Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oscar India...Oscar

On the day of the Oscar awards, India died of happiness but rose in the realization of what otherness it has been bestowed with and by what curious eyes, it has been viewed by the west. The three unparalleled individual talents kissed the Oscar statue. India dampened its eyes. The happiness was that much. It was difficult to hold the pounding heart without the chill of tears poured over it.

Slum Dog Millionaire, the film, which won the best film award and Smile Pinky, the film, which won the best short film award, both are about India. ‘About India’-that phrase is to be underlined. There are question marks on whether they have portrayed India in the way as it really is.

There is a western archetypal curiosity about India and its life, from the European renaissance or even before it. Columbus’s landing on America and many other geographical discoveries also are the after effects of that curiosity. It is that curiosity that we can identify in the Oscar achievements of these Indian films, about Indian life.

This western curiosity as it is evident from the two films, is not rose from the fancy to see the extreme prosperity, but the reversal. It is there, that we still feel of ourselves post-colonial. We are being viewed with that inferior sense, with sympathy. But is the west blamable for their attitude? Is our situation better than what is shown in such films or in novels like “The White Tiger”?

Here, the answers are not necessary, because the concept of ‘answering’ is a pacifying one. Answers are provided to pacify the question maker. They are questions that can evoke the human consciousness and keep it burning. And I don’t want my fellow beings to be passive.

The Hollywood filmmakers will start to choose India as a dream destination for their films. This would become a trend, or have it already? Whether it would be sympathy or curiosity, they would definitely get the necessary things, and along with that, India will rise to a world class ‘show piece’. But if such sympathetic is our real situation, how can we stop them from peeping into our ‘realities’! It is the time for introspection to be self-aware.

Let them make what ever the west want. If the world wants to see us wearing the hyphenated identity, let us be called the post-colonials. As A.R. Rahman said a few days back, we have a lot to give to the world. If the west wants us to play the role of the post-colonials, let us play it and play it in a way that we can grab all their attention, prizes and the precious. This is the way to conquer the world. It is in this place that Rahman and Rasool Pookutty becomes the real heroes of modern India. Also, Danny Boyle and his crew deserved the very best of the results. Their individual talents cannot be undermined at any context. And the Oscar goes for that.

Problems Faced by the Post-Colonial Consumers

Introduction.

There is no one that can be called consumer in the truest sense. ‘Consumer’ is the result of the process of marketing. The identity of the consumer is an ambivalent one, because the consumer is the holder of money or the possession, which when he transfers to the market, it becomes the ‘investment’ for the market and a facility to satisfy his needs. The need of the persons provides the space for the establishment of the market. The market labels the individual as a consumer. These semantic identities act as an interlinked chain and are transferred through the market.

Not only linguistic labeling, but many other discourses also can be seen transmitted through market, especially after the globalization. They are:

1.Adulteration

The action of adulterating, being mixed with extraneous material, illicit substitution of one substance for another is known as adulteration. It becomes more embarrassingly conspicuous in the third world post-colonial countries. Not only the indigenous grocers, but also the indigenous establishments of the multinational producers, involve in adulteration for the increase of their profits. Thus the third world nations are forced to strive through one of the most dangerous practices of the market, for such activities can result in very serious health problems. The consumers of these nations are mostly uneducated and this lower literacy levels result in the unknowing subservience to this vice.

2.Under weighing and under measurement.

The under weighing and under measurement of the commodities sold, causes considerable loss in the side of the consumer and it in turn enlarges the number of negative practices of the market as an institution. Illiteracy can be point out as a cause for the succumbing of customers to this act of cheating. An ordinary Indian middle class well-educated consumer can be seen undergoing such experiences daily. So we can’t blame illiteracy alone for the problem. Through different ‘modern ways’, the cheating process is in its long run!

3.High prices.

Another major problem, which a developing third world nation like India suffers, is the lack of quality of the products sold here. If the consumer wants good quality products, he or she has to pay a high amount of money for that. Even after that there is no guarantee for the quality of the product. Recently the global economic crisis also has made the Indian markets to boom up their values. So the middle class and lover middle class consumers of India are in the hot pan.

4.Hoarding

Through the act of hoarding, the grocer hides his goods from sale when they are doing business in low prices, and sells after the market has risen to hot prices. This is a curse rather than a customer related issue. In India in particular, from ration dealers to multinational establishments, all hide the profit from consumer and squeeze the customers to increase their own profits. This can be seen as a part of the neo-colonialism. Each grocer acting as a self-ascertaining entity, exercises their own value systems and norms, which the consumer has to adjust with, for the cause of survival.

Image Courtesy: Google

5.Selling sub-standard goods to consumers.

Quality, as mentioned earlier is a very important concern for its lack in the Indian markets. The recent controversies related with the health care sector are enough to shock our conscious mind. The medicines, which are sold in the Indian markets are prohibited or the second quality products, from the foreign countries. In this scenario we have no other choice, other than “risking our lives to avoid death”. Not only the health sector, but the other areas of every day life also are affected by this crisis. Indian markets are flooded with such commodities, which are low in quality. But this is not the real plight. The real issue is that a common Indian is forced to consume all these low quality products, for he or she has no other choice. Most of us are unaware of the lack of quality of the product that we consume. Thus goes the adversity.

6.False and duplicate items sold.

This is another plight of the Indian consumer. In this age of high technology along with the convenience, it has given the generation the curse of unidentifiable duplicates. Our markets are flooded with such low vale duplicates with the same looks as the original, which occasionally fool the consumer. Thus the money that he pays will be lost in the low quality duplicates.

7.Selling goods, which have reached expiry date.
This issue has to be tackled seriously because this affects mostly in the medicinal sector. The medicines that have crossed the expiry date can cause even the death of the patient. The ignorance of the consumer is the main cause of this issue. Even though the government has taken measures to aware people about this fact, those measures have not reached their destination.

8.False or incomplete information.Through giving false or incomplete information the companies usually cheat the consumers. This has been a regular practice in the contemporary market. Unless the consumer gets the awareness about this no one can save him. Often it is seen that people fall into colorful ads and appearances of the products, and cheated.

9.Skipping away from the offers promised.

This is another issue, which usually comes into light. As a part of the new sale techniques, offers are abundantly provided. But only a few among them are fulfilled. The consumers fall into such practices for their greed, but later find it a trap. It is such psychological instincts that are utilized by the market.

10.Rough behaviour from the shopkeepers.

An issue of serious concern but less cared about. The consumers pay the money for getting adequate service from the market. But rude and impolite behaviors from the shopkeepers make the scene really worse.

11.Poor or inadequate after sale service.

This is also a matter of not keeping the consumers faith. The after sale services offered are usually not satisfied. There are no such provisions in our law system, known to the common people, through which they can get justice.

12.Globalization and neo-colonialism.

The ways through which neo-colonialism and globalization affect the consumers are various. The world has become a village and every good and bad product flows through it to the ordinary man. He is the one to choose. His discrimination capacity plays a vital roll in guarding his favors in this market chain.

Image Courtesy: Google
Conclusion.
All these discussions point towards our post-colonial identity. The market, which the West had established here, during the post independent era by no means, was suited for our needs and comforts. But after independence our productive system failed to replace the western products with indigenous alternatives. At present, as the world itself has reduced its ‘size’ the crisis becomes more important and needs immediate attention. The deliberate interference of the government, as a control over the market, only can resolve the crisis faced by the Indian consumer.
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