The NTMN Guide

Simple ways to get mass attention: Here’s the Golden Rulebook to get yourself heard

August 1947

“Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, free booters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.” — Winston Churchill.

August 2012

We’re now into the 21st century, and Churchill’s words couldn’t have got any truer. Many a time, major incidents, historic or otherwise, well- or ill-intentioned, give rise to interesting phenomena; patterns emerge which can then be replicated, mass-produced, (mis)utilized and benefited from by others. Today, people abuse others on live TV, sit on hunger strikes, campaign at yoga camps (which later turn into cross-dressing competitions), don’t open shop on random days, dress up in their birthday suits, tweet, fight, slap others, go to Indian Idol auditions without having ever listened to music—all in the name of drawing attention! Sadly, there is no comprehensive list of such techniques, and here I attempt to compile the same for greater good. Reader’s discretion is advised.

If you wish to seek attention and get work done, here’s all that can make it effective and rewarding:

1) Make it very clear who the bad guys are.

First of all, project the authorities as villains, sadists, outsiders or even criminals. You need to convince your audience about the intensity of their villainy in such a way that not a single soul dares to differ. And if someone differs, you can always put them in the same category as those authorities.

So, if someone is not a Leftist, then they MUST be a frantic profit-sucking capitalist. If a media person is anti-Congress, he/she MUST only be a part of some RSS-backed organization. If one doesn’t support Team Anna, he/she is NOT serious about the anti-corruption movement (read Congressmen). And, if someone dares to not support Didi, you can safely tell everyone that we are dealing with a Maoist. It’s that simple and straightforward.

2) Project yourself as the knight in shining armour, out to save the common public at large.

Talk about your cause, not as if it is someone’s personal agenda. But as if you are the hero who is going to save the nation. Talk as if you are giving voice to a popular cause of public unrest. You can start talking about your agenda by saying things like:

“It was he/she/they/me who suffered today, it can be YOU tomorrow! Wake up and fight!” OR “I am not asking this for myself, but for the good of the entire country!”

Or you can use clichés like you are fighting “the common man’s struggle” or “the Second War of Independence”.

Aren’t these methods novel? Our native stubborn style of pulling attention has come a long way since ninety-four years ago, when the Satyagraha was observed at Champaran. Mahatma Gandhi showed us ways in which we could demand the attention of concerned authorities and get work done. Along with some inspiration from the rest of the world, he had successfully formed path breaking and effective tools to extract so-called justice for ourselves as and when one wants.

After you have decided your method(s), the first step towards executing your plan is to choose a role model for yourself. India has numerous great men and women to choose from. They have given us ample opportunities to learn from their mistakes so that we don’t waste our time on hit-and-trial methods.  Some of the pioneers have utilized the above mentioned methods in their own distinct manners and achieved success. Here are the role models, and their techniques:

Role Models

The Anna Hazare Way: This method—“Fast Until You Are Heard”—is recommended for children and wives to build pressure on their parents or husbands for their reasonable/unreasonable demands. This formula works because they are concerned about you, and cannot see you languishing. So, the next time you need a video game or a bike or a car or a girlfriend or jewellery, feel free to opt for Anna Hazare as your role model.

The Arvind Kejriwal Way: This “Jump Into Politics” Method is for office-going people (yes, engineers included) who are tired and frustrated of their job and are looking to do something different. Of course, this group of people is an important asset to the country. But who cares? So, all those people who strive to do something different: kindly join politics. We need a lot of people who are well-educated and understand the nuances of being a public or company servant in their respective capacities to serve the nation.

The Baba Ramdev Way: It is hard to define this method since it is the most volatile way of seeking attention. This mainly works on the idea of pretending to build pressure on the authorities by issuing unnoticed warnings. The unique feature of this method is that you don’t have to compromise on your healthy habits for the sake of your demands. This is highly recommended for those facing atrocities in showbiz. You can protest while you are using your treadmill or slim-sauna belt or yoga mat. Give them an ultimatum to which they will obviously not pay much attention. In this way, the damage is caused to neither your health nor anyone’s wealth.

The Didi Way: Sorry, we don’t have a name for this method, but this is truly Indian in spirit and origin. After all, where else can you expect a government to be quasi-paralyzed, not because of the Opposition, but due to its own allies? Didi has a very unique way of seeking attention. She has hit the headlines time and again with her wide range of ways, from bandhs to hunger strikes to affidavits to letters to the Prime Minister to making public speeches and lashing out at the government. We strongly recommend this method for the various NGOs trying to make their presence felt and steal their space into the local daily.

The Candle March Way: Do it at least once every week at home to save electricity. We are sure if you do it on a collective basis, one of the national dailies will notice and publish it. In this way, you can see your name in the newspaper while spreading awareness on the power crisis in our country. Also, it can be a very good way to show your solidarity with those of your countrymen who are doomed to live without electricity, not paying any heed however to the fact that the electricity used to run the machines for making the candles you just burned might very well surpass the pittance you saved.

The Muntadhar al-Zaidi Way: It works wonders if you throw your unusable shoes at useless politicians. This is an innovative technique to seek attention, if not mend the politician. This is more of a one-to-one confrontation between the victim (authority) and the perpetrator. This kind of act is generally backed by applauses of like-minded people. The credit of its popularity goes to its cost-effective nature and least damage-causing tendency. We do not identify this as a way to protest, though it is a very good way to seek attention. Therefore, use it at your own risk.

The Bare-It-All Way: Last but not the least, try to emulate Poonam Pandey or Sherlyn Chopra. This is the path to instant stardom. Such services are the best you can do for your country. The Cricket World Cup, after all, was won this way!

So go right ahead! Save your nation/grab attention. All the best!

(with inputs from Satat Mishra, Karan Taneja and editorial team)

About the author

Jyoti Singh


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