Thursday, May 7, 2009

Poll Sell

There was a time when the walls in Calcutta were plastered with posters and graffiti endorsing political parties, once the poll frenzy began. Thanks to Court's order, that has been curtailed, well almost. But the political parties have found out more sophisticated ways to advertise themselves, which is what else but hiring advertising agencies. So now you have TVCs, press, outdoor, web advertising, the entire works done by leading agencies of the country for political parties And that, is something I am so afraid of. I work in advertising and I do my bit of selling aerated drinks when you actually should be having water. And I have designed cigarette packs and glamourised a life-threatening thing initially in my career. So yes, I am guilty of it all. But I believe, endorsing a political party and its people are a different ballgame altogether. And I am glad I am not in an agency which endorses them. Because I know, I will not do it, just like I will not work on cigarette brands. EVER.

How can we endorse criminals, mass murderers, people who have orchestrated hate crimes and genocide against a section of people or a particular community? How can we advertise them! Glorify them! And more so when we might not believe in a particular party’s ideology (if it has any). I am glad I am not part of the team which sits down and ideates on how to ‘sell’ a politician to masses. A politician, who might have criminal cases pending against him, or has led an armed mob to maul a particular community, or has twisted the system’s arm to facilitate genocide against a particular community.

But then I am an advertising guy and my job is to sell things. Only thing I can try doing is sell a product which is honest. So here am me selling you a politician who has what it takes. Ok, on a serious note, we know that not all politicians are corrupt. There are people out there who are doing it to actually make a difference. One such person is Mr. Arun Bhatia, an ex IAS Officer who is contesting from Pune. An honest man of steely resolve who in his own word, “paid the price of denial of promotion, frequent transfers (26 transfers in as many years of service in India), numerous charges and enquiries, bad assessment reports, ridicule by peers, seniors and subordinates, lack of support when giant offenders like Glaxo or senior officers and politicians were prosecuted by me, ugly threats from the Bombay land mafia.” You can read more about the man (And I insist, you must) on his site,

Delhi went to poll today. I could not vote as I am registered in Calcutta and I haven’t had it transferred to Delhi. The total turnout in Delhi was roughly 50%, while sometime back Bombay recorded a shameful 43%. I wonder what is it with people. People in Bombay had come out in full force a la Rang De Basanti to light candles after 26th November’s terrorist attack. Roughly 4 months later, the very people took the first train, bus or car out of Bombay on polling day, just to enjoy the long weekend. How sorry is that! As they say, a nation gets the government it deserves; I hope the 50% of you in Delhi who have voted kept that in mind while voting.