of the nation.

However, these incoming funds (except the notable exceptions of FIIs and FDIs and some VCs) are not majorly directed towards India’s growth in a balanced direction; SMBs which form India’s core of business. To attract investors, we must give them Value and nothing else.

Government restrictions:

The Indian government also plays a spoilsport and is most responsible for too many restrictions in every sector related to business. Weak internal security is blamed on technology, speedy growth of Telecom and Internet is always checked with numerous restrictions. India is still not a business friendly nation. What’s worse is that there has been no explicit attempt made to move forward in the direction. Any proposal to start a business is met with thousands of paper licenses which take almost an era.

Indian government, it seems, likes India to remain a nation of Snakes and Sadhus (with weak and poor villages). Not just the internal security (actually, sheer lack of it) but India’s ignorant attitude towards healthcare, education and layered social structure make it difficult for core development issues to be concentrated upon. Every election in India is still ruled by issues on castes and religions.

It is however astounding to see Mumbai as one of the major financial centers of the world and as one of the most optimistic markets at this time. Can’t help but imagine only if the government was a little more supportive!

There’s need to attract outsiders (not related to India) to come and invest and do business in India; many pillars of this structure; majorly infrastructure, security and the society need to change.