Monday, January 6, 2014

"Aam Aadmi" and its Side Effects !

There is a question that has been troubling some of us right from the time the term “Aam Aadmi” is being used for political reasons. The question is- Who is an Aam Aadmi ? The question is- Why has 'Aam Aadmi' become a term so popular all of a sudden?

We cannot deny that marketing is required in everything we do in our life. When one faces an interview, the person markets himself as the best candidate; when one goes to a party, one markets his image in public for popularity; when one carries out a business for livelihood, he markets the product and the services offered by him. Similarly, when a political party comes into the arena of elections, it MARKETS its IDEOLOGY. You will agree that any marketing targets a SEGMENT, e.g. interviewee targets the interviewer, an individual targets the people attending the party, a businessman targets a SPECIFIC class of customers, obviously Audi cannot afford to target newspaper mongers as their potential customers. Similarly, a political party’s primary objective is to gain support in terms of votes, and for that they target the voters. How many of us will agree that each and every voter will vote for ONE political party, which means 100 % vote going to ONE party? Perhaps none of you will call it rational if I say that it can happen. And that’s where SEGMENTATION of voters comes into picture. A new political party first of all figures out who are the potential voters, who can be tapped. They make strategy about how to penetrate the market where there are already a number of seasoned players. THEN they jump into the electoral arena to implement the chalked out strategy. A voter to a political party is what a customer is to a shop, they assess the product (ideology in case of a political party) and then they buy it.

Recently emerged AAP without doubt is endeavoring to penetrate the market. For their good, they also needed to target a segment of voters who would be potential voters, and hence they started using the term “Aam Aadmi” to target the segment who considers himself an “Aam Aadmi”. Secondly, “Corruption” ! It’s another term which is used to target another segment of voters who understand what corruption is. They are the intellectual class of people who are either within the country or working outside India. The most pertinent question is whether this segmentation is SUSTAINABLE? After all who is an Aam Aadmi ? Are Aam Aaadmi the people who do not use A/C or a heater? Or, are only people who do not live in a decent apartment an Aam Aadmi? This concept somehow sounds flawed! Will a person living in a slum consider YOU, who live in an apartment, an Aam Aadmi? Haven’t you ever heard- “साहबआपको किस चीज़ की कमी है ?”, Hasn’t your domestic help ever said- “आप लोग तो बड़े लोग हैं| ”. If we understand their perspective, we are NOT an Aam Aadmi! For a moment can we imagine the perspective of a domestic help about an individual who is working abroad? Can you convince that that individual too is an Aam Aadmi? After all it’s the individual who is abroad knows how easy life is in a foreign land for most of the Indians. Life certainly isn't that easy, no matter where and who you are! For people living in a slum, people living in apartments are not Aam Aadmi; for people living in an apartment, people who live in spacious bungalows are not Aam Aadmi; for people living in bungalows, people who live in bungalows in a BETTER LOCALITY are not Aam Aadmi. This class difference continues and the question remains unanswered- After all WHO is an Aam Aadmi? Is Mrs. Meera Sanyal, former CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland an Aam Aadmi? Or Mrs. Shazia Ilmi is an Aam Aadmi, who has  declared assets of more than 31 crores? Is the word “Aam aadmi” not getting on to the nerves now? 

If we understand the term “Aam Aadmi” in right perspective, there is NO ONE who is not an Aam Aadmi. Every individual is Aam for the class he belongs to. So, when a party tries to target the segment of “Aam Aadmi”, the intention is to create the LARGEST segment possible to garner MAXIMUM number of votes. The question is- Can such party, which finds itself in power all of a sudden, resist creating a further class among people on the basis of consumption of electricity and water? Can such party cater to all its voters who as an Aam Aadmi voted for the Aam Aadmi Party? Perhaps the party has realized that it CANNOT. Hence, further segmentation is being tried, like AAP leader Prashant Bhushan demanding referendum in Kashmir on deployment of army to handle internal threats. Is Kashmir the only state where AFSPA is in place? Now, which segment can be pleased by such demand is anyone’s guess. The question is- Is this kind of politics in the interest of the country and is it something NEW?

Youth like us have really been impressed by anti-corruption movement. We all appreciate that at least someone like Anna Hazare stood up against corruption. However, the question is – Can segmentation of voters on basis of anti-corruption sentiment really SUSTAIN? If yes, then how long? Mr. V.P. Singh became PM of India due to his fight against corruption, today very few of us know. He was the one who raised his voice against Bofors scam! However, his party had to resort to an alternative segmentation by creating Mandal Commission on Reservations. And in the very next general elections the same anti-corruption ideology was battling for life. Corruption is as comprehensive as the air in atmosphere. Corruption not only means an officer taking bribe but also a customer not returning an extra rupee given by the shopkeeper. It is a fact that not all situations have instant solutions. It is also a fact that corruption and development are among those issues which do not have quick-fix solutions. 

The question is- Whether such EXTRAORDINARILY broad segmentation of voters is NOT an inclined plane on which constant decline is unavoidable, unless corrective step of FURTHER segmenting the society is taken?  ...स्वयं विचार कीजिए !


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  2. Sir!! It has been cleared by Mr. Arvind Kejrival during his speech for trust vote at Delhi assembly that Who is Aam Aadmi?? And he doesn't only consider the poor people as Aam Aadmi.
    Unke shabdo me," Har vo insaan, jo desh me ek imaandaar vyavastha chahta h, aam aadmi h."
    and i think this line clearly shows his ideology. it covers every individual who is living in delhi or any in other parts of country and ofcourse abroad and people living in slums, apartments or banglows.

  3. Nicely written. You need to define a target audience for marketing a product, but that does not mean you don't desire a broad customer base. This is the beauty of the term "Aam aadmi" - it appeals to people across India likely because it does not matter if one makes Rs.100 a day or Rs. 100,000 a day - everyone is a victim of the rampant corruption and lack of basic social support networks. The beauty of this situation is that more often than not every "aam aadmi" is corrupt!

  4. Bharti, I share the same view that everyone is an Aam Aadmi. But the concern is that they can not satisfy every aam aadmi by their policies, and hence further segmentation is inevitable, which they have already started doing. Demanding referendum in Kashmir, referendum in Naxal affected areas for deployment of force is just a way of appeasing people for vote. As rightly said by "theotherminority" everyone is a victim of corruption no matter how much one earns, so can such anti-corruption ideology sustain for long without creating further segments in the society, keeping their political ambitions in view?