May 24, 2017

Five Secrets of a Top Grade faculty

Higher education in India has experienced mushroom growth in past two decades. It has entered the consolidation phase already. Although most of the expansion has come from privately run institutes but considerable growth has taken place in public sector also. Few corporate have also entered education domain but largely for the CSR reasons than motivated by the mission to create a world class institutions. You could judge the priority & importance the governments in India lay on the education sector by the very fact that the MHRD don’t have put up 2017 data on its website as on May 24, 2017. The website mentions “As of 2014, there are 677 universities, 37,204 colleges and 11443 stand-alone institutions in India”.

It’s universally accepted that the quality of faculty is the most critical factor for imparting top grade education. Curriculum, Infrastructure, network and technology comes after the basic need good quality faculty. Those who have the opportunity to study from high quality faculty possess expert level skills to contribute to the profession they undertake. Anyone can be a great faculty if she/he could acquire the expertise in the following 5 factors and demonstrate it frequently.

Subject Grasp: Everyone thinks her/his grasp over the subject/s is absolutely fine till s/he put it to test. Therefore it’s recommended that the faculty must test own domain knowledge at least once every three years by solving the examination paper given to the students. The institute and the government could also make it mandatory for teachers to take a test periodically.

Domain Knowledge: Education is multidisciplinary and each subject shares concepts, tools and principles with wide variety of other subjects. Therefore it’s imperative that the faculty must be encouraged to develop expertise in a gamut of subjects required for effective teaching. Many subjects particularly from science and professional arena can’t be understood properly if a faculty lacks the field experience. A doctor without practice in a hospital would make a lousy faculty of medicine. Similarly engineering and management also put same demands on the faculty.

Communication skill: Most often it’s recommended that a faculty must have excellent communications skills. Well it’s desired that the faculty must be able to speak fluently the language understandable by the students but more critical communication skill for a faculty are reading and writing than the speech. World class faculty should be able to read and understand complex papers, journals and also write in concise clear manner.

Empathy: Good faculty must empathies with students and be able to behave like the students in the classroom.  Knowledge can be transferred easily if the learner trusts the teacher. Moreover a faculty good or bad leave an impression on the audience and also influence the personality of students. Faculty could strive to understand the psyche and group behavior of the class one intends to handle. The faculty needs to win confidence of students for positive learning outcomes.

Grasp of Edutech: No faculty can claim to plough the lone furrow in internet dominated world of education. Therefore a great teacher must work hard continuously to catch up with the technical expertise of the students. I would recommend that every faculty must be a step ahead of the students on handling edutech so as to inspire the students.

April 26, 2017

Dichotomy of Performance versus Promise: Political Marketing in India

If you intend to find out which political party or leader are responsible for win loss in Delhi MCD elections then you could be disappointed to read this piece. But if you are interested in discovering the marketing insights underlying the recent political marketing events in India then you would have enough food for thought. Let’s hit the ground running, first things first. Why did RSS/BJP lost Bihar Punjab etc but won in UP & Delhi MC elections?

Anti incumbency isn’t always a burden in India or other places on earth due to voter fatigue and low trust in the political players. Many states in India have CMs who are returned back into power for multiple times.  Recently SAD-RSS alliance government lost Punjab despite a huge publicity campaign to showcase its achievements. How could Narendra-Amit duo lose Bihar but manage a thumping win in UP while contesting against the incumbent parties represented by similar caste combinations? There is no ambiguity in understanding why Narendra Modi don’t seems to be affected by the anti incumbency pains despite lack luster performance and deteriorating internal and external environment of India? Narendra seem to glide on promises than performance.

Political marketing in India have not yet to come of age. Most political parties continue to follow the trend than seek professional help despite recognizing the enormous critical influence of the communications strategy on the elections outcome. How could a market leader hire services of an agency which was employed by the challenger to dislodge it from the prime position? Ironically it is congress party which is credited with bringing in marketing professionals into the political communications.  Indians may have markedly different consumption habits but they don’t behave much differently than their counterparts worldwide. Indians living a difficult life in the developing economic conditions consume hopeful promises more eagerly than political claims of how much a politician contributed to their lives.

How could one miss the delphic scene at the residence of Delhi CM? Any shutterbug would find it amusing to note the absence of luxury vehicles at the residence of the CM of India’s richest state.  Well if you have missed it try going to Arvind Kejriwal residence and then following it up with a visit to the official accommodation of the PM of India. Did you notice how many luxury vehicles were parked at both the places? Delhi being richest state in India is home to the high-end luxury autos and moreover such products are meant to flaunt social class of the owner than acquired for the utility.  Point is why the rich guys who badly need the support of state machinery could maintain distance from a CM? 

The privately held media in India have come under attack from various sides including the government at the centre which bestowed the titles of ‘bazaroo’ & ‘presstitues’ on some sections despite the fact that it lacks professional ethics of being the watchdog of the citizens against the excesses of governments. Media continues to blatantly hide the failures of the central government.  The recent attacks on Delhi AAP government by the media expose the helplessness of it due to dependency on huge advertising budget of the centre.  Had AAP focused more on poor performance of BJP in MCD rather than comparing it with its own work the results of elections would have been different. Indian citizens don’t vote on positive performance therefore it could be counterproductive to attempting to win elections on performance of the incumbent player. ABV failed to win in 2004 with help of  India-Shining campaign and TRS also was voted out despite transforming Andhra Pradesh into a premier destination. 

QED: It pays to promise moon than deliver LED lights to illuminate the night in India

March 4, 2017

Narendra D. Modi or its just modi Modi modi

This happens only in India. Although pandits may spun numerous twisted tales trying to prove that modi success story is a unique phenomenon never noticed in India. But its not true. Modi has achieved success by copying the classic Indian political strategy of divide & rule used by many like Bal Thakrey, Indira Gandhi etc in the post 1947 era. You couldn't fault a politician for using weapons of mass destruction to obtain success, its the nature of beast. In my opinion the modi story has reached its ultimate point of diminishing marginal utility.

The modi story can be explained in three distinct chapters titled modi Modi modi. It began as a rank outsider whom Advani foisted in Gujarat CM chair without being a sitting MLA. But it didn't take him long to emerge from shadows of his mentor when in 2002 he break ranks from the competition for the prized title Hindu Hero in 2002 post Godhra train burning & riots. But Narendra isn't the first politician to brandish the Hindu Hero trishul. Likes of Bal Thakrey & Indira Gandhi wielded it earlier very successfully. Hindu supremacist RSS eulogized Indira as the Durga of Hindus, praised Thakrey as a iconic anti muslim crusader then and unabashedly flaunt Narendra as their current avatar. Therefore the strategy to win Hindu vote bank in not new but it works in post 47 India.

Second chapter in modi success story of 2014 was woven by two major strands of Hindu hero worship mixed with issues of rampant corruption. Majority of political scholars agree that the dominant factor in 2014 victory of modi was mainly due to his worship by hindus as their hero. Modi could not have won in 2014 unless the then UPA govt led by an incorruptible scholar Dr Manmohan Singh would have been discredited in the eyes of Indians. The dirty job was done using media which indulged in open mud slinging on the UPA govt. Majority media firms from the north half of India are owned by Hindus who back RSS hindu rashtar line unabashedly in a secular born India of 1947. Despite the defeat of Modi phenomena in Delhi, Bihar and decline of it in several other places the hindu media continue to back modi blindly. Media's bhakti of modi is so dark that they have abandoned the professional ethical role of being guardian of public opinion. in 2017 modi has began the third chapter of his hindu conquest of India.

Indian politics revolves around the hindu vote bank and RSS operates like a holding firm of majority such organizations tasked with the job of appropriating resources and political power for enjoyment of high caste Hindus. Minorities stand no chance against the might of hindu hegemony if hindus continue to worship hindu hero and ignore their own pains of poverty and insecurity. Therefore if hindus continue to sacrifice the economic & social security of India at the altar of Hinduism then modi story could well last many more years. Question is do hindus value goal of economic prosperity more than their religion? Its difficult to hazard a guess. People are essentially social animals hence given the choice they would not mind trading beliefs for material gains. In my opinion majority people would vote for food on the table than promise of a rainbow of religious achievement. Hence the 2017 UP elections may become the ultimate chapter of the story of modi.

Narendra modi story may soon become just like that of Ram temple at Ayodhya. A story which helped RSS immensely for sometime but can't be pushed too far without endangering the future of India. 

November 5, 2016

Journalism Ethics: Arnab, Cyril & Ravish

When I was studying journalism & mass communication at Punjabi university Patiala an editor of Dainik Tribune visited us to share his views. You would be aware that since journalism have been more of a trade or a business rather than profession therefore majority of journalist are self taught guy who prefer to toe the line than challenge the authority.  This editor from Chandigarh made a remark, which he thought was pretty innocent normal.

He said-When we (media) take government side then the readers protest and when we raise the voice of people the government dislike it. I couldn’t help myself asking him to explain such a loaded statement coming from an editor of pro-govt newspaper establishment. He looked confused to why I was asking to explain a rather routine remark. When I told him that he said could virtually imply that the democracy in India has failed.  He was stunned, began to look in the direction of the faculty as if pleading with them to make me shut up. But faculty members in Indian universities generally don’t mess with students who read more than them.
How could there be inverse relationship between aspirations & opinions of the citizens in a democracy to the government policies programs? If the government don’t want media to question them to wake them up to the views of the citizens then what is the role of media? India can’t be a North Korea clone due to size and history. When media becomes government stooge it’s the end of democracy and beginning of the end of those regimes.

Recently when Pakistan government tried bullying Cyril Almeida, majority media professionals including Hamid Mir of Geo stood up with Cyril against the government. Unfortunately majority Indian media don’t have such strong spines as our friends in Pakistan. India media have earned the adage of-Crawling when indicated to bend-long ago. Therefore its pleasant surprise to see Ravish Kumar of NDTV-India cock a snook at modi sarkar in his nonchalant inimitable sober style to protest against one day ban on the channel for coverage of the Pathankot airbase attack. NDTVIndia is just another channel having no unique access to the spot or reported anything that most other channels didn’t but it is singled out for the punishment.
NDTV India has the brand positioning of mild mannered, centrist, balanced, sans theatrics channel amongst sea of noisy pseudo hindu-nationalist channels, some of them purveys mythologies than facts in the race to please Hindu fundamentalist RSS and the government run by its cadres.

Cyril Almeida belongs to minority community in Pakistan but received complete support of the majority community to save him from government high handedness. But NDTV India seems to be in modi sarkar crosshair due to its refusal to toe the RSS line showing minorities in poor light. No one is surprised at one day blackout ban on the channel. It’s shocking to see how the RSS led government could act in such predictable manner and bring more negative publicity? Many thought RSS would rope in some educated people to guide it post stunning win in 2014.

Journalism students have choice they can be Arnab Goswamy of @TimesNow  and be a voice of Hindu fundamentalist sections , a Ravish Kumar of @NDTVIndia  who stands for the idea of India. You can chose cacophony or civil debates. Let me caution that it’s easy to be an Arnab Goswamy as most people can speak loudly but very difficult to be Ravish Kumar because you can’t be him without reading lots of books regularly. Arnab Goswamys would come and go but Ravish Kumar would be discussed in mass communication classrooms for decades.

September 5, 2016

Reliance Jio can change a lot in India

In my opinion India has been a hub of B2B family owned firms since 1947. The industry have remained under government control, still the govt wields heavy influence, because the industrial houses wanted it that way. Despite many public pronouncements by various govts since 1991 when Dr Manmohan Singh liberalized the environment doing business in India particularly in MSME domain is pretty challenging. But lets restrict discussing the grand roll out, a la Modi rally, by Reliance Jio in the huge telecom sector.

Firstly Mukesh Ambani made a Modi style speech promising big to Indians in the national interest. Although the reliance shareholders are used to such speeches as they heard such stuff during dedication ceremony of KG basin too to the nation too. But India has changed since and the youth was flabbergasted gasping for breath asking what did Mukesh Ambani invent to make such claims?

Secondly at the moment Reliance Jio is no pioneer in the telecom space. It has to contend with major established players capable of taking it on in a price war. Moreover customers have experienced Reliance service for quite a while and many don't have many positive things about its credentials. Customer trust, not the price play, is the cornerstone in service marketing in India as well as globally. Let's hope Reliance learns to win minds and consequently hearts of customers if it hopes to succeed this time.

Reliance don't have a shining record in customer facing business. Its foray into organize retail has not been able to earn it the numero uno position therefore it would have to work harder in telecom because telecom customers are spread over the rural market also. Indian firms generally lack in customer service area and in service marketing the quality of customer service can make or break a business.

How could i end without discussing launch campaign of Jio? Please ask any professional advertising guy in India to know how little space is allowed to them by the advertisers in designing the advertisement message strategy. Perhaps Ambani and family ordered the agency to prepare the layout as per their choice. I always tell my students to see the launch advertisement of Indica by Tata Motors. In my opinion the Indica launch advertisement has been the best ever launch campaign by any Indians corporate.  It contained all that you learn in a premier MBA course anywhere on the earth.

Finally let me state that i haven't got a response to my online booking of Jiofy within the stipulated 48 hour period. Speaks volume for customer service level. Anyways India need its major corporations to succeed so that we can survive and feed our enormous population,  

April 6, 2016

Can Politics be Marketed like Coke or Condom?

Consumers of political marketing in democracies run on vote-counts face torrents of counterfeit to completely fake assurances of services to garner their votes.  Going by the prevalent level of disgust for politicians in most democracies anyone can safely conclude that the majority consumers feel cheated and exploited by the politicians who enjoy comforts of a President, Prime Minister and other exalted offices way higher up the ladder than those which achiever citizens obtain through hard work and diligent education.

In the era of Societal Marketing orientation when consumers are motivated to experience only those pleasures which would not harm their present society but also ensure a safe future for the coming generations how could hazardous political products be allowed to be marketed in the name of so called adult franchise? If a seller can’t escape the consequences of dangerous products why not penalize politicians and political parties for non-delivery of adequate services? If telcos can be penalized for call dropping & lack of 
connectivity why not hold the Modi government, all governments, to similar test?

When a customer is free to change the service provider in case Airtel , Vodaphone etc fail to ensure call dropping then why demand compensation for lack of services?  Will the Indian politicians demand similar punishment for a political party & politicians for cheating them with fake promises during election campaign? Why have two standards for same crime. It’s wrong to assume that its moral to market everything from religion to insurance. Marketers the world over have accepted the principle of not extending marketing concepts, principles and tool to various category of goods and services to ensure safety of consumers. For example categories like insurance, healthcare are not allowed to be marketed like Condoms and Coke. Political advertising and marketing is too serious a tool to be left at the disposal of unscrupulous politicians who have no regard for ensuring the adequate delivery.

Isn’t it more difficult to get a driver’s job in India than acquire a gift of high political office?  Will it be fair for Rahul Gandhi to become next PM of India without working as a minister till now? What did Modi do before he was made the CM of Gujarat? How could Narendra Modi be expected to lead India to better future if he failed to find a job during his youth? Political offices need people with high degree of expertise and skills besides missionary zeal to do something for a country. Yes there are minimum standards for someone becoming a PM in India but are they enough? Any Donald Trump can charm the voters with a political marketing campaign designed and run by professionals like me but is it good for the health and future of any democracy? Its time India wakes up and lays down clear qualifications-skills and work experience, for the high political offices or be prepared to remain a poor and inconsequential country.

Political marketing is very effective and pervasive discipline having considerable impact on a society therefore it must be held to highest degree of consumer/citizen accountability in a democracy for sake for evolving it into a republic. Election manifestoes and other promises must be brought under consumer rights and the apex courts must old public trial before each election to help citizens make informed choices. Consumer can avoid Coke & condoms but not politics.

The Doctrine of Sikhism rather than Buddhism can end global terror.

Once again the humanity lost at the Brussels airport. The Innocent people were bombed butchered mercilessly in cold blood without any fault of them. They had no idea why they were drawn into wars that politicians wage to further an agenda. How can we fight terror? How to resolve conflicts & wars be minimized? What is terror and how can all forms of terror be condemned and defeated? Does the prospect of a mutually assured destruction not enough to convince war mongers?

War is often portrayed as an inevitable outcome in an unjust world that fails to ensure justice & equality to all in a fair moral manner. How could we differentiate between genuine freedom fighters & cold blooded terrorists? Can the state take to terrorism to fight with its enemy terrorists? Actually most of these questions have been answered many times by great men. It’s time we listen and bring peace to us.

It would be naïve to explain away that all wars are trade related and hence inevitable. World is engulfed in wars that are product of clash of religious, ethnic or political differences and hence must be defeated with twin force of weapons and thoughts. Terror in all its forms must be defeated and its threat to humanity need be contained. Norway has successfully demonstrated how a civilized country should fight terror when it listened to its most dangerous terrorist Andre Brevik and brought him to justice. World need to debate and defeat the ideologies that convince the Brevik, ISIS etc of the world to perpetrate bloodthirsty acts of terror before they are fought with force. Conflict is natural but terror is a disease.

India can once again be the world Guru of peace and delineate the strategy to fight the scourge of terror and establish peace in a war weary world. In my humble opinion the doctrine of the Sikhism rather than Buddhism can help prevent the next world war and save humanity from another catastrophe. Terrorism can’t be fought without use of the arms and the peace can’t be begged.  Therefore the world must listen to what Sikhism says and also see how the establishment of the Khalsa Sarkar in eighteen century Punjab led to peace in a prenatally strife torn part of India.

Almost a century before the USA bestowed the right to bears arms to its citizens the tenth Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh ji blessed the Khalsa Panth in 1699 at Anandpur Sahib Punjab to demonstrate how weapons should be used to prepare the nectar for the sustenance of all humanity rather than poison the waters of life on earth. The doctrine of Sikhism led to establishment of the Khalsa Kingdom at Lahore Punjab based on equality & brotherhood. The Khalsa-Sarkar didn’t use terror as a weapon of the state to maintain rule of law. No peace can ever be achieved without justice & equality. The world must embrace all the humanity rather than discriminate against people of one color, race, religion or culture. All humanity is a Brotherhood of the living. The Khalsa-Sarkar of Maharaja Ranjit Singh followed Sikhism to help bring peace to the most troublesome part of the world. 

Each terror strike anywhere in the world reminds us once again of the stupidity of the Bush Administration’s unintelligent response to the 9/11 terror strike. On the hindsight majority of the Americans agree that if USA had gone after terrorists of 9/11 and brought them to justice rather than engage in an all out war perhaps the world would have been better place than its now. The wise doctrine of mutually assured destruction generally works in all cases with statistical accuracy. The state must never be seen to be acting like the terrorists and target innocents In the war against terrorism.

Post the Paris terror attacks the Pope had expressed his opinion about the beginning of the third world war. Well the wise Pope is certainly right. Look around and see how the many parts of world from the Middle East to Ukraine have been suffering from wars. The era of trade disputes resulting into wars seems to be behind us. The ongoing and potential wars are due to clash of ideologies and lack of international dispute resolution action.

It would be wise for the global power to discuss and debate before taking a one sided suo moto action to resolve global conflicts. The superpowers must leverage the platform of the United Nations to arrive at a widely accepted solution to global conflicts and avoid the third world war. Anyone on its own can start a war but one needs cooperation of the other side to end it. Global superpowers must lead the way through consensus for establishment of peace rather than leave it to individual counties to sow seeds of global terror. No country should be free to subjugate its citizens and govern its territory on other than humanitarian principles.  Sikhism teaches us to embrace all humanity and respect diversity for peace.

Five Secrets of a Top Grade faculty

Higher education in India has experienced mushroom growth in past two decades. It has entered the consolidation phase already. Although mo...