So taj finally got its name etched in the so called new seven wonders! Wow what a feat, never before have I seen a country of a billion people, acting blindly. It is easy to appeal to the patriotic fervor of Indians, especially when hard work is not involved, but what many did not realize is that the whole New7Wonders (N7W) campaign was a private commercial enterprise.
When I first read about this new seven wonder poll, I said what the fuck, why do we need new wonders, are the old ones destroyed.
Next they tell me u can vote online and by sms. sms huh, wont that be a international number?
Surprise its a local number. wtf. did UN setup that to work with all operatos in India! In a week its all over the media. Vote for taj somehow got linked to patriotism ( which after RDB seems to be the buzz word among youth ). So the media is on crusade to get ‘INDIAS TAJ’ in the top seven.
I decided to do some research. the site newsevenwonders.com is owned by a private organization. all my efforts to find their links with UN or UNESCO go in vain. hmm i say. Searching more I find out NewSevenWonders is a brainchild of Bernard Weber, a Swiss businessman who has also dabbled in films, the campaign was orchestrated by his for-profit corporation called New Open World Corporation (NOWC). Weber roped in Federico Mayor, a former UNESCO director-general, to be part of this project, but UNESCO itself was not involved. Needless to say, this campaign has miffed experts who question the integrity of a private body that will declare a new set of seven wonders. History gives sanctity to only one list of Seven Wonders, the one that was compiled by Greek mathematician Philon of Byzantium in 200 BC.
The sms number distributed in the media here turns out to be what I call the cash vending sms machine. The more sms u send, the more money someone makes. so whose eating all this money. turns out 15% went directly to the government in the form of a wireless planning coordination fee. 64% went to the cellphone operator you used to vote. The bulk of the remaining rupee was divided in equal halves between a company called IMI which collected all the votes in an electronic vault-like space and media partners like IMCL. Weber made two to three paise for every rupee that was spent on the voting. Wow this is one hell of a collaborated effort to save our national pride. Wonder why they cant think of something like this for the prime ministers relief fund. A remarkable aspect of this poll was that nothing stopped a person from voting many times. LOL I should have made a script and flooded their server with taj sms’s.
I wonder dosen’t India have the unfair advantage of 1 billon people to vote for, or the United States where pagers and mobiles are so common. Poor Turkey’s monument dosen’t stand a chance.
This shows what media has come to become in a country like India. the news has gone from being irresponsible to vague. when a plastic eating goat is the top headline of the day, something is terribly wrong. Radio jockeys and advertisements tried to whip up a fear. They said grimly that the Taj is lagging by millions of votes and that Indians must quickly do something about this. They said, if you really loved India and by that association, the Taj, you must vote. A commercial even had a blind boy asking Indians to vote. “I have heard it is beautiful,” he said in a heartbreaking way. The N7W campaign proved how overtly and how easily nationalism can be exploited to make money for a few.
Meanwhile, the Taj is yellowing. The pollution around it is slowly destroying it. The Yamuna, on whose banks this monument has stood for centuries, is a national embarrassment. And Agra continues to be a miserable, filthy town, an unworthy host to a magnificent symbol of love. Saving the Taj will require the kind of heroic political effort that has not been witnessed in free India. And it is improbable that such an effort will be undertaken. When it comes to expressing vacant patriotism, Indians have always chosen the easier option. In the case of Weber’s gambit, lakhs of Indians had to just press some buttons. And they apparently did.
I hope the media grows up, and understands, that they are going to have the most powerful influence in shaping the future off this country.