Thursday, August 19, 2010

Innovation- Marketing Khimar Wear Sports Garments for Muslim Women


Khimar Wear provides modest clothing for Muslim women athletes and sports persons. It has made a breakthrough in a very niche market and offered a unique solution to the problem of Muslim women desirous of participating in sporting activities.

Our clients are women from all sections of society who want to participate in outdoor and sporting activities and at the same time maintain their cultural and ethnic identities and also their modesty in accordance with the tenets of Islam. There have been incidents of women being forbidden to use public sporting facilities due to their costumes that covered their bodies entirely. Khimar Wear offers a solution for such women by introducing a range of products that will help avert such situations in future.

Khimar Wear observes the latest technological advancements and labour rules in its manufacturing units. It uses light-weight, stretchable and durable nylon, soft Pro-shell, Gore-Tex and Lycra as material for its products. These allow garments to be made in layers which remain ultra-light weight and very comfortable. The products are designed innovatively that allow flaps and zippers to be added at strategic positions that cannot be seen by others yet allow free breathing of the material and keep the body insulated. Microbiological activities are minimized and add a fresh and healthy feel to the garments. These are quick-drying and extremely elastic to allow for comfortable and free movements and are easy to wear and remove.
Khimar Wear products range from swimwear, snow sports garments, boxing outfits, tennis, badminton, aerobics and athletic wear. They come in a wide range of colours and sizes and are ensured for safe, hazard-free wear by children and adults.

The market is available around the world, especially with the Islamic women coming to the fore and asserting their right to participate in all public activities. Khimar Wear targets the growing markets in the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Europe. Our research has shown that more than 50% women in Islamic nations would prefer to join sporting activities if they were assured of a decent sports garment that would help them preserve their modesty and their cultural values.

At Khimar Wear, we exhibit exemplary industry standards and spend a significant portion of our investment towards research and training of the workers and staff. Our sales projections for the coming fiscal year show that sales will amount to £30m. The salary for the workers and management staff will amount to £1.2 m. Our constant endeavour to keep our products updated with the latest international standards has made us compulsorily invest 1.5 to 3% of our annual sales on R&D.

Finally, we can say truthfully, that none of our factories at the different locations worldwide can be turned as sweat shops. Therefore, the future also is equally bright as the present for our products.

1. Business Opportunity
a. A day in the life of Khimar Wear
b. Marketing Pitch
2. Introduction
3. Business Concept
a. Overview
b. Benefits
4. Industry
a. Overview
b. Trends and Sales
c. SWOT analysis
5. Competitive Analysis
a. Porter’s Analysis
b. ERRC Analysis
6. Market Analysis
a. Technical Feasibility
7. Marketing Strategy
8. Management Feasibility
9. Financial Management
10. Conclusion
11. Bibliography

A day in the life of Khimar Wear

Khimar Wear is a niche product and is creating quite a space for itself in the consumer market. Khimar wear products will be available in all sporting goods retail stores as well as in shopping malls and privately owned boutiques all over the world. We envisage profitability, growth and a good market share in the coming months. It will be an alternative to products manufactured by established brands like Nike and Adidas.

This is a typical day in the life of a Khimar Wear brand manager.

8:00 am: News briefing for advertisements along with advertising agencies.
10:00 am: Addressing concerns from retail outlet owners and making corporate communications assuring consumers of the high quality standards that are being maintained in the manufacturing process.
12:00 pm: Assuring corporate associates of Khimar Wear being an asset in terms of profitability and value of the brand.
1:00 pm: Lunch with Operations Manager and get a pulse of the business.
2:30 pm: Housekeeping. Talking to marketing officers, manufacturing workers, sales officers, promotional agents and taking stock of inventory.
4:30 pm: Visiting retails stores and connecting customers at different Khimar Wear outlet locations.
5:30 pm: Speaking to sponsors and convincing them of the newer products that are being manufactured to keep up with demands of the market.
6:00 pm: Reporting to headquarters and updating senior management of the day’s proceedings.


The Common Wealth Games are round the corner. There are several Islamic nations that will participate in the Common Wealth Games being held in New Delhi, India, this October. However, the Islamic nations have few women representatives. One of the reasons is that Islamic women do not have the proper sportswear that will enable them to participate in the games and maintain their ethnic and cultural norms.

Khimar Wear has come up with exciting new sports gear for women that ensures comfort, fashion and value for money. There is a whole new range of styles, colour, sizes, fabric and designs to suit the individual needs of the customers. The demand for Khimar Wear products is increasing manifold as more and more women realize the exclusiveness of the products, range, durability and brand value of Khimar Wear.

Khimar Wear has reached out to customers across the globe and has made purchasing easier by opening e-stores for online purchase and facilitates order placing. The online transactions alone, on an annual basis are estimated to be £10m catering to customers in the Middle East and Islamic countries of Asia. New research shows that there will be a substantial hike in the sales of Khimar Wear products during the Common Wealth Games 2010. Therefore, great attention has been paid to manufacturing products that offer a good mix of sports gear.

World famous lawn tennis champion, Sania Mirza and famous boxer, Laila Ali, have been chosen to be the brand ambassadors for Khimar Wear products. They maintain that comfort is as much a part of being a sports woman as appearance is and prefer to wear Khimar Wear for their ultra light wear, quick drying, and super elasticity of the materials that go into making Khimar Wear sports clothes.

Australia has a huge market for business buyers as well as buyers of consumer products. Even though the consumers far outnumber the business buyers, the volume of sales in the business market is greater than that of the consumer market. Since making any kind of purchase involves making a decision by the customer, the product should be marketed in a way that the customer can make a positive and quick decision. In order to introduce a new and innovative product one needs to study and analyze the behaviour of the consumer.

Khimar Wear understands the need for Muslim women to work out and participate freely in sporting activities as alternative to sedentary pursuits like home-making and reinforcing their femininity and ladylike behaviour. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to health problems like increased chances of coronary diseases, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, etc. The general belief that Islam forbids women from participating in sports is not entirely correct. It is recommended in Islam that women should not participate in mixed gender sports and must cover their bodies appropriately while engaging in public sporting activities.

The famous swimsuit brand Burqini designed by Aheda Zanetti, came into being as she understood the need for women to get healthy exercise and at the same time maintain their modesty. She was able to make a niche in the market by exploiting this need and filling the gap. Khimar Wear specializes in all sports dresses for Islamic women. All sporting dresses follow the Islamic prescription of covering their arms, legs and head. Like Shelina Zahra Janmohamed has mentioned in the prologue of her book, Love in a Headscarf, Muslim women don’t need to “fit into other people’s boxes” (2009). Khimar Wear provides women this option of being themselves and deciding to follow their hearts and remain true to their ethnicity.

Sporting activities, physical exercise and following health routines to maintain good health is becoming very popular and is a necessity in coping with the stresses of our hectic and fast-paced world. Sports equipment and sports costumes manufacturers have responded positively to this increasing area of consumer demand and come up with various innovative ideas and products.

Sports wear needs to address a few key areas such as comfort, stretch ability, material that allows the skin to breathe, sweat absorbent and allow heat to escape from the body in a regulated manner. In order to achieve all of these people usually need to wear multi-layered clothing which can be cumbersome and restricting.


Khimar Wear takes all of this into consideration and has come up with a unique brand of sportswear for women, keeping Muslim women in focus. The vision is to help Islamic women come out of their sedentary lifestyles and enjoy the benefits of sports and physical activities. The advantage is twofold:

• It will encourage Muslim women to participate in sports and maintain their modesty
• It will help the sporting world to tap into a potential source of talent
The purpose of this report is to bring to the notice of investors and stake holders the uniqueness and marketability of Khimar Wear products. Khimar Wear pays particular attention to the quality of products, reasonable pricing, advertising, and bringing a change in the lifestyle of a very important section of global population. It also strives to break down gender bias in sports and affords the opportunity for all women to buy these attractive sports clothing and feel drawn towards sporting activities.

Overview of the Sports Garments Industry:

The global sports garments industry has witnessed significant changes in the past several years. The garment manufacturing industry in general and the sports clothes manufactures like Nike, Speedo, Adidas, etc. Have a formal presence in developing countries as well. Since the market has expanded these companies are constantly on the lookout for cheaper sources of raw material and manufacturing capabilities. The sports garments supply is also increasing globally and flexible export policies and legislation has made it possible for more new ventures from developing countries to establish their brands in the global market.

Due to advancement in fabric technology and the innovations in the sports wear industry Muslim women can now participate in full time sporting careers and amateurs enthusiastic about sports can also participate in sporting activities without fear of fatwas and public ridicule. In recent times sports clothes made from high-tech fabrics such as lightweight lycra, nylon and soft shells has become popular as they help to keep out moisture, provide insulation and are good for durability.

Trends and Sales in Sports Wear Industry

 The global market for garments industry in general has shrunk at around 1.8% (Just-Style 2010) due to global meltdown and financial crisis in the developed countries. This has impacted the sportswear industry as well, though, the recent FIFA World Cup championships and the coming Common Wealth Games have reversed the ominous trends.

 Sports clothing has had on an average of 18.6 million USD of annual sales in the last year 2009 (Stock Adidas). Sport garment manufacturing companies like Nike and Adidas report quarterly sales at 2.91 billion Euros which emphasizes an upward trend in sportswear sales.
 China continues to expand its sports clothing exports in spite of imposition of export quotas by Europe and America. China has broken into the Asian and Australian markets and continues to lead in sports garment and sports equipment industry.
 Developing countries, particularly those in Asia, are expanding their manufacturing and marketing capabilities due to low cost of production. Countries like India, Bangladesh and Vietnam are making their presence felt in the sports garment industry.
 Countries like Turkey and Brazil are emerging as potential investors and market for the sports garment industry.

As this study reveals, the cost of production, tariff preferences, availability of raw material, and standard of labour and political and economic stability will be the major factors that will affect the sports garments industry in future. An increasing awareness and inclusion of women in the sporting arena will increase the demand for fashion in sports garments and also be responsible for the growth of this industry.

Khimar Wear envisions capturing and establishing monopoly over the Muslim women population of the world. The total world population is estimated to be around 6,873,200,000 according to the United States Census Bureau. 10 percent of this is comprised of Muslim women. So this presents an enormous potential to grow as a brand as more and more Muslim women are drawn into the sports arena. The sizes vary from extra small and small to medium, large and extra large and the unique and customizable designs of Khimar Wear products cater to every Muslim woman. Khimar Wear products represent innovation in marketing and product identification suited for a very special target group.

SWOT Analysis

i. Infrastructure for manufacturing Khimar Wear products is in place.
ii. Multiple locations and easily available outlets is suitable for capturing markets.
iii. Very focussed and devoted management and staff/ workers.
iv. Well rounded and organized business venture. Opportunity:
i. Sports garment industry is poised for rapid growth particularly in Middle Eastern countries and Australia.
ii. Potential to diversify into fashion clothing and sports equipment industry.
iii. Global sporting events like the Common Wealth Games, Olympic Games offer huge potentials for an expanding market.

i. Lack of awareness and advertisement amongst prospective customers.
ii. New to the industry and therefore, lacking in experience in sales and marketing practices.
i. Economic downturn in developed and developing countries may temporarily reduce the buying capabilities of customers.
ii. Major players like Nike and Speedo may enter the targeted area for Khimar Wear.

Porter’s Analysis of Khimar Wear

In this project, Porter’s five forces analysis has been applied to Khimar Wear for being a new venture. The results of the analysis have been discussed below:
• Potential Rivals: Competition is cut-throat amongst a few companies that focus in manufacturing and marketing sportswear for women. The leading brands in the industry at the present moment are Burqini and Mycozzie. The competition is very intense as products are inter-related and brand identification of each of these is at the same plane.
• Threat of entry by new competitors: Competitive advantage to Khimar Wear in the field of sportswear for Muslim women is that the barriers to new entrants into this field of business are comparatively high and so chances of new competitors to enter the target market is low.
• Substitute Products: Khimar Wear is aware of the risk of customer switching to another brand. However, there are few substitute products available and the switching costs to the customers will be high. In order to gain customer loyalty and in anticipation of possible competition, the product quality standard is set very high and the pricing is very reasonable.
• Buyer Power: Unlike large organized buyer syndicates, Khimar Wear’s clientele is niche and therefore it is estimated that buyer power will not be used negatively or integrate backwards to take over the supply or even switch over to different brands. Also the buyers are scattered all over the globe and the buying trends seem to be more for retail use than bulk merchandise.
• Supplier Power: Being an attractive industry it is difficult for buyers to switch to substitute products and therefore be in a position to negotiate prices and terms with the suppliers. The number of buyers is expanding and there will be more growth in the near future as this innovative concept gains popularity. Since Khimar Wear products are exclusive and there are just a few big brand names in the industry the business is more shared within an oligopoly. The suppliers will be able to maintain control over the market.
The Porter Five Forces Analysis gives us you a good idea of the profitability of Khimar Wear, and the future subsidiaries within it.

ERRC Analysis

A new value curve can be constructed by using the Four Actions Framework. The diagram above shows the trade-off differentiation and low cost that helps to create a new value curve:

Eliminate: The general expectation that manufacturers of sportswear products will automatically know what the public wants maybe taking things a bit for granted. Khimar Wear eliminates this factor by making compulsory training for workers. The training program is graded depending on the skills levels of the workers. Continual R&D and training is part and parcel of Khimar Wear organization and that is why it is one of the cutting-edge brands available in the industry.

Reduce: Khimar Wear strives to keep cost of marketing low and try to reduce the budget for marketing of Khimar Wear products in the coming year. It plans to reduce its budget in this department by executing on the following concepts.
1. Personal networks and word of mouth will reduce the cost of advertising by minimizing the expenditure to ad agencies. Personal references and recommendations add value to the products and will motivate buyers because the products are backed up by the weight of personal recommendation.
2. Khimar Wear has decided to use the media judiciously. By manufacturing high quality products, the customers will themselves give good feedback to the media. Being an innovative product, the media will be interested in capturing public attention and focus on Khimar Wear products automatically.

Raise: Khimar Wear has raised the bar of quality products by using the best quality light weight, absorbent, stretchable and fast-drying material to provide comfortable and hygienic sportswear.

Create: Khimar Wear offers customizable products for special needs like size, personal style and maintaining sensitivity around exposing body parts for Muslim women. Khimar Wear has also created a special training department for upgrading its technicians, designers and workers to stay abreast of customer’s demands and dynamic needs.

The value proposition of Khimar Wear keeps in mind the interest of the customers, investors and stake holders. The financial feasibility section discusses in detail the solid financial background of the company. Khimar Wear products are unique and exclusive and target a niche market.

It also provides a solution to one of the biggest problems of Muslim women who find it difficult to trust and use products which are designed exclusively for them. Khimar Wear products not only encourage women to come out and participate in outdoor activities it also provides them a sense of self-worth and enterprise
At the present stage we have a firm grip on the services and products that we offer. Our mission statement is strong and our products are innovative and of high quality which provides a solution to a social problem and will be accepted worldwide with gratitude. We believe in serving our primary customers as well as take care of the interests of our investors and sponsors. We want to take this company to great heights and buy customer loyalty by exemplary service and excellent quality products.

We advertise positively for the kinds of products and services Khimar Wear offers. Our distribution channels and partners including outlets in all major malls of the world should be considered a solid platform for our fledgling company which is prepared to take on the titans like Adidas, Reebok, Nike, Speedo and the like and give them wholesome competition.

In essence, our value proposition is what makes us endearing to customers and investors alike and a worthy competitor to other companies in the same field. Our operation strategies are solid and our products are waiting to be patented that will add to the brand value of this exclusive product.

Khimar Wear has a definite edge over other sports garments exporters as it caters to only a select clientele. The marketing plan is organized and supervised very well by brand managers who spend time and effort in keeping in touch with the client’s mood and requirements. We have retail outlets in all major shopping malls in all the major cities of the world.

Khimar Wear uses the finest quality materials and state of the art workshops with highly trained workers to create every piece of garment with care and to suit exclusive needs. Khimar Wear observes the latest technological advancements and labour rules in its manufacturing units. It uses light-weight, stretchable and durable nylon, soft Pro-shell, Gore-Tex and Lycra as material for its products. These allow garments to be made in layers which remain ultra-light weight and very comfortable. The products are designed innovatively that allow flaps and zippers to be added at strategic positions that cannot be seen by others yet allow free breathing of the material and keep the body insulated. Microbiological activities are minimized and add a fresh and healthy feel to the garments. These are quick-drying and extremely elastic to allow for comfortable and free movements and are easy to wear and remove.

Khimar Wear products range from swimwear, snow sports garments, boxing outfits, tennis, badminton, aerobics and athletic wear. They come in a wide range of colours and sizes and are ensured for safe, hazard-free wear by children and adults.

Khimar Wear understands its social and corporate responsibilities and strives to create a good impact on the society and the environment. Profitability is not the only aim of the company. Promoting a healthy and safe environment is one of its areas of focus. Garments production unit needs to be particularly conscious of its responsibilities towards its clients, investors and other stake holders. This is why Khimar Wear pays special attention towards manufacturing the best quality products and promoting good relations with clients and stake holders.

Company Name: Khimar Wear Private Limited
Business Type: Manufacturer, Distributor and Whole Sales
Product: Sportswear for Muslim women
Brands: Khimar Swimwear, Khimar Snow Sportswear, Khimar Tennis
Number of Employees: 15-25 staff, 100 workers

Main Markets: Middle East
North America
South America
Factory Location: Sydney/Australia, Bangalore/ India, Dubai/UAE, Boston/USA

Khimar Wear financial feasibility study shows that the amount of capital used for start-up was close to £1.37m. This was enough to set up the factory and hire its basic staff. Other fixed capital came in the form of the land over which the factory was built and machinery with the latest technology in manufacturing sports garments were bought. The source of capital came from the company’s promoters which accounted for almost 30% of the start-up capital and the rest of it was earned through floating of company shares.

The major areas where the start up expenditure has been spent are:

1. Factory and tool sheds
2. Machinery
3. Raw materials
4. Overheads like electricity and salary
5. Research and development
6. Marketing and advertising
7. Distribution and transportation
8. Stocks
9. Office space

The start-up expenditure will no longer be applicable for the coming years and only running cost which will include purchasing raw material and marketing of Khimar Wear products will be required. A fraction of the investment will go towards continues R&D and maintenance charges for the different sites.

The potential return on investment for investors and partners is estimated to be high and to grow steadily as the business catches on and expands. The total return represents the estimates that include dividends and is calculated on the basis of the formula

TR = [EIV-BIV + Dividends] / BIV
Where: TR: Total Return
EIV: End of year Investment Value
BIV: Beginning of year Investment Value

So, taking the example of an average investor, who has purchased Khimar Wear stock for £ 6000 at the beginning of the year, at the end of year, the stock value has increased to £7500. Therefore, using this formula the investor’s stock has a potential total return of 29.3% annually. Similarly, the simple return has been calculated to be 56% and the annual compound growth rate has been calculated to be 9.21%.

At Khimar Wear, we exhibit exemplary industry standards and spend a significant portion of our investment towards research and training of the workers and staff. Our sales projections for the coming fiscal year show that sales will amount to £30m. The salary for the workers and management staff will amount to £1.2 m. Our constant endeavour to keep our products updated with the latest international standards has made us compulsorily invest 1.5 to 3% of our annual sales on R&D. Finally, we can say truthfully, that none of our factories at the different locations worldwide can be turned as sweat shops. Therefore, the future also is equally bright as the present for our products.

Khimar Wear investors promise to stand solidly by the company for the next three years within which time we are expecting to break even and start generating profit and make the business self-sustaining.

The goal of Khimar Wear is to start as an exclusive business venture promoting exclusive products and targeting an exclusive market. Once it has gained a strong foothold in the domestic market, our aim is to expand across the globe and branch out into subsidiary fields like fashion designing and haute couture and foray into sports garments for men. Being a new enterprise we have the enthusiasm and foresight needed to create strong relationships with our clients and other competitors in this field. Our successful track record, sound hiring, experienced staff and cutting edge technology along with state of the art showrooms and partner outlets give us a definite edge over our competitors in the industry. Finally, we are confident that we will be able to build a strong brand name and provide the best opportunity for our customers to have a happy buying experience.

Image courtesy
Camilla Ibrahim. (2010). The Burqini Revisited. Available: Last accessed 19 September 2010.
Forth, V. (2010). Snow sports apparel: reaching new heights of comfort and protection. Textiles Intelligence. Available: .Last accessed 18 September 2010.
Irish Eden Belleza. (2009). Filling void in modest swimwear. Available: Last accessed 18 September 2010.
Jennifer Cutraro. (2010). Muslim Athletic Wear Covers Skin Without Cramping Style. Available: Last accessed 17 September 2010. (2010). GLOBAL: Economic crisis shrinks apparel market - report. Available: Last accessed 18 September 2010.
Kim, W. C. and R. Mauborgne. (1999). Creating new market space. Harvard Business Review (January-February): 83-93.
Porter's Five Forces, SWOT Strategies. (2010). Available: Last accessed 18 September 2010.
Stock:Adidas. (2010). Adidas AG. Wikintvest. Available: Last accessed 7 October 2010.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Of Vice and Men

Ganesh Chandra Mondal punches fellow teacher Papri Deb for not wearing sari to work. The TOI headlines scream at you first thing in the morning. You quickly scan through the news article and realize that Ajoy Gayen and headmaster Shyam Sunder Das of Aima Gazankol High School, Howrah, are equally culpable. There are too many issues here that I mean to take up one by one. Let me first draw your attention towards the last names of these creatures (does that ring a bell?) And then focus on their profession- teachers all. This is the result when you politicize EVERY aspect of life and settle for quota rather than quality!

Ganesh Mondal, Ajoy Gayen and Shyam Sunder Das have been entrusted with the sacred responsibility of teaching youngsters and mentoring them to grow up to be worthy citizens of this great country of ours. Little do the parents know that they are paying tuition and development fees for a school that is teaching their 10 year olds to evaluate their teachers on what they wear and NOT on what they teach!  Class 5 students were manipulated by these primitive, vulgar, barbaric men to insult their women teachers and walk out of their classes in protest against their not wearing saris.

Did you, my friend, at 10 think about what your teacher WORE to school and had the courage to express an opinion on it?

Parents, do you send your children to school to learn to ogle at lady teachers and pass comments on their appearance?! Is that why you pay through your noses to educate your beloved children in schools that promise good academic guidance and life skills? Teachers brutalizing students, punching colleagues in full public view, men who are incapable of holding their tempers are pretending to uphold Indian cultural traditions?! Wow! Isn’t that brilliant? Cavemen claiming to be custodians of cultural values- what a joke!

Do you ever wonder why dress code is only enforced on women? Be it the burqa, niqab or sari- why is it that the traditional dress code has to be respected by womenfolk alone? Why don’t we get Shyam Sunder Das, Ajoy Gayen and Ganesh Mondal to come to school in dhoti, uttariya and kharam with their heads shaved and sporting a “tiki”? Also instigate the students to boycott classes if these men don’t show up in the traditional dress of teacher and guru.

If social regression were to be encouraged ensure that it is uniformly executed. In any case these primeval men have nothing else to offer but devious schemes to vent their pent up frustration at being beaten by their betters- the only way to exert their masculinity is to harass women- at home, on the streets and at work.

What makes these men gravitate towards a career that demands the qualities that these men never possessed and did nothing to imbibe? The answer is simple- the ubiquitous quota system that prevails in India. What does it achieve? Votes for the ministers who enforce them, nothing more. It is so easy to get hold of a B.Ed certificate-pay a few hundred rupees to an agent and voila! You have your teacher’s professional certificate. And if you can avail of that quota- ah! sone pe suhaga. The result? Ajoy Gayen and Ganesh Mondal!

The only abiding solution to the spiraling problem of sexual harassment is to enact the law which equates sexual harassment to rape without much ado. Let the law bring the barbaric forces that sully the name of our motherland to book and set such an example that all the kangaroo courts and honor crimes will stop functioning forthwith. The other, less advised option, though, is to let women activists loose on these men armed with razors to shave their heads, pots of curd to pour on their shaven heads and black shoe polish to blacken their faces- and some healthy donkeys to parade them around on will be a definite plus!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Indian Idle?

Indian Idol is touted to be the most popular TV show by its official websites. What better indicator does one need to guage what idle minds and bodies will not do in the name of entertainment. This reality show is the exact copy of the American Idol, including a close copy of the display logo. Why a country of more than a billion people cannot come up with anything original I will leave for you to imagine. But the sheer magnitude and opulence of this show with all its hype makes me wonder what the objective of this colossal waste of time and money is all about?

Running into its fifth season there are only two attractions for the audience: Hussain Kuwajerwala and the young boys and girls who try so hard to sing well- and usually deliver the goods- though the quality of singing isn’t getting any better with successive seasons. So what is this program about anyway? Have we found the idols we were looking for? I don’t even  remember the names of the winners of the previous seasons!

There was a feeble attempt to catapult the show's only woman winner Saurabhee Debbarma from season four by Sony but that fizzled out as they could not come up with anyother number other than “meherbaan”. Golden boy Suhit Gosain, Alisha Chinai’s favorite, was viewed on TV in a commerical for chocolate! Miang Chang, the charming dentist who switched careers is now seen hosting TV shows and acting in “bad”mash movies.

All the time, effort and money spent on polishing the talent of these youngsters- gone down oblivion lane. Not one has made a mark in the music and entertainment world in India. A very sad tale when one has to witness India’s first idol playing second fiddle to the immensely popular host, Hussain and fooling around on the small screen. Why don’t they give him a chance to do what he is supposed to be good at- singing?

And what can we say of the judges? The lesser said the better-actually! The incorrigible Anu Malik shows up like a bad coin in every edition of the show. His music? Unchi hai building, lift teri band hai...unique lyrics and even more singular melody! Watching Sunidhi Chauhan one is left to wonder: who is Sony promoting? She hogs the camera and floor space most of the time and gives every young contestant quite a competition.

Sreeramachandra, singing sensation from Hyderabad, will mostly likely be chosen Indian Idol 5. While wishing Sreeram good luck-he is truly amazing- I think its a pity that professional singers, who have a track record of having sung playback numbers in movies before, should be allowed to compete in an amateur’s club. It might be demoralizing for the other young participants who are equally good and who have equal right to be at the top.

I remember in the days of Doordarshan we had an array of fantastic programs suited for all age groups and interests. The epics Ramayan and Mahabharat, historical chronicles like Bharat Ek Khoj, The Sword of Tipu Sultan, the hasya kavi sammelans, comedy shows like Didi’s Comedy Show, mega serials like Humlog, Buniyaad and entertainment for children like Spider Man, Jungle Book, Duck Tales, Guchhe...ah! those were the days.

Then, there was but one channel and hunndreds of good programs to enjoy. Now we have hundreds of channels and not one decent program that you can sit down to watch with your family! This is the price one pays for progress, I suppose.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My fallen country! One kind wish from thee!

We are all gearing up for Independence Day on August 15 and there will no doubt be fireworks and celebrations throughout the country. But is this the country our martyrs bled for? What have we made of our motherland in the past six decades? Do we ever take a minute out to think of the dire state that prevails in India? You don’t have to toil hard to get a glimpse of the abyss into which we have pushed our hapless and beloved country- just open the news papers and the bestiality hits you in the face.

A seventeen year old tribal girl was stripped and forced to walk naked for 8 kms through 3 villages being molested all the way through by a mob of men and onlookers videotaping this “free show” in Birbhum in Bengal. The video is being circulated publicly under the provocative caption adivasi girl and there are hundreds of takers to enjoy the plight of this defenceless minor girl. The atrocities were carried out by a band of adivasi men from the same tribe to punish the girl for having an “affair” with a boy from a different community with the cognizance of the village panchayat and other civic bodies- this is the reality of India in 2010!

Five people have been arrested in this connection and what will we do with them? What are we doing with Ajmal Kasab? Hanging these men is being too kind to them- it’s a pity that days of Sher Shah Suri are over- chopping off limbs and making an example of these vile creatures is what is needed. All the pretty talk of human-rights and rehabilitation is nice when you are engaging in “intellectual” tittle-tattle, it is not enough to bring justice to the victims, who too come under the ‘human rights’ purview, by the way!

We are tearing our hair over the irregularities and corruption behind the Commonwealth Games to be hosted in New Delhi in a couple of months. “Heads are rolling” apparently- but the irony is that the person who is ordering all these ‘head rolling’ is the one head that needs to be chopped off right-away, but of course how can our nice and subtle CEO of the country order that? Please don't ask him to assert himself- he is too nice, too decent for that!

It is sad that through the past six decades and even at present a country as huge as ours cannot find but morons to run it- not just morons, but corrupt immoral morons at that!

It brings tears to my eyes to think that an Anglo-Indian of Portuguese descent, a young poet who lived for a mere 22 years, Henry Derozio, felt so strongly for our country that he wrote these lines two hundred years ago-

To India – My Native land

My country! In thy day of glory past
A beauteous halo circled round thy brow,
And worshipped as a deity thou wast.
Where is that glory, where that reverence now?
Thy eagle pinion is chained down at last,
And groveling in the lowly dust art thou:
Thy minstrel hath no wreath to weave for thee
Save the sad story of thy misery!
Well let me dive into the depths of time,
And bring from out the ages that have rolled
A few small fragments of those wrecks sublime,
Which human eyes may never more behold;
And let the guerdon of my labour be
My fallen country! One kind wish from thee!

And we? What are we doing?

My dear friends, come August 15, please do something- introspect and find a way forward! Live life as it should be lived- in peace and harmony. Do what you should do- listen to your inner voice- have pride in yourself. Be the human being you are! Let not bestiality of this kind blacken the face of our motherland anymore.

Jai Hind!