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Archive for the ‘Political Marketing’ Category

Modern day Segregation

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on August 2, 2013

untouchables caste india

The “untouchables” constituted the lowest rung of the caste system in India. Centuries of reform movements have alleviated the sufferings of those condemned to the bottom of this man made social hierarchy. However, segregation is only too evident in many parts of India. My most recent encounter with such social injustice was during my last political marketing campaign that took me to rural heartland of north India.

While campaigning in villages, I came across demographic distribution that fit a pattern. In every village the “untouchables” lived in a cluster around 200 meters away from the rest of the population. Though disturbing, this did not come as a shock to me. I was aware of the fact that we Indians were far from ridding ourselves completely of the ancient evil. However, what I observed next was disturbing. In every village the “untouchable” cluster would be towards the south while others would be in the northern part of the village. This layout was the same in all of the over 150 villages I visited. No exceptions. This pattern had to have a reasoning behind it. Hence, I inquired.

A local “wise” old man told me that since the wind blew from the northern direction, having the “untouchables” live in that part of the village would mean that the wind would be  “unclean” when it reached the other parts of the village. Winds that touched the “untouchables” would be dirty and upper caste people could not risk becoming “corrupt” by coming in contact with the same wind.

In his latest book “An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions” Nobel laureate and economist Amartya Sen reasons how India, in pursuit of economic growth has neglected expansion of human capabilities and freedom. The neglect of physical and social infrastructure (health, education etc.) has meant that while we have achieved economic growth, real development has not kept pace with it. He couldn’t be more right.

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I don’t get this…..

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 11, 2012

This is me right now

David H Petraeus, CIA Director is forced to resign due to the uncovering of an extra marital affair.

Stop. Wait a second. The CIA Director could not cover up his own special ops??? How in the world did he qualify to become the Director of the CIA??? Are you f***ing kidding me!!! Or am I the only one who is stunned. I have no problems with the man and his misdeeds, but how could he not keep it a secret???

So how did he become the head of a Secret Service? Who in the world nominated Petraeus?

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……………………………………………..

Ans.

That’s it. I’m Done!

Posted in Political Marketing | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

Part 2: (Dis)United States of I-N-D-I-A

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 9, 2012

Shannon, on one of her comments shared, “The happiest and most successful countries seem to be the smaller ones. Their populations are more homogonous, which allows them to have a national identity while still respecting other cultures who are different. Because they are smaller, policies are more efficient and better able to help rather than hinder.”

I couldn’t agree more with her. Small entities are managed better than larger ones and there is no doubt in my mind that small governments are the best governments. If we gift the government even a bit of our freedom, it will enslave us for the rest of our lives. India is a great example of completely diverses states glued together to form a nation. Truly Diverse! Its a big state with a big government, and I see problems with both. Our founding fathers were aware of this drawback and hence incorporated a system of governance that empowered small administrative groups called Panchayats. The aim was to give governance in the hands of small bodies at village levels. However, vested interests in the State and Federal Governments stripped the small bodies of their powers and relevance. Today we are back to becoming a nation of big states being governed by big governments.

So why not treat India like a Private Company and consider a demerger of the enterprise? Why not look at realigning our borders and boundaries? Why not divide it and yet maintain common interests like the EU? A lot of people argue that being united gives us the economic strentgh that we now enjoy in the world. They couldn’t be farther from the truth. Real economic strength is borne out of innovation, intellect and moral excellence. What India enjoys right now is the result of overpopulation translating into cheap labor. This prosperity is not sustainable and it is only a matter of time before China, East Europe and Phillippines overtake us in the services sector we so brag about. Here’s a post I had published highlighting how being a collection of so many varied states is limiting our social and intellectual growth.

Non-kashmiris cannot buy land in Kashmir.There is 90% probability that you and I will have troubles acquiring 100% ownership of land in many districts of Himachal Pradesh. To visit Mizoram, non residents need to apply a permit from the Mizoram House. A permit of 15 days is given to visit the state. Same is the case for Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Infact until 5 years back, a permit was required to visit any of the North-Eastern states. On the flip side, the residents of these states have no restrictions whatsoever when it comes to mobility and ownership in the rest of I-n-d-i-a.

Where are all the ”intellectuals” who ridiculed Raj Thackeray when he proposed a permit like system to be implemented for Mumbai?Either it was a case of sheer unawareness or convenient ignorance for their utter disregard for this suggestion. The argument that cordoning off Mumbai is against the constitutional ethos falls flat because it exists in several parts of India.

Lets imagine a scenario where all the states of I-n-d-i-a develop a non porous border. Which means that a person from state of Orissa will need a permit to enter the state of Maharashtra and vice versa. In order to do so, he will have to prove what value addition he brings to Maharashtra.

The consequence of such a scenario is pretty evident. The system will ensure,that very few residents of sick states of I-n-d-i-a will have an option to leave their state.This will force the local populace to fore go the escapist attitude that they presently harbor. In doing so, they will be compelled to work on their own soil and hold their local government accountable for the poor condition of their state. Bad governance of the local representatives will no longer be forgiven since the populace will be left with no outlet that they currently enjoy in the form of developing states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu etc.

A system as corrupt, infested and hollow as the one in most I-n-d-i-a-n states can be cured by nothing less than a revolution.To instigate a revolution, generation of profound resentment and anger in the people is a must. Putting a cap on the immigration outlet that people have access to, will build a pressure cooker like situation that, with time will explode into a revolution and bring about the change these states need.

In absence of such controls, we will only end up with suffocating and ailing metros/cosmos that will be fed on by parasites because an immunity system was not built in time.

Walled states could hence result in turning India into a collection of individually rich states. A united I-n-d-i-a is a classic example of an organization where de-merger of its 28 departments(states) could yield a better enterprise value than that of a merged entity slowed down by its size and weight.

Disunited States of I-n-d-i-a may not be a bad idea after all.

Posted in Philosophy, Political Marketing | Tagged: , , | 16 Comments »

Political campaigns and the inane mainstream news media

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 23, 2012

One of my several roles in life is that of a political campaign consultant. I took on this field because it is one of the very few domains out there that combine logical thinking, statistical studies, psychology, emotional manipulation, power, adrenalin rush,money and greed. Having experienced campaigning in the dirtiest and meanest places, I have gained an understanding that I thought I could never ever attain. And with this, my respect for politicians fighting it out for people’s votes has grown tremendously. It is not easy to be a politician. Especially not when you are fighting elections. The process drains you physically, emotionally, monetarily and forces you to shed every pound of ego from your mind. And the worst, there is no second position in politics. Winner takes it all!

There is one institution that has disappointed me to no end. Media. I hold it solely responsible for ruining the political campaigning process and stripping it of any sense, logic and relevance. The TRP driven, sensationalism espousing news broadcasters have absolutely no interest in the interests of the electorate. At the cost of relevant concerns, only those issues are highlighted that tend to generate “noise”. Self proclaimed political gurus and analysts ask questions that are as dumb as their minds. Honestly, these analysts could not be farther away from ground reality. Yet they dominate discussions and do their bit to increasing the “noise”.

Also, the media loses no chance to pounce upon an error by a candidate and turn it overnight into a scandal. Give me a break! Candidates are human too. While the harm caused by this may not be apparent to the electorate, but it is one of the most injurious acts that weaken our democracy and in fact make  irrelevant. Under constant media glare, which is not necessarily public glare, the candidates become actors. The most honest individuals are forced to become choreographed dummies driven by campaign strategists such as myself. I too transform into a puppet who’s strings are being pulled by an illusory world created by the media.

Why is it that the media (and not the people) refuses to believe that a candidate can change his belief or stand? Why is it that a candidate is held responsible for what he may have said thirty years back and a change of heart is considered a sin? I don’t mind if a candidate has transgressed in his past,we all have. Why can we not elect a representative who is more like us, more human.

Yes we can. But the media does not let us. It fills our minds with attributes that we would never use naturally to elect our representatives. And why does the media do this? Because it, like all of us, needs to survive and prosper. Nothing wrong with that, only that prosperity in media has been replaced by greed and zealousness.

We need to recognize the difference between expert opinion and truth. Many times the latter is what emanates from our heart. Trust that opinion over any broadcasting attempt to sabotage your thinking. In Democracy, we are the experts. Realize this truth and cast your vote.

But I cannot wrap this post without expressing my utter dismay at the end of today’s presidential debate. It was the first debate that I saw live at 5:30 am local time. Under normal circumstances, I would have never woken up that early to waste an hour of my life, but this morning at 5:00 am I got a call from my logistics company saying that my car had arrived outside my house. What!Who in this world delivers a shipment at 5 am! Nevertheless, I dragged myself out of bed and once the car was safely parked in the garage, it hit me that it was debate time. So I watched. I cringed. And then these lines by DMX ran in my mind in response to what the leaders were saying:

Y’all gon’ make me lose my mind up in HERE, up in here 
Y’all gon’ make me go all out up in here, up in here 
Y’all gon’ make me act a FOOL up in HERE, up in here 
Y’all gon’ make me lose my cool up in here, up in here

That’s it.I’m done.

Posted in Political Marketing | Tagged: , , , , | 15 Comments »

What She Said. What I Thought.

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 5, 2012

“Over the past few years as first lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country. And everywhere I have gone and the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.”

Oh no! Another fairytale recital. Please, please don’t lead me to where I think you are going!

“I’ve seen it in teachers in a near bankrupt school district to vowed to keep teaching without pay.  I — I have seen it in people become heroes at a moment’s notice, diving into harm’s way to save others, flying across the country to put out a fire, diving for hours to bail out a town. And, I’ve seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families. In — in wounded warriors who tell me they are not just going to walk again, they are going to run and they are going to run marathons. In the young men blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan who said simply, “I’d give my eyes and 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done, and what I can still do.”

Really! So now the government is praising people for fighting difficult situations. Aren’t they in that situation because of the government? You can’t finance the school district, so you appease the teachers by praising their will power. You hail the spirit of the young soldiers, and so easily forget the fact that you had promised to get them out of there before they were blinded. Empathizing with people is a good way to escape one’s own guilt in contributing to their sorry state. But its a temporary escape.

“Every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth.”

There are more than a few billion people in this world that will contest that claim. Stop trying to hypnotize people into believing they live in paradise.

” I loved Barack just the way he was.  You see, even back then, when Barack was a Senator and presidential candidate, to me, he was still the guy who picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by in a hole in the passenger side door. He was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster.”

Another attempt at celebrating struggles and minimal living. I support minimal living but only when it is out of choice. I do not like this strategy of trying to make people feel wonderful about their struggles by recounting your own. The truth is that while you have left your struggles way behind, the common man has been living far too long with them. Do not try to allay their frustrations and anger by pretending to be one of them. You are not!

“And for years, men no more qualified than she was, men she actually trained, were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack’s family continue to scrap by. But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus, arriving at work before anyone else, giving her best without complaint or regret.  And she would often tell Barack, “So long as you kids do well Bar, that is all that really matters.”

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock….I have still not heard anything that makes Barack electable. By this very example, every Tom Dick and Harry in my neighborhood is electable.Please First Lady, tell me something that is relevant. How will he create jobs, reduce debt, bring soldiers back etc. etc. Please!

“We learned about dignity and decency.  That how hard you work matters more than how much you make.  That helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.”

That does it. I’m feeling sick now. Another attempt to belittle wealth. Do not celebrate poverty. Beware!This statement reeks of extreme socialism. Did they write this speech in a Seance session with Marx’s ghost?

“That’s how he brought our economy and the brink of collapse to creating jobs again.  Jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs. Right here in the United States of America.”

Of course, in socialist lingo “good jobs” do not mean “decently paying” jobs. And since she has already set the scene for minimal living, a pittance of a salary seems mighty good now, doesn’t it?

“Because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make.  It is about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

Again! I thought only spiritual gurus talked like this. So obviously, Americans have to get used to lower and continuously decreasing  salaries.

“the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle.  That is what has made my story and Barack’s story and — and so many American stories possible. And let me tell you something, I say all of this tonight, not just as a first lady, no, not just as a wife.  You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still mom-in-chief.”

Another blatant attempt to play with Herd Mentality. Hope!Hope! Hope! But how long can one keep the public hypnotized under the pretext of Hope!

Conclusion: Everybody get ready to come face to face with cyclic nature of global business. Economic balance has shifted to the East. Jobs have gone and it will take some time for them to come back. What most politicians can do is only condition your minds into accepting struggles, lower salaries and minimal living. Once U.S labor is cheaper than Chinese and Indian labor,companies will bring manufacturing and service jobs back to U.S. The next time someone from India calls IT Helpdesk, it will be Richard answering the phone and saying, “Hello my name is Raj. How can I help you today?”

Disclaimer: I am a student of philosophy and politics. My analysis is only an attempt to share my thoughts and soliciting both conforming and opposing views from readers.

 

 

Posted in Political Marketing, Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Go ahead, make my day!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on August 31, 2012

The RNC last night was nothing less than a grand, grand show. But what stood out for me, and for millions others was when Clint took the stage. Yes, he brought along a bashing style that didn’t go down too well with the leftists and the “moral” police. He attacked O with a tenacity that many pundits find abhorring. However, what he said was profound. His message not only enthused the Republicans but will go a long way in swinging a lot of independent vote towards the GOP. He left an impact. A Sudden Impact!

“They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is trying, Oprah was crying. I was even crying.  And then finally — and I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country.”

A great dig at what herd mentality and collective emotions can lead to. In 2008, the message of hope and change brought about a voting pattern that disregarded policies and principles. Playing with people’s emotions and leveraging them works wonders in winning an election. But soon, facts emerge. Rationality prevails. Clint highlighted this point beautifully.

” But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. You know, I mean — you thought that was something worth doing.  We didn’t check with the Russians to see how did it — they did there for 10 years.”

Clearly attacks the tendency of the present government to not consult others with regards to policies that matter. The O government has been regularly criticized for neglecting bipartisan politics. Well, if the democrats don’t care to ask the republicans about legislations, why would they even think of asking Russia about how they messed up Afghanistan.

” Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party.”

Great tactic to bring Biden into the picture. Too often the VP gets lost in campaigns even though the VP’s thought process and role is absolutely vital in the government. If the VP is crazy, its a great idea to bash the crap out of him. Go after the weak links in the oppositions armor.

“I think attorneys are so busy — you know they’re always taught to argue everything, always weigh everything, weigh both sides.”

If there is one thing that O has lagged in during his term, it is decision making. Yes, it is a good thing to discuss matters with a diverse set of intellectuals. However, late action in many cases equals inaction. O has developed an image of being exactly that and a clever ploy that Clint used against him.

“It is that, you, we — we own this country.”

This line should go down in history as the one that wakes up every single citizen. “We own this country”. And you know what a big government does? It takes that ownership away from you. Huge debts translate into foreign sovereigns owning American assets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see how much of the U.S is currently owned by China and Saudi Arabia. Like they say in mortgage, you do not own a house until you have paid off the whole debt. So it is with national debt. You do not own your country with such a huge national debt. How comfortable does that make you feel?

Clint’s message was for all. He did not delve into sensitive issues but addressed general concerns that should unite the entire nation. He came, he saw, he conquered!

 

 

 

Posted in Political Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

(Dis)United States of I-N-D-I-A

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on August 21, 2012

Non-kashmiris cannot buy land in Kashmir.There is 90% probability that you and I will have troubles acquiring 100% ownership of land in many districts of Himachal Pradesh. To visit Mizoram, non residents need to apply a permit from the Mizoram House. A permit of 15 days is given to visit the state. Same is the case for Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Infact until 5 years back, a permit was required to visit any of the North-Eastern states. On the flip side, the residents of these states have no restrictions whatsoever when it comes to mobility and ownership in the rest of I-n-d-i-a.

Where are all the ”intellectuals” who ridiculed Raj Thackeray when he proposed a permit like system to be implemented for Mumbai?Either it was a case of sheer unawareness or convenient ignorance for their utter disregard for this suggestion. The argument that cordoning off Mumbai is against the constitutional ethos falls flat because it exists in several parts of India.

Lets imagine a scenario where all the states of I-n-d-i-a develop a non porous border. Which means that a person from state of Orissa will need a permit to enter the state of Maharashtra and vice versa. In order to do so, he will have to prove what value addition he brings to Maharashtra.

The consequence of such a scenario is pretty evident. The system will ensure,that very few residents of sick states of I-n-d-i-a will have an option to leave their state.This will force the local populace to fore go the escapist attitude that they presently harbor. In doing so, they will be compelled to work on their own soil and hold their local government accountable for the poor condition of their state. Bad governance of the local representatives will no longer be forgiven since the populace will be left with no outlet that they currently enjoy in the form of developing states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu etc.

A system as corrupt, infested and hollow as the one in most I-n-d-i-a-n states can be cured by nothing less than a revolution.To instigate a revolution, generation of profound resentment and anger in the people is a must. Putting a cap on the immigration outlet that people have access to, will build a pressure cooker like situation that, with time will explode into a revolution and bring about the change these states need.

In absence of such controls, we will only end up with suffocating and ailing metros/cosmos that will be fed on by parasites because an immunity system was not built in time.

Walled states could hence result in turning India into a collection of individually rich states. A united I-n-d-i-a is a classic example of an organization where de-merger of its 28 departments(states) could yield a better enterprise value than that of a merged entity slowed down by its size and weight.

Disunited States of I-n-d-i-a may not be a bad idea after all.

 

 

 

Posted in Philosophy, Political Marketing | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Political Diary: How to Exploit Herd Mentality Trick 1

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on August 16, 2012

Overview:

This is an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) that India employs for casting votes. The voter must press the blue button next to the name and symbol of the candidate he or she wants to elect.

Requirements:

3 to 5 loyal supporters at every voting booth in the constituency.

Modus Operandi:

1) On the day of the elections, station 3 to 5 of your loyal supporters at every polling booth in the constituency.

2) Give them strict instructions that they should be among the early birds in line when the polling begins.

3) Just before standing in the line, the perpetrators smudge their forefingers with blue ink.

4) When they press the blue button with their forefinger, they must do it in a way that some of their ink mark gets imprinted on the button and some on the white area around the button. This will be visible in the form of a hazy fingerprint.

Outcome:

When people get to the EVMs to cast their vote, the undecided and the not so strongly decided voters will see the finger imprints on the blue button next to your name and symbol. Their immediate reaction will be to press the same button because they would want to go along with what they have been tricked into believing is public opinion.

Effectiveness:

I have heard varying claims as to the increase in votes this trick brings to a candidate. However, in an election every vote is priceless. I have not studied the difference in its impact in rural and urban constituencies. I would imagine that herd mentality is more prevalent in the countryside but seeing the growing level of stupidity in city folks, I won’t be surprised if I’m wrong.

Limited Scope:

Once more than one candidate starts using this chicanery, the method loses its utility.

Disclaimer:

I do not subscribe to or encourage use of such deception. What I have stated above is what I have seen and experienced in real life elections. I strongly support educating the electorate of ways crooked politicians employ to play with their vulnerable psyches.

Featured Image courtesy of Winky from Oxford,UK

 

 

 

Posted in Political Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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