Thursday, March 22, 2007

Quantity or quality?

There is this really nice Airtel ad that is playing on radio these days. The ad talks about the life of an average Indian who has to wait in the que for everything, whether it is at the Ration Shop or Bus stop , public water taps etc. The ad ends by declaring that with Airtel you don’t need to wait in a que when dialling KBC!

I haven’t heard a more striking ad than this one, because it made me pause and think about our population like no other ad/campaign has done till now. And if this approach was taken for population control campaigns, I am sure the common man on the road will also pause and think. There is no better way you can drive home the fact that our unchecked population growth is the reason for our miseries than by pointing out the areas of discomfort that unchecked population growth creates. Just by preaching “chota parivaar sukhi parivaar” is not going to help as our people are used to and ignore the numerous, save water, save gas, kind of insipid advertisements that the government rolls out from time to time. If the government is really sincere then it has to hire people to think like the guys who made that Airtel ad. Point out to the common man how unchecked population is affecting him on a personal, more intimate level.

My maid takes a day off when she has to buy ration as the que starts forming by 4 am in the morning in front of the ration shop. She has to get up at 4am everyday to catch water as water comes for just an hour in the slum she is living in. However if you ask her why she has to go struggle for the basics amenities of life she doesn’t have a clue. She thinks that shortage is a fact of life and will not think twice about having another child. She already has four kids.

As more and more working couples are opting for just one kid, the percentage of children who will get good education compared to the number of children who will not, will be abysmally low. In the not so distant future the uneducated and or partially literate will horribly outnumber the literate productive taxpaying population. How will the FM run this nation then? Will we as a country become a cheap manual labor pool vis a vis the technical talent pool we are today?

A scary scenario indeed!


alex said...


True. Lack of education is the most significant reason for this 'rapid population growth'. Unless this is checked, a situation like this will arise, or a lot of fights and killings will erupt due to the increased pressure on land and other resources.

PS: Typo- Queue

alex said...

Forgot to say 'Good work' on becoming the 'outstanding employee'.

I used to be outstanding in my 11th standard. [For not doing my homework] ;)

Well done, dude!

Jithesh said...

You are absolutely right about government ads/camapigns.Like you have said in one of your earlier posts, these ads just pass off as a laughing matter or simply induce sleep. Public service ads brought out by private companies evince greater interest among viewers.It is high time govt engage firms like O&M,HTA or S&S.
BTW, the scenario you mentioned in the last para isnt that scary. Even today, it is the uneducated and partially literate populace that come out in large numbers to vote at the elections.Bulk of the literate productive taxpaying population just sit back and watch the elections on TV.(sorry for sounding like some character in Rang de Basanti :-))

G said...

You know what I find funny? An Airtel that talks about the common man, the ration shop and the public water tap AND the fact that you don't have to wait in a queue to dial into KBC? Like anyone who can waste 6 bucks (or is that 10 bucks) a minute to call into a show even knows what its like to stand in line at the public tap.

I like the new AB ad for UP, even though its come under flack. I don't really care what he's plugging, its just well made.

I think there are ads that talk about population control. Smartly, those are aired on Doordarshan (one comes across them when NeoTV hasn't been able to stop cricket being aired on the national carrier). Those ads are corny and terribly made, which is why I think they work. Classy ads made by top tier agencies will appeal to you and me and will not make any sense whatsoever to the common man.

I think I'm rambling now. I guess I should stop. Heh heh I even forgot what my point was!

Manu said...

“Many Indians are poor not because they have too many children but, they have too many children because they are poor”. It’s true in every aspect because their hope for better living rides with their children and, for them more children means more hope, their logic is simple. Decades back when Jamshetji brought to the notice of Nehru the need to check our surging population, he replied human resources is the greatest wealth of our country, let it flourish and make our country stronger. Now we have become the second populous country in the world but our system has failed to equip quarter of the population to become nation builders. So finally, doesn’t it takes a little insensitivity to blame only the poor? offense to you.

emmanuel said...

Two or three months ago, a report came in the media which showed some results after some extensive studies. The notable thing was this.
" 40% of world's wealth is with 1% of the world population or 50% of world's wealth is with 2% of world population". The interesting thing was that media itself was not clear about 40% with 1% or 50% with 2%. They were separately given in different papers, websites etc.

Coming back to the topic, I just quoted this so as to breach the boundaries of the topic you discussed and go outside the national sense and just to give a picture that the global picture is even more bleak. When we take the case of most of the African nations we will have to agree that India is a lot better.

So what made or makes or will make the situation I quoted in the first para? I don't know the minute details of the same. But anyway, I know that it was because of the exploitation of the unprivileged by the privileged, uneducated by the educated, ignorants by the experts etc. But how did it happen and how is it happening ?? The answer is just " It did happen, it happens and it will happen". Because it is the nature of every living being and I can't find a definite reason. So how do this link to the problem you raised?

The privileged always want the unprivileged ones to be there. For what? Just to exploit. The examples are simple. politicians exploiting common people....They want a vote bank always.......Developed nations always require developing or under developed nations to be there for whatever reasons...There is an estimate that 70% of the natural resources are in developing or under developed we don't have to think a lot about why a third world exist.......So the examples go on........As you rightly pointed out, if the communication had to be effective, the governments or the ones who 'try' their level best would have gone for effective communication methods.....So this lives on............

A "Qualified" minority is enough to control, 'guide', rule etc a "Quantified" majority......................

Neihal said...

I agree, its not just about airing a public service has to be able to convey the message. I use to like some of those old DD ads.

PS: done the tag :)

Neihal said...


Airtel has a very aggressive marketing startegy....and it has rubbed onto me....I might just strangle the next Airtel guy I meet.
A certain Balwinder called to ask me if I will accompany him to World Cup ( some taped ad. they run on my phone)

Fleiger said...

OK, you have managed to spook me.

But come to think of it, I guess given the money sipping into the lower middle class and raising of poverty line, they will be able to afford undergraduate studies at least. The reason for not getting educated people will be their unwillingness to study (can see that in slums), and the jokes with the educational system (misplaced reservations and pricey private institutes)...

BTW, why no comments allowed on the earlier post? We would have liked to tell you how hot you are ;)

Sachin R K said...

Silverine... your line about queues cast my mind back to this article I read recently. It talks about how the queues may be getting longer , but its a different kind of queue now from what it was 10 or even 5 years back.

mathew said...

u have adressed a valid point here..the schemes our govt comes out turn out to be damp squib in reality...a combination of insensitive politicans,lax officials and "i dont care about" attitude of the common man is to blame...

as u said really scary scenario!!

Fleiger said...

Sorry... but more I write about "detectives", the longer the series seems to go on. I was planning one post, which now has expanded to 3 (till now, the latest post again being 1/3 part of a planned post). But I promise to take a break from the series after 2 more posts (which may go to 3, no more than that), after which I will do the tag.

Yeh vaada raha...

silverine said...

Alex: All the more reasons to take family planning seriously! And the typo was intentional. Thanks for the wishes and congrats on making it to the outsatnding list yourself :)

jithesh: I make it a point to vote, even in the municipal elections, only then do I have the right to complain!

G: I think an O&M or a JWT can deliver good public service ads. But govt budgets may not permit such an exercise.

manu: I am not offended and no one is blaming the poor here either. This was just a look at the future if we do nor curb population or make sure that every child is educated. If child labor laws are strictly implemented, then the reasoning that more children means more hope will be done away with. In fact it will have a huge impact on checking the population growth.

emmanuel: Like I told you earlier this was awesome!!

neihal: That was soo funny, imagine some Balwinder asking you out!! Girl you are hot!! :p

fleiger: Education system is a joke alright, and it is fast becoming a lucrative business too sadly! And thanks for the compliment :))

sachin: Read the article and I hope the line grows longer as more and more of our not so lucky bretheren join this line :)

mathew: I think what Emmanuel said makes a lot of sense. But after liberalisation, population campaigns seems to be the govt's last priority!

fleiger: Hey not a problem :)

Fleiger said...

Compliment? I passed a compliment your way? Hmm...

Dunno much about joke, but yes, we can make it better. Make it more practical than "rote", and make it more accessible to masses.

alex said...



Jiby said...

ur spot on with ur analysis...if family planning programmes had worked well we had have so many less problems to deal with!

of course some of the commies in blog-world whom we have seen around recently will deride this post as the affectations of a bourgeousie :)

Jay Sun said...

We should all be thankful that we don't have to stand in a queue at 4 in the morning...i for one am... :)

Radhesh said...

Airtel's is really is a wonderful ad...nd rocking post as usual...somehow, your last para seemed to confuse me...i feel this nation would have a much stronger and techy population in the coming years than it is today..of course, the picture is clearly rosy in my mind about the future of this nation...just as optimistic i am..:-)

Anonymous said...

Nice read,

Population as such cannot be a problem,however the high growth is not welcome.Kerala is a classic example, though it has one of the highest density of population in india ,the rate of growth is far below the national average,thanks to its high literacy level.

Forced family planning was another big reason why Indira gandhi lost mandate after the emergency.It boils down to education.


dharmabum said...

may i disagree please?

yes, the population is growing large. but, i'd like to look at our population as an asset - something many nations around the world are drastically short of.

'technical talent pool' is not the only thing that runs the country. and it certainly can not provide sustained growth. sustenance lies with manufacturing, farming & indigenous trade - all of which are considerably labour intensive. and since our talent pool wouldn't sweat it out, we need someone to do it.

'productive tax paying population' - is tax paying a sole index of productivity? i think we need to look ahead and beyond our paltry vision of ourselves and our families and look at the society / nation / world at large. i sincerely believe it is the bounden duty of the so called 'privileged' to help, empower and uplift the not so lucky ones. only then can we even dream of a better future.

finally, it is ironic that an airtel ad (a call like one to KBC costs around 10 rupees, if i am not wrong) should even mention the life of an 'average indian'. it is actually the 'much below average' indian whose fate deems him to stand in wretched lines for his rations and so on...

silverine said...

fleiger: The fees being charged today is making education a comodity now.

jiby: I truly belive that if we were not so large in numbers then we would not have so many probelms. And our commie bretheren...looks like they need blogs of non commies to get heard :p

jay sun: I know!

radhesh: What I am trying to say is that the not so privieged kids should be educated on a war footing or we are doomed to be a nation of unskiled laborers. I would loved to be proved otherwise :)

satish: Exactly..educating people via media like advertisments should carry though to them!

dharmabum: "i sincerely believe it is the bounden duty of the so called 'privileged' to help, empower and uplift the not so lucky ones" How do you define privileged? People who pay taxes? Then we are a country of underprivileged people because a very small miniscule part of the poplulation pays taxes.

Jay Sun said...

Congratulations for the Outstanding Employee Award... :)

Fleiger said...

True, at least at undergraduate level upwards... The "affordable" choices include science/commerce/arts streams, and those don't have the "glamour".
Where are you these days?

daagini said...

I havent heard this aritel ad yet. But an ad which entices its customers to spend 6 bucks on a phone call doesnt really appeal to someone who has less assets than me I think. And I already belong to the unemployed category now.

Population control is a different matter. in My mind, it is a vicious circle. In most cases, other than in the cities, India still has an agrarian society where it looks like more the merrier as it would mean lesser cost involved in employing people to work in the fields. The govt. if one of their responsibilities include upliftment of society, should actually do something for the agrarian society in terms of better irrigation facilities etc etc for the betterment of their lives which in turn would bring society to a different level.
I think I have gone off the tangent now, but it somehow seems, my quant class y'day is relevant in this case. The path from one point to another is not always direct. Almost always we have to touch one point to reach the next.

Dont think I can complete this comment. The class just got over :P