Monday, January 14, 2008

Nandigram - The Root Cause

I hail from Medinipur, the very district that has a town called Nandigram within, in West Bengal. I am surprised that the nation, its intellectuals, bureaucracy and law makers shuddered at what happened in Nandigram. To me, Nandigram has been happening for the past three decades very overtly and smugly, aided and abetted by the chosen few of the ruling Left Front.

I shall present here a few truths that govern people of rural Bengal forever:

1. Land is still with a few and the others can till that land for money on daily or result basis. They are known as “Borgadaars”. This is a corrupt system and is malleable by the local CPM honcho.
2. All transactions are governed by the party and not by BDOs or Gram Panchayats. Other party or Govt. Machinery orders are ignored. People also adhere to the Party dictates because they are persecuted otherwise.
3. Party writs are final and anybody opposing have a “Life” problem.
4. Elections are rigged and steered. All know it and even if somebody opposes, he is hounded out of his abode into the jungles or out of that area itself. He cannot return to that area, no matter what happens!
5. Party controls all. SFI controls students. WBTA controls teachers. They supply posting lists and new recruitment lists. The Industry is controlled by CITU, the ghost behind Bengal’s Industrial downfall. At one time, they even governed officer postings!!
6. Party controls land. Party bids and party makes the contractual decisions. In Nandigram, party bosses and a few others have already made crores on Kickbacks and that is why they face such a dismal scenario.
7. Party controls all contractual work in the state. This is a big thorn as there are people who do want to make a decent living without bribes and they have to exit the state.

Bengal is now at a very crucial juncture as a polity or a society. After Nandigram, people have realized that all that the Party does even for its cadres is not good or right! This realization has made these people look upto the Naxalites, The Trinamool Congress (a rowdy community, If I may say here) and assorted disgruntled factions of other Left Front entities. They are not a solution. In the meanwhile, the social structures have gone from bad to worse. A raped woman told a friend of mine, “Whom do we go to and what good will happen…things like this shall keep on happening!”

People there do not know who Salim is or what “a chemical hub” is. They are scared as all they know is their land and that is being taken away. Actually, most of them are CPI-M fellas themselves!!

Development is needed. We know that. But where is the machinery that includes people in the decision making process???

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Good 2007..

Mmm..Yes..2007 was an eventful year!

Many things got done and many more got into pipeline as promises for an even more eventful 2008..

2007 began with my daughter Antara and Ma coming down from Kolkata to live with me here in Pune. Yes, it was back to home cooked food again!

MA, at work helped get over the first few quesy months nicely. VT, lended me an associated interest in Brands. This interest, I cultivated actively and have emerged stronger in Marketing at the end of the year!

I got new acquaintances in SA, JD and JZ. JZ turned out to be a childhood friend from Chandrapur. Working with him has turned out to be a pleasure.

The redoubtable K arrived from Kolkata in April. I had made a friend in SP who helped me get K placed in a good Realty firm here in Pune. It turned out to be smooth sailing for her.

Sales had perked up in the summer and promised so much more at WF.

The rains disappointed me in many ways. In terms of Co. Sales and in personal terms.

WE took a short holiday in Goa. Unpredictable K did another trip there afterwards.

WE also took a trip to Hyd to S&L's place. S has done well with himself and L. It was a pleasure to be with them and watch a lot of movies more than anything else.

I went there again and was witness to the Hyd. blasts. It was scary. Lucky to be alive!

Met Sagar and others from the college gang again. Was good to see them!!

Been busy in the last few months, with work and home. Have watched my fav movies consistently..

Spent some quality time with Antara and K and it feels good!!

In all, a good Year!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Low Cost Marketing - Go for it!

1. Narrow the market focus. Create a picture of the ideal client: what they look like, how they think, what they value, and where you can find them. Start saying no to non-ideal clients.
2. Differentiate. Strip everything you know about your product or service down to the simplest core idea. Make sure that the core idea allows you stand out.
3. Think about strategy first. Take everything you’ve done in steps one and two and create a strategy to own a word or two in the mind of your ideal client and prospect.
4. Create information that educates. You are in the information business, so think of your marketing materials, web sites, white papers, marketing kits as information products, not "sales" propaganda.
5. Package the experience. Put visual elements around every aspect of the marketing strategy that you adopt. Use design to evoke the appropriate emotional response from your ideal prospect.
6. Generate leads from many points. People learn in different ways. Your lead generation efforts must allow your prospects to experience your firm from many different angles and views.
7. Nurture leads along the logical buying path. There’s a natural way for your prospects to come to the conclusion that you have what they need. Build the lead conversion system for before, during, and after the sale.
8. Measure everything that matters. Certain things always matter. The secret sauce is in finding and measuring the intangibles – those things down on the shop floor that eventually add up to profit.
9. Automate for leverage. Embrace the Internet or else. Create access, stimulate community, capture innovation, and build knowledge to automate the basic delivery elements of your information business.
10. Commit. Resist the temptation of the marketing idea of the week. Create daily, weekly, monthly, and annual marketing calendars, make marketing your new habit, and find the money to stick with the plan.
The rest as they say is just “lage raho”!!