Slogans and Sloganeering
Nation of Versifiers
War of Succession
Matter of Genetics
Think it Through
Slogans and Sloganeering
Jairam Ramesh who is in charge of the Congress Party’s war room and fine-tunes the party’s election strategy, is a very sad man indeed. In a flash of genius he coined the thumpingly successful Congress slogan, Congress ka haath aam aadmi ke saath. It was potentially so comforting even if it was a mere shadow of the real hand which possibly was manipulating the treasury combination lock. And how authentic did it sound coming from the lips of Sonia Gandhi.
That political upstart Arvind Kejrival, in one fell stroke, stole the horses from the Congress stable before it could be bolted by naming his party as Aam Aadmi Party. Now if the Aam Aadmi is in a different Party, his hand cannot remain with Congress. Therefore, the need to search for a new catch phrase.
The Party sloganeers – and there is no dearth of them in the Party – have now come with a real new one: Har Haath Shakti: Har haath Tarakki. Lest it should escape your notice, mark how secular it is. One word Shakti is Sanskrit-derived and the other Tarakki is from Farsi.
Wait for the voters’ decision whether it is catchy enough to appeal to them.
Nation of Versifiers
As heirs to the two great epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata, – we as a nation have a proclivity to versify on all possible occasions. It is most marked at the time of electioneering.
Chronologically, the Nehru era was, unfortunately, a barren patch in the history of slogans and sloganeering. The first memorable slogan we had was Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan. And the credit for that goes to Lal Bahadur Shastri whose greatness as a decision-maker in our history is grossly underestimated. He was clear-sighted enough to foresee the importance of our armed forces in the defense of our borders, and the peasantry of India to make us self-reliant to feed our countrymen.
Indira Gandhi, after Shastri, left an enviable legacy of slogans. She rowed to power on the Garibi Hatao slogan. Then, remember, Jayaprakash Narayan’s famous call Indira Hatao, Desh Bachao. That vastly helped major opposition parties to come under the umbrella of Janata Party to trounce the Congress in the 1977 parliamentary polls.
Bari Bari Sabki Bari, Abki Bari Atal Bihari. This was coined at a Lucknow political rally in 1996, and was used by the BJP to project Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the next prime minister. In it the party succeeded though for a very short term. Vajpayee was PM for only 13 days in 1996.
Congress ka Haath, Aam Aadmi ke Saath won Congress the 2004 poll. And here comes AAP and robs Congress of its much-prized haath.
It was in 1984, when bitya Priyanka first visited Amethi with her dad Rajiv. A young poet – and there’s no dearth of poets in our land – called Jagdish Piyush, coined the then famous slogan: Amethi ka danka, bitiya Priyanka. Now that AAP’s poet laureate Kumar Vishwas has challenged her brother Rahul on their home turf, Piyush has been re-deployed to coin appropriate responses to counter AAP slogan workshop.
Here’s the latest crop. ‘Rahul ek mashaal hai, naya Jawaharlal hai’,‘Swapn Sonia ka sakar; sabko bhojan ka adhikar’.
That internationally memorable chant behind the win of America's first African-American president in 2008 must have been inspired by our history of sloganeering. Addressing his supporters after winning the Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina, Barack Obama said: “Yes we can. Yes we can change...Yes we can heal this nation.” And it turned out to be a winner.
War of Succession
The streets of south Tamil Nadu are a witness to the tussle between Alagiri and his younger brother M K Stalin currently being played out. And intervening in the dispute, DMK president M Karunanidhi had to suspend his elder son and former union minister Alagiri from the party. One would be naive indeed not to think that with a name like Stalin around, the DMK succession would a smooth affair. I, as a student of international communism, was absolutely sure of a full-fledged war of succession. Have you forgotten the Stalin-Trotsky tussle?
Stalin was always a Bolshevik and supporter of Lenin from the beginning. Trotsky was a keen Menshevik, and only joined the Bolsheviks in 1917 when he saw that they were going to bring revolution.
And Alagiri is no stranger to expulsion. The last time he was expelled was in 2001. Consequently, the Party suffered in the assembly elections that followed. By taking action against him just before the Lok Sabha polls , the party may face the same fate. But then don’t forger politics is a game of calculated risks.
Ever since its creation in 1971 Bangladesh is no stranger to political turmoil that fairly frequently paralyze the country.
More than four million people in Bangladesh work in the garment industry and per economists’ estimates, at least as many again owe their jobs to the demand it creates. Four-fifths of exports from Bangladesh are garments. If there is a pullout of western buyers on account of political instability, it will be a catastrophe for Dhaka. Bangladesh a single-industry-based country. Fortunately, reputed brands like Primark, H&M and others all insist that their commitment to Bangladesh is long-term.
One reason brands are prepared to stay in Bangladesh and pay considerable sums to upgrade factories there, is that the country plays a key role in their supply chains, with an almost unique capacity to deliver vast quantities of clothes quickly and cheaply.
But western buyers are deeply concerned by the political turmoil. By mutual agreement, the garment sector is spared – so far, at least – by the shutdowns that have brought Dhaka and other cities to a halt in recent months. Workers have to struggle to get to their jobs with transport paralyzed and violent clashes on the streets. Trucks carrying garments from the big production zones around Dhaka are often targeted as they make their way down to the port at Chittagong for shipping to Europe. In the first nine months of 2013, 1000 trucks were set ablaze.
Since it gained independence from Pakistan in a civil war in 1971, politics in Bangladesh has been turbulent. In recent decades it has been dominated by the battle between Sheikh Hasina, daughter of civilian independence leader and “father of the nation” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Khaleda Zia, widow of the military independence leader Zia-ur-Rahman. Both men were assassinated.
Hasina’s Awami League won power in polls held in 2008, following a period of military-backed government. After years of relative calm, chaos returned to the streets this year with prolonged bouts of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. Many have been organized by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its current allies, the Islamist organization Jamaat-e-Islami. Others have involved a movement of religious conservatives called Hefezat-e-Islam.
Why cannot the two warring Begums strike a deal to share power every alternate five-year spell? The trouble is politicians are no believers in power-sharing.
Matter of Genetics
If you happen to be a sexagenarian (i.e., between the age of 60 and 69) or a septuagenarian (i.e., 70 and 79) or an octogenarian (80 to 89), a nonagenarian (i.e., between 90 and 100) or even a centenarian (100 years old or older), and do happen to feel old, the reason for it is more than because you’ve white hair. White hair among the thick black foliage adorn the heads of even trigenarians i.e., those who are between the ages of 30 and 39.
So white hair is no index to aging. Mrs. Indira Gandhi, for instance, had turned completely grey in her forties. But as a shrewd politician she knew how to hide it. Undaunted, she went ahead and got her hair dyed in Paris. Her far-sighted Parisian hair-dresser wisely left a biggish strand un-dyed which, you may recall, became her familiar political trademark. And she especially used to import a black dye from Germany.
The age at which you’ll get your first gray hair (assuming your hair doesn’t simply fall out) is largely determined by genetics. You’ll probably get that first strand of gray around the same age your parents and grandparents started to go gray. However, the rate at which the graying progresses is somewhat under your own control. Smoking is known to increase the rate of graying. Insufficient intake of B vitamins, and untreated thyroid conditions can also speed the rate of graying.
You may wonder what causes your hair’s color to change. That has to do with the process controlling the production of the pigment called melanin. It’s the same pigment that tans your skin in response to sunlight.
Every hair follicle contains pigment cells called melanocytes. If less pigment gets deposited into the hair it appears lighter. As graying progresses, the melanocytes die off until there aren’t any cells left to produce the color.
Whether grey or not, when you turn sixty, you are expected by those who are yet to be sixty, to retire and to pack your bags and move into oblivion. If you have been wise enough to save so that you can spend your years ahead with reasonable comfort without having to lean on anyone, especially your children, they would at best tolerate you provided you keep pottering around without coming in others’ way.
Think it Through
In The Counterfeiters, the French existentialist, Andre Gidesaid: “The most decisive actions of our life - I mean those that are most likely to decide the whole course of our future - are, more often than not, unconsidered. Like a train into which one jumps without thinking, and without asking oneself where it is going.”
Does this axiom hold in your life?