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An admirable decision
 
(K Gopalakrishnan, Sep 22, 2017):Rarely does one hear positive news these days, that too saying no to a windfall income for the sake of a cause. At a time when there are avalanches of corruption and seeking illegal gratification from all over, the news was a refreshing one.

A cricketer with true cricketing spirit keeping scrupulously away from betting and match fixing, Virat Kohli has refused to endorse products like Colas and whitening creams sacrificing millions of rupees because of their association with junk food and racism. India’s sought after master batsman for endorsement has taken an admirable decision to endorse only products he himself uses and believes in, according to reports.

If other celebrities too emulate this principle it can end misguiding the Indian consumer. Celebrities and role models can influence the decision making by fans, particularly on consumer brands and health foods, to name a few. These fans are gullible and when a film star or a personal hero endorses a product they just go by it.

We find in the country today that celebrities are endorsing products about which they know little or personally do not use or buy. We find them endorsing companies engaged in gold loans, though they know little about its implication and exploitation. One finds a celebrity recommending gold ornaments of a company without being sure of the purity of gold.

Some recommends computer apps without knowing much about it. Similarly air-conditioners are endorsed by our celebrities about the functioning of which they may not be familiar with. They stop at nothing from Achar to limousines, from clothes to real estate.

Today if the advertiser is willing to pay they can endorse anything. They show little or no concern to the consequences of their action. They have no qualms about the immorality of endorsing something about which they know little. They are not accountable though recently there are some laws restricting such acts and more laws are also being planned.

For marketing products endorsement by celebrities has become an accepted practice. Celebrities are engaged by offering crores of rupees. Such irresistable offers make celebrities succumb to endorse any product, standard or substandard. Little do they realise that in the process they are cheating their fans who have reposed their trust on them. In the process, the celebrity loses his credibility at least with the disappointed fans misguided by the endorsements. Morally too the practise is wrong.

The ultimate beneficiary is the Corporates who manage to market their products taking advantage of the confidence the celebrities enjoy. The quality of the product is ignored in some cases. Such cut shorts in marketing and tricks used to make quick money do bring down the trust in Indian brands. In some cases it is marginal and substantial, when the products are substandard. Virat by sacrificing his substantial income has brought into focus a whole lot of issues of moral values, deceit, brand quality and principled living.

For, the decision of the Indian captain has come at a time when we hear almost at regular intervals shocking scandals and looting of public money. Sadly our leaders whether inspired by Gandhiji, Marx or Lord Rama do not bother to live with the values propounded by these great persons, divine or otherwise. We have today in a Southern State, Kerala, a situation where the revenue source of all political leaders are the same persons.

In scandals or distribution of patronage if these persons are involved neither the ruling front or the opposition are bothered. There are a few leaders like V.S.Achuthanandan, V.M.Sudheeran who are clean enough to take on any big wig. Most others are beneficiaries of these revenue sources. A.K. Antony prefers to live in New Delhi far away unbothered and unwilling to take any firm moral position.

BJP, even though away from power, recently found some of its leaders on the quiet making money for medical college approval and related issues involving crores of rupees, brilliantly covered up through PR exercises. The case of a minister specialised in encroaching government land and reclaiming back waters. All parties are beneficiaries of this minister. Chief Minister is the loudest defender of this minister. Believe it or not the minister can change government records, circumvent any law or rule. He thrives. Here every political party is part of the game.

In Tamil Nadu too the case is the same. Far too many scandals encompassing all political parties are exposed. Best of legal brains are at work in the state to meet any cases, civil or criminal. We have cases of illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka where miners have mined deep below crossing the borders of the two states.

These miners have patrons not only in states but in New Delhi too. Cases of Lalu Yadav and family in Bihar, Vyapam in Madhya Pradesh, Air India plane purchase scandal in which a Maharashtra politician is involved, scores of UP politicians, the list goes on. It is too long to elaborate state by state, leader by leader.

That no leader is sensitive to corruption charges is the most shocking factor. Yes they are immune to corruption exposes in India as elections are held on caste and communal basis. No issues of ideology or policy figure in campaigns. The ministers without any qualms agree for any deal. Environmental issues or morality do not bother them. The cancer has spread throughout the country.

Though in a small way, Kohli has brought a whiff of fresh and clean air. There are some in politics too, though in a desperate minority, continuing their fight against corruption with grit and determination. Such small steps do give hope. A feeling that all is not lost.


CPI(M): Differences on move to change tactics
Deep rooted malaise
Gifting public property
Congress leaders on a suicidal path
Development on the backburner
Congress: Specialising in self- goals
Hygiene: Public efforts too needed
Jobless Growth: Alarming situation
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