The “India Shining” ad agency shot into fame! Its ad campaign with the theme was raved about in the media and the professional marketing and advertising circles! But post elections what has been the real impact? India is not shining!

Looking back, as an ad professional, I find the campaign proved once again that advertising is a “dream merchants” business. India was shining more on the outside, not so much deep down.
In that I feel this campaign was more a hype and not projecting the reality. I can think of a number of broad aspects to elucidate my view point. Let me list some here:
  1. As one headline in Times of India said “Aam Admi knocks out “India Shining”! This is so true. The government with all its diplomatic moves from Pakistan to cricket to privatization of PSUs, to even fee cut of IIMs, and of course the economic reforms started in the 90s, forgot about the masses altogether. It somehow did not allow all sections of society to participate in making India shine. It is said, if anything it made some section of society sit up and think that India was not shining for them!
  2. I personally believe, the Muslim vote bank went out and silently propagated against the Government. Gujarat riots were the last straw on the camels back, preceded by the aimless political tangle on Ram Mandir. Millions among the elite and masses violently disapproved all this in their hearts.
  3. Roti, Kapada, Makan, Health, Education, and other fundamental societal issues were left “unshining”. “India Inc” became the buzz word, and industry and business – global – became the guiding post within the reforms. Reforms are for business, but the benefit has to go to the society. This did not happen to be so with the financial scams, disinvestments and investments controversies, and no great improvement in mass product services and rural development.
  4. Vajpayee’s lieutenants became elitists in their own way, and also uncontrollable. They did what they liked, and basked in publicity! As elitist and knights in shining amour lost out badly in the elections. One does not have to name them here. They are well-known. Vajpayee delegated to them and concentrated on his image abroad -- with his Pakistan strategy at the centre of the stage
  5. Technology, all the hi-tech and the Internet was a plank for the few. Computers and IT are still for the “sophisticated” who indulge in surfing and chat, or for business. Not for the masses. In our infrastructure and day to day life we are still primitive—we cannot ignore this. IT has not touched the basic psychology and the hearts of the common man striving first hard to survive his personal and work life still.

    Even industry and business, the key users have to still think of the masses. Making “India Inc” socially responsible, with technology and innovations – both among the youth and veterans. It has to be a “vision” and “mission” backed by technology if you like. Not technology for technology sake, or to think to be on par with the West.

    The one lesson in all this is: that any government to “shine” has to think of the people (Indians) and not of itself. This something we learnt 50 years ago, but have forgotten it all 2000 onwards – for India of the new millennium?

    The new “Shining India” now looks to be in the hands of Sonia Gandhi, who fought against all odds, in anger for the hurt she felt in the shooting down of Rajiv Gandhi. She stands vindicating her husband’s murder. She today holds, and will hold further, credibility in making India shine -- not only for the world, but also most especially from within -- for its people.

    Come on, SHINE ON INDIA !