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Lead India campaign: a wonderful campaign; but doesn’t quite hit the spot

May 30, 2009
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About the movement

It was started on January 1, 2007 by the Times of India highlighting the present situation despite the 60 year long period of independence.

What started off as a simple print story in the front page of the January 1st issue soon became a nation-wide movement aimed at bringing about awareness among the citizens and not just make them sit at home and grumble about the various problems across the country but make them do something about it.

It went from a simple print story in a newspaper to a mass movement for social and political change. The idea was to fan a movement that will move forward thanks to press, internet, television content such as reports, speech making, voting and public participation.

Amitabh Bachchan was so inspired by the idea of the movement that he actually read the particular newspaper article out on live television. It was immediately followed by an advertisement that was released with Amitabh Bachchan endorsing it. This set the stage for the movement’s serious emergence.

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This single ad was downloaded several times within a span of 24 hours and it caused a nation wide response to be evoked.

This triggered the creation of a movement. Christened “Lead India”, it aimed at empowering the common man to actually do something about the various problems instead of just sitting about and bantering about it.

The movement was launched, again through a newspaper ad and also a television ad; this time endorsed by Shahrukh Khan.

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Over the years, the movement gained momentum with hoarding ads, television spots and internet and was endorsed by several people ranging from corporate brains to beauty queens and politicians.

This ad was released in this direction. Mostly, you’d have seen this one.

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It also initiated a search for the future political leader which ultimately became a reality show in a Star TV channel. 34000 people participated in it; from which 24 were selected and ultimately it whittled down to 8. This selection was done based on the popular format followed by all reality shows: public voting.

This selected 8 were then put on national television. The 8 travelled throughout the nation, directly involving them in public life and garnering support for their motive.

This also led to the creation of the Lead India 09, a movement aimed at making youth exercise their right to vote. It had a good impact on the number of youth who turned up for voting I guess.

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What I think about this whole thing

Well, yeah it’s great to do this kind of a movement. But certainly it isn’t inspiring enough to do something about it; at least for me. The thing is that such videos happen to create momentary inspiration in most (but real inspiration in some yes); but that is not enough, usually, to take up the person and involve him/her in the movement for the nation’s cause. Sure anyone can get easily inspired and swept by this. It is highly possible that people on exposure to such issues will immediately sign up for the cause. But are they really inspired to do something about this and dedicate their lives to such a cause? This question cannot and should not be asked immediately after the screening of this to a mass audience; but should be posed to a similar gathering sometime later, perhaps a week. This would give them ample amount of time to weigh it up before jumping in. Of course, it should also be ensured that the audience is constantly reminded about this as well.

To me, it’s certainly not a good enough reason to get involved. I hate politics and the dirty world that comes along with it. Sure working for the nation’s development is something great. But for me, well it isn’t about sitting in a room full of “ye olde gentlemen and ladies”, who have never seen the real world, except when it’s campaigning time, and debating about the future of the nation. I would like to do something hands on; not sit in an all AC environment all day long debating about worthless stuff.

There’s something else about the video – it’s political in nature. I mean sure you can make an impact by getting into politics and all that. But well what’s the use – you pass a bill granting relief to farmers affected by drought or rainfall or something. What happens? The money is side lined into the pockets of some guy who is in charge of the distribution. Maybe the person sitting next to you, who greatly supported the bill, might be the person who made the most money in the process. You may think I am being cynical; but think isn’t it better to start an organization that collects money and distributes money straight to the stricken farmers? Not only are you ensuring that the money is delivered to the correct person, you also get to experience that satisfaction and joy that comes out of giving and seeing the person receive it and be thankful to it. That’s something that cannot be achieved sitting in an AC room and engaging in mindless banter with people, who don’t give a damn about what happens to the farmers unless it’s their state or their vote bank.

Of course, you are not to get inspired by what I said either: weigh it down, both sides and also any other dimension that may exist and only then should you jump in. Do post a comment here; I’d be glad to learn what you think about this issue.

If you are thinking about doing something in this direction, then I suggest you start off with a few like-minded people; sure what I said is true, you’ll have difficulties; but hey if it were so easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it??

(You must be thinking I am a person in two minds. Well it’s necessary to point out all possible angles of the story according to me (I have pointed out all that strikes me now); big picture is more important and so is the thinking that the big picture generates in one on how to repaint it.)

You can keep yourself updated about the Lead India movement here.

From → Miscellaneous

One Comment
  1. A well written article in response to a well choreographed video.

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