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Updated: April 24, 2013 03:59 IST

Modi adept at marketing himself, says Mallika Sarabhai

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Danseuse Mallika Sarabhai delivers the second Hemlata Prabhu memorial lecture in Jaipur on Tuesday. Photo: Rohit Jain Paras
The Hindu
Danseuse Mallika Sarabhai delivers the second Hemlata Prabhu memorial lecture in Jaipur on Tuesday. Photo: Rohit Jain Paras

He knows how to make the most of social media

Gujarat Chief Mnister Narendra Modi has managed to find favour with the youth, marketing himself through social media, danseuse Mallika Sarabhai said on Tuesday.

“To begin with, there is a huge leadership vacuum and Mr. Modi knows how to market himself brilliantly. He knows how to make the most of social media and today’s youth is all about social media,” she told The Hindu.

Ms. Sarabhai was here to deliver the second Hemlata Prabhu Memorial lecture at the Jawahar Kala Kendra.

Asked whether Mr. Modi’s recent popularity among the youth was an open, post-modernist acceptance of “voices from above,” she said that was the case only within Gujarat.

“In Gujarat, to an extent, he is still accepted for his regressive ideology but his popularity outside the State is driven by his brilliant marketing of himself.”

During the lecture, Ms. Sarabhai recalled her experience of being falsely accused and hounded by the Modi government.

“I had to hide under a carpet in the boot of a vehicle and cross over to Udaipur in Rajasthan to escape arrest. From there, I had to wear disguises and move from one city to another for 18 days till I could apply for bail.” Earlier, speaking on ‘Art, Education and Citizenship,’ she said art had long been an organic medium of expression but over the years it came to be reduced to “entertainment”.

“Art used to be a participative exercise and people used it as a medium of expression within the society but now it only means entertainment.” Dances and other media of artistic expression had served as a vehicle for transmission of culture and storytelling.

In today’s society, however, art was externalised and relegated to the stage.

But how did art, which is in many respects the most basic form of education, come to be restricted to “finer” definitions?

“That’s because we have embraced the Macaulay model of education, which basically meant to make officer clerks out of Indians so they could serve the British empire,” said Ms. Sarabhai.

Hemlata Prabhu, in whose memory the lecture was held, was co-founder of the Rajasthan chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

“Ms. Prabhu was born and brought up in Chennai but dedicated her life to women’s education in Jaipur. She was a pioneer of the women’s movement in Jaipur and also led the anti-Sati movement here,” said Kavita Srivastava, PUCL national secretary. Ms. Prabhu taught English at Jaipur’s Maharani College for 20 years and went on to establish the Kanodia College in 1966.

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I am sure the Indian people are sensible enough to realize that a person like Modi with shaky secular credentials and total lack of an inculsive, cosmopolitan approach cannot possibly be a good thing for a country like India. I agree with Ms Sarabhai that a good part of his popularity outside Gujarat comes from very clever marketing of himself.

from:  Sarah G
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 23:36 IST

No one can successfully market an unmarketable product. We have a
plethora of political examples and need not even go to the consumer
goods market for one. Thus, if Modi has marketed himself 'brilliantly',
he is eminently marketable in the first place. Whatever Ms Sarabhai may
have intended to convey, she has only enhanced Modi's repute and
receptivity among pan Indian voters. With all the might at its command,
Congress is unable to similarly market Rahul. You can only sell what
people want to buy.

from:  N.S.Rajan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 19:13 IST

Narendra Modi contested elections and reelected CM for the third time.
He (his party) has obtained more than simple majority in the
legislature. If the author has any issues let her go to the electorate
and impress upon them. Of course, she belongs to the special class of
"activist-intellectuals" and many in Gujarat may not qualify to be in
this exclusive club!

from:  kvjayan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 17:03 IST

My heart goes out for the sheer immature state of mind Mallika has at
the age of 58. She fails to understand that social media can be used
by anyone for any purpose, until the purpose does not lock horns with
the law. Mr. Modi is not marketing himself, people know what he has
done for Gujrat and what he is capable of doing for his country. A
woman, who had many live-in relations and a failed marriage - How can
she comment about the integrity of a honorable man like Mr. Modi? Till
today, I have never heard about this senseless Mallika and I would not
have come to know of her, if Modi was not included in the title of
this article. She was an independent candidate against BJP's L.K.
Advani in 2009, what did she achieve? Why could'nt she use the media
and win the election, instead of losing all of her election deposit?

from:  Narasimhan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 09:30 IST

What is Mallika's point? Isn't marketing oneself what all candidates for election do?

from:  arun visvanathan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 08:55 IST
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