Thursday, January 25, 2007

India Poised - Worth the effort ?

India Poised... The very first glimpse of this campaign caught my eye, and I read the Times of India for the first time in 2007. They started this year with a full-page anthem, and named it 'India Poised' - A campaign that would run for six weeks, and brings us a critical assessment of India's readiness for any serious claim to international fame.

I was in Ahmedabad at that time, and when I got back to Pune (where I am currently based in), I said to my roommate, "I want a copy of that edition of the TOI. It is a collector's edition, and imbibes the true spirit of India in every line of that anthem."

It was a few days later that I came to know about the website dedicated to this campaign ( And I was further impressed. If I decided to call the above page a collector's edition, what would I call the front page of the TOI - 16th August, 1947 edition (Celebrating the birth of India's freedom), what would I call the one on Feb 11, 1952 (Celebrating India's first ever test victory over England in the Madras Test), what would I call the one on May 21, 1965 (First ascent of Mt. Everest by an Indian - M.S. Kohli), and what would I call all those pages that celebrate the TRUE spirit of Indian history ? This is what caught my eye about this wonderful campaign.

India Poised is just another campaign for some, who might say, "We had India Shining at one point in time. It's India Poised this time. Maybe we'll have India Rocks sometime soon". That's true, but we need to realize the fact that India Shining was a completely political campaign, while India Poised is media-driven. There were different goals behind each one of them, and these goals may not even be fulfilled. But, the point is that India Poised imbibes the true spirit in me (and maybe a few more). And it is this very spirit that is there to prove the world today that India is coming... Beware !!

This campaign celebrates 2007 as the year of India. As Jaideep Bose puts it, "The real story of 2006 is that we've gone from thinking small to thinking big. American kids are routinely warned by their teachers that if they don't take their science and math seriously, the Indians and the Chinese will beat them to the best colleges and jobs in America......"

The India Poised campaign also talks about the most tragic moments of Indian history, which have shocked India ! The day when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, the day when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, the 1962 Indo-China war, the Bhopal Gas tragedy and many more. Each of these events has left a long lasting impression on an Indian heart, and in the long run today, has given each one of us ample strength, to see eye to eye with anybody in this world, no matter how powerful he/she may be, now matter how superior he/she may be, not matter WHO he/she is ! This is because today, we can face any question with dignity and respect - Questions that forced us to look down, questions that we feared, questions that we chose to ignore and ran away from ! But answers to these very questions are our strength today, as we carry the FACE OF INDIA to the world !

TOI also had a poll on who do we think is the "Face of India". It could be one of Amartya Sen, Amitabh Bachchan, Mahatma Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, NR Narayana Murthy, Sachin Tendulkar. Each of those is a legend in himself, and rules a particular sector ! But, for me, the Face of India is one, who is respected around the world, not for his skills, but for his attitude - Not for his style, but for his guts - Not for how he has changed India, but for the way he has changed the world. And this led me to choose only one : Mahatma Gandhi for me, is the clear winner as the FACE OF INDIA !

So, when we ask, "Is India Poised worth the effort ?", my reply to that would be, "Yes, it is worth every bit of the effort. It tells me why I am lucky to have been a part of the experience called 'India', and it reminds me that I have a very big responsibility to make sure that this experience is BIG !".