Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts


Why is Chappel whining again?

Greg Chappel today mutilated memories. Of a game, of victories, of celebrations, of a culture, of Australia. His disturbing comments on Indian psyche, Indian culture was uncalled for and coming from a sportsman - known primarily for physical prowess and 'effective hand-eye coordination' or something like that - reflected a lack of intellectual capacity. Unfortunately, his comments take us back to a time when we were discussing in India about 'White Australian' bias against people of color, including Indians. This was just after a spate of violence against Indians in Australia. Sons of Australia, it seems, rarely do their country proud. Maybe their parents would do well to exercise more control.

Chappel's dismissal of the colonial experience of India as something inconsequential was really alarming. 
"Poms really taught them how to keep their heads down"
This is Chappel's sense of history of one of the most brutalizing experiences in human history. The indigenous population of Australia too were victims. Of Chappel's ancestors. The British violated every principle of the rule of law and gentlemanly conduct they tom-tom about to colonize through craft, not might. They did it again, just before the Iraq war, shamelessly lying to the world. They only understood force, and blood; they did not understand non-violence. They left.

What does Chappel or Australian cricketers think is the ideal way for Indians to conduct themselves? What is their frame of reference? Who has given them the right to do it for us?Why should we? No, we will not sledge, no, we will not behave like juveniles in a cricketing field. Remember two of our most mild-mannered and gentlemanly cricketers crushed your team at Kolkata in 2001? Maybe its not required. Maybe its not the Indian way. We have won two World Cups, been the number one Test team, won the T20 World Cup, we have done it all following the Indian way. Why should we be like you? Why should your way be the only way? 

This actually smacks of aversive racism and an attempt to redefine the narrative. Trying to understand the native through your own prism and getting the 'other' to become like 'you' so that subjugation and superiority is complete. Yes Mr Chappel, British did that too and I am sure your ancestors did that in Australia, but hey it is 2012 not 1850. In your mind we are still the subject. You came on a civilizing mission as the coach of the Indian team only to realize that times have changed. Not on a professional assignment. Maybe there was a conspiracy against you, maybe you were being taken for a ride, but for you it was unfathomable that 'natives' do not listen to you anymore. I hope I am proven wrong, your remarks nonetheless, brings to my mind thoughts such as these. Of you, of Australia. It also brings to my mind an Australian verse. Yes, Australian,
No more woomera, no more boomerang,
No more playabout, no more the old ways.
Children of nature we were then,
No clocks hurrying crowds to toil.
Now I am civilized and work in the white way,
Now I have dress, now I have shoes:
‘Isn’t she lucky to have a good job!’
Better when I had only a dillybag.
Better when I had nothing but happiness
(*Noonuccal, ‘Then and Now’, in My People, (Milton, 1981), p. 91.)
When it comes to being respectful of cultures, Indian cricketers have behaved nearly impeccably in public glare, thanks to Indian parenting that Chappel scoffs at. Parents do and can teach a thing or two, including sensitivity and good behavior. Chappel apparently learnt nothing. Wonder what Chappel taught his kids?

Regarding the mental toughness of Indian cricketers, Chappel is very well familiar what it takes to make it to the final playing XI in a country of 1 billion, where everyone aspires to become a cricketer.  The sacrifices, heartbreaks, difficult playing conditions, lack of cricketing facilities, opaque systems - you have to really overcome all. Ask a Sehwag or a Munaaf Patel or an Irfan Pathan or a Dravid. They have all gone through that. I might be wrong, but I don't think any Australian cricketer can survive that. 

Isn't it time the Australian cricketing establishment clearly lay down rules of responsible conduct for current cricketers and ex-cricketers like Chappel, and, 'hammer' it into their heads (apparently they are all thick headed) that they need to behave responsibly because they represent Australia? 'Its just the Aussie way' doesn't help because Chappel's rants can be just dismissed as the 'Indian way' that he either takes or leaves but do not whine. Media loves the culture of sound bytes, do not feed them because they are only around until someone else comes up with a better one.

Chappel's book launch was a PR disaster for letting the press conference go out of control. India, today has a population of nearly 350 million English speaking middle class out of which even if there are 1 million  'readers,' that's a market you do not alienate. Indians are a proud lot when it comes to their culture and way of life and controversies like these can get you ink but trust me Mr Chappel, not the money. Should we call for a boycott of your book and exalt you to the status of a Rushdie? I don't know much about your writing abilities but what you have done is definitely Satanic. Have you, Mr Chappel, forgotten that the buyers of the world are now in India? Have you, Mr Chappel, forgotten that cricket and English language are two things we snatched away from your colonizing ancestors in England?

Suggestions/Critiques welcome.

-- Madhur


Paper: The role of global media and how governments can strengthen Australian–Indian relations through strategic communications

The following is an abstract of a paper I recently presented at an international PD conference  - "Public Diplomacy in Theory and Practice: Culture, Information and Interpretation in Australian-Indian Relations" - at the India International Centre, New Delhi, on April 8th. Do email me your observations/critiques, if any.

An analysis of the role of global media and how Governments can strengthen Australian–Indian relations through strategic communications

Australian-Indian relations were severely tested recently over unprovoked violence against Indians in 2009 and early 2010. The issue revealed the central role of media in international relations today. Indian newspapers - Mail Today, The Times of India etc., - aggressively reported on the issue and made the Australians defensive, and, Government of India to react as per media’s analysis of events. This reflected a lack of
 - Media relations strategy &
- Realization by both governments about pervasiveness of “conversations in media” today.
This paper argues how governments need to be imaginative, strategic and adopt a campaign approach to media relations when it comes to public diplomacy.
Be it the angry rebuttal by Victoria Police or India’s foreign minister’s veiled threats to Australia, the official reactions lacked direction. The problem was further exacerbated by inherent limitation in government communications which are mostly “one way” and seen as “less credible” and “defensive” vis-a-vis media in democracies. Besides, both governments failed in communicating effectively to domestic audiences on the issue. The solution lies in governments understanding role of
- Global media relations,
- Diverse players in a “conversation economy,” and,
- Adopting a “campaign approach” with tools used effectively by the private sector 

There is a convergence of strategic interests between both countries. Bilateral relationships, trade, people to people contacts have never been so good. Both have an interest in the stability of Asia and preventing Chinese dominance of Asia.Keeping in mind the synergies, it is a cause for alarm when The Times of India recently reported that there has been a 46% drop in the number of student visa applications to Australia.While certain sections in India may feel vindicated, it holds significant implications when it comes to building a strategic partnership with Australia as student exchanges are a key to building “generational flesh and blood linkages.” Hence, it is important for governments to shape the debate successfully in the media to encourage people to people exchanges.

Suggestions/Critiques welcome.

-- Madhur


There's more to social media than Facebook and Twitter!

I was at an international PD conference yesterday speaking on the "Role of global media and how strategic communication can strengthen Australia-India relations." This was at an international conference - "Public Diplomacy in Theory and Practice: Culture, Information and Interpretation in Australian-Indian Relations" - organized by the Alfred Deakins Research Institute, Australia and Rajdhani College, Delhi University, India. The conference is being sponsored by the Australia India institute and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India. 

During my talk, I emphasized the role of conversations in shaping perceptions today and the potential of social media. It was interesting to field lot of questions, after my talk, that bordered on cynicism towards social media and the sphere of influence of web enabled platforms. In this gathering of academics and policy wonks, what I could not help notice was that social media was broadly understood to be 'Facebook' and 'Twitter,' and, the limitations of the these two social networking platforms to influence and engage. 

Conversations in social media do not necessarily happen on these two platforms. There are numerous other areas where debates are being shaped, opinions formed and perceptions created. Simplest example, that comes to mind, is the space for reader's comments on news websites. This is where people take action on news, engage in debates and express opinions. Consider the article below that generated 477 comments on the issue of violence against Indians in Australia. This is The Economist and not even a newspaper from Australia or India. This is an example of social media enabled conversation that can shape perceptions. How do we manage such conversations?

Regrettable facts

Thuggery mars a burgeoning friendship

Australia and anti-Indian violence

See article

Readers' comments

Reader comments on this article are listed below. The 15-day commenting period for this article has expired and comments are no longer being accepted. Review our comments policy.

1-20 of 477

EliasX wrote:
Jun 18th 2009 4:48 GMT
The Economist, like other media, fails to mention what kind of Lebanese-Australians are apparently attacking Indians in Australia.
Officialdom calls this a “law-and-order” issue, and the Indian press rants about “racism” in Australia. No one, it seems, is asking what kind of Lebanese these assailants are.
Are they Christians? Or, more likely, are they Muslims? The Indians are mostly, one would assume, Hindus. Maybe this is a religious issue? Muslims, given Islamic tenets regarding polytheists and idolators, have a long, sordid, intolerant, and murderous history of “Hinduphobia.”
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