Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NDTV: OROP- The backstage story

Please click here to view the NDTV OROP Telecast as you read the backstage story

My Dear Respected Sirs and Colleagues,
In my opinion, the recent NDTV show on OROP was a success in many ways. Thanks to the internet, mostly everyone on RMS has been able to see the recording of the show which was finally aired after significant edit. The show has been already discussed, criticized, appreciated and everything in between. We should, however, realize that the show was conducted by NDTV (a standard sponsor funded and government pleasing TV News Channel) and not by IESM. So the participants had little control on the way it was being conducted, IESM included.

What I wanted to draw everybody's attention to is the real scenario at the studio while the said program was being recorded. I would also mention why the knowledge of the studio environment is important for everyone to know.

There is a very specific term in the media fraternity known as 'Sensitization'. What it means is that a certain group of people is 'sensitized' or made aware of the issues, problems and challenges faced by another community/group/part of the public. NGOs, corporations and even governments spend significant sums of money to mould the opinion of the target masses in their favor by doing such campaigns.

Now at the NDTV studio, something similar to that, on a smaller scale, was carried out by Col Joshipura Sir and self before the program started. We made small huddles of other participants of the discussion and told them what OROP really is and why its such a gross injustice towards our veterans. Especially the younger lot in the audiences seemed to understand this concept very easily. Probably because they have an open mind and do not have any vested interests in actions against the defence forces.

What we were able to accomplish by this, even before the program started, was that almost everyone in the studio (minus the vested interests) was already on our side. You had to see it to believe it. One word, and I mean one word, against OROP or the veterans was not tolerated by the crowd. This was primarily the reason why Capt. Davar was unable to complete even one single sentence properly. And why the others (the lady IAS and others) were scared to say anything against us. They were making attempts but they were scared. You can see it on their faces.

The environment in the studio was mostly split in two emotions -- Anger and Disappointment. Disappointment that the government which is supposed to take care of the military that takes care of the nation is so brutally ignoring the very men and women that gave the nation the best years of their lives. Anger - because if something is not done soon, something is got to give...

Gen Kadyan and Sh. Uday Bhaskar as well as Sh. Rajeev Chandrashekhar were calm, composed and organized like they always are and put forward the points in an effective way despite provocation by the bureaucrats and co. Self, with help from the audience, provided some artillery fire!

What you all must also know and understand is the fact that since certain of the panel's individuals were direct representatives of the government (Capt Davar included) and so they were being given a LOT LOT LOT of footage. It was easily visible. On the contrary when our people were speaking, they were getting the mic literally for seconds! It was frustrating but hey, you have to make the best of what you have, right!

Now you can ask me why is this important at all? When it was not captured by the cameras and not aired on television why is this even worth talking about.

To answer that, I will have to direct your attention to another specific term used in advertising. Its called 'viral marketing'. This is a well known fact that viral marketing is on of the most effective and fastest spreading modes of publicity. What it means is that news/opinion is spread virally from one person to another then to another then to another. Also known as word of mouth publicity.

Now NDTV can edit out the conversations which were taking place in the background and through the microphone. They can choose to not air the parts many of us spoke. But what they cannot take away from us is the stir we created in those 50 or so people present in that room. They cannot take away the fresh and new perspective and knowledge that they now have about the armed forces, the government, how we are being treated and the white lies the government sells. especially the younger people and other ESM not yet associated with IESM.

And guess what, this is going to spread virally. From one person to another from one mouth to another. From a youth to another youth. And while this might seem or sound insignificant at this time, this will go a long way in strengthening our movement from the inside. To strengthen the roots of this mission. To connect with the youth and the general public.

Speaking to people at the studio was specially effective because they were all well educated and well connected people and probably keep interacting with many people. So that will help.

Once again the program, in my opinion was very successful. Of course, as with everything, it could have been better as some have pointed out. But I think it was good and I think the message was sent across. I do hope that such programs keep happening and that we reach our goal at the earliest.

I thank you for taking the time to go through this email. Much appreciated.
Yours truly,
Kameshwar Pandey
Sub/Maj Hony Lt (Veteran)

NDTV: OROP Program Feedback from Readers and Suggestions
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