Indira Gandhi – How relevant is she today?

190131 indira gandhi

Priyanka Vadra has finally been formally anointed in the Congress Party albeit only as a General Secretary for Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Once she is in the race, opposition comments have started!

Understandably the Congress cadres are going overboard and drawing parallels between Priyanka Vadra and Indira Gandhi. Mrs Vadra will occupy the same room as her famous grandmother Mrs Gandhi, in the Congress office in Lucknow, in the hope of invoking the achievements of the past as a mirror of what to expect in the future.

Let us try and understand whether Mrs Gandhi is relevant in today’s context, particularly with the younger Indians and the millennials or for that matter, even the older generation of Indians who would have lived through the years of her rule.

I remember the period when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister very clearly.

In 1971, when she engineered the formation of Bangladesh and created two nations out of Pakistan, I remember her with a lot of pride, primarily because my father was in the army and I had the opportunity to see thousands of Pakistani Prisoners of War in camps in Prayagraj, earlier Allahabad. We had lived through the 1971 war, switching off all lights at night and getting used to the sounds of the air raid sirens. The sight of thousands of Pakistani soldiers in their sand coloured uniforms behind barbed wire fences was a source of pride for our soldiers and our country.

When I was in Delhi University during the period 1974 to 1977, I saw the other side of her during the 21 months of emergency.

I clearly remember how scared we used to be sitting in the Delhi University Special buses, not uttering a sound, not talking to friends, just in case someone was listening to us and would report back to the authorities. The eerie silence in these buses still rings in my ears.

Stories of opposition leaders and young college students being picked up at night from their homes and put in jail would circulate all over, through whispered comments. Possible vasectomy of able-bodied young men was a frightening scenario that all of us used to worry about. The censored press was only extolling the incredible achievements of the Prime Minister and her son Sanjay Gandhi during the emergency. As a young student, the only visible positives were that there were no power blackouts and the buses ran on time!

As young students, we craved an India where we would be free to speak once again.

This is the Indira Gandhi that I remember.

I wonder how relevant she is today or how relevant are her dictatorial methodologies today. It is also worth exploring whether Indira Gandhi is remembered or even understood by the youth of today. Does anyone remember all her excesses? Are her achievements and excesses relevant in a nation that has moved on and stopped looking at the past?

Her famous election slogan of “Garibi Hatao” only remained a slogan since no action was ever taken to implement its spirit and poverty has continued to this day. Rahul Gandhi has turned to the same slogan with his Minimum Income Guarantee without any idea of how this will be implemented or what it will cost (someone has estimated that this could cost upto 5% of GDP annually). He knows that it is very easy to make promises and later, either interpret it according to his convenience or deny he actually said it!

The world has changed considerably in the last 50 years. From a bipolar world where we had to choose between the two ideologies of USA or USSR or remain nonaligned on paper and lean towards one of the two blocs. The USSR has imploded into several independent nations and USA under Trump is focusing all its energies within its own borders. Nationalists are being voted to power and each leader is expected to carve out a space for his nation rather than ally with some bloc. People are tired and fed up of the promises made by politicians and they want a change.

India has changed dramatically since Indira Gandhi. There is much greater prosperity and significantly more job opportunities for the young. The Indian millennials now think of themselves as citizens of the world and not as citizens from a socialist country closely allied to the Soviet Union, who must keep seeking Government favours to move forward in life.

The Congress Party too has changed in the last 50 years. It is a weak shadow of what it used to be. It has destroyed all its advantages and learned to rely on coalition partners. The leadership is weak and indifferent and while the party cadres may, out of reverence, be required to pay allegiance to their leaders of the past it is doubtful whether they have any understanding or identification with such leaders. The Congress party, other than Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, have not really had any iconic leader they can look up to. Rajiv Gandhi got an enviable sympathy mandate after the assassination of his mother but was not able to utilise this very significant mandate.

The heir apparent, Rahul Gandhi wasted the first two parliamentary terms when his government was in power and virtually did nothing significant other than tear up some ordinances which resulted in a major embarrassment to his own government. In the current Lok Sabha, he did nothing till he was formally anointed the Congress President.

It is also worth examining what Rahul Gandhi has done for his parliamentary constituency Amethi or the parliamentary constituency of his mother Rae Bareli. There is very little for him to show in terms of what he has achieved for the people. It is very likely that the Congress will lose both the seats in the coming elections.

Once Rahul Gandhi was firmly in the saddle, with no specific agenda or game plan, he started to abuse the Prime Minister at every possible opportunity. Realising he was making no headway, he stoked up the Rafale controversy not backed by any proof, by his own admission. He has run out of ideas and probably believes that his sister, Mrs Vadra will be the game changer and will bail him out of the difficult situation he is in.

What can Priyanka Gandhi really do in the last few months before the elections? She is the last runner in a relay race where the first three runners have left her trailing and are now looking towards her to bring out an incredible burst of speed to beat the front runners who are near nearing the finishing line! The baton has been handed over to her.

Is it possible that she has been set up to take the fall after the elections so that the Crown Prince is not affected and can continue to muddle along for another 5 years with his tattered reputation covered up by his sister?

Can grand mother Indira Gandhi help Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra win these elections? Will her name and photographs fire up the voters to cast their precious vote in favour of the Congress Party? Will her name help Rahul Gandhi to establish a semblance of credibility as the leader of the Congress party?

Very unlikely.

Has the Congress fired its brahamastra which will leave a trail of destruction while destroying the opposition? Or is this a simple Diwali havai that has been fired to momentarily light up a dark sky?

Only time will tell.


The author is an Executive Coach and an Angel Investor. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books, The Brand Called You; Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

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Brand You. Who Me?


the brand called you

Personal branding is about deciding to take an active role in managing the direction you want to take your life. Your personal brand allows you to manage your life and helps you to stop depending on others for your credibility and your success.

Your personal brand helps you make the most of what you have to offer. Brand You is your reputation, built one story at a time through the experiences people have with you. These stories will reflect what makes you unique or different.

As you start your journey to evaluate Brand You and then develop a strategy to build and promote Brand You, here are some pointers of what you need to look at.

Be Yourself

You have to be yourself instead of trying to pretend someone you are not. It needs courage to be yourself and it takes conviction to stay the course.

The strategic process of personal branding makes you an active partner in creating the direction of your life. You get to decide what your unique promise of value is and who you want to share it with.

Be Credible

The stakeholders in your life are your family, your employers, your peers, your subordinates, your superiors, your community and everyone else who you have an impact on. They wish to know who you are and what you stand for. They want to know what you will do and whether what you will do is likely to be in line with their expectations of you.

You build credibility not through your words but through your actions. Your actions lead to creation of perceptions. If you live your personal brand and keep your brand promise to your stakeholders, you are on the path to building a strong credibility for yourself.

Your actions will have to align with your brand. These actions will validate that you can be trusted and demonstrate that you are credible.

Be Confident

As your brand develops, your confidence will start to grow. When you recognise your positives, your self-esteem reaches an all-time high.

Keep in mind that strong and confident brands can repel your audience as much as it attracts them. Not everyone can be your target audience. Not everyone will like or agree with what you stand for. Defining who you are means that you need to be brave enough to let your true self be visible.

A confident Brand You will highlight your strengths and give you a meaningful direction.

Be Different

Differentiation is crucial to your personal branding success.

We notice differences among people very quickly. We are hard-wired to notice differences in one another. We do not have to be different for the sake of being different.

You need to be different. You need to present yourself differently.

When I was in college, I had grown my hair long, sported a beard and wore “bell-bottom” pants. This was my way of attempting to be different. It was then that my father called me and said, “You must get accepted in society because of your mind and not because of the clothes you wear or the way you comb your hair!”

This was a major lesson for me in “being different.”

Be Energetic

In today’s world, everyone is exceptionally busy and so are you.

Brand You will have the energy and the ability to filter what are the right opportunities for you and which opportunities you need to let pass by. Your brand will give you the clarity to focus your energy on matters that can be important for you.

An energetic Brand You will help you to reinvent yourself.

Be Special

You need to have a specialty or you need to develop an area of expertise. You cannot be better than others in everything. Think of what can you do that others cannot? Think of what can you do that is better than others? This could be at work where you may be the best analyst or the best accountant or the best designer. Or this could be at play where others want you on their team.

To develop a specialty, you have to start with what you know. Think of what you can do that few others know. What is the target audience that your specialty will appeal to? Are you willing to commit to investing personal time and resources to further this specialty?

It is not advisable to go down a path and after investing a lot of time and money, realise that you have made a mistake or that you are no longer enjoying this specialty.

Be Connected

You need to constantly connect and network with your audience. Your brand needs to build a strong relationships. You need to connect with the audience you have identified. You cannot communicate with the entire world. For your brand to be acknowledged and then accepted, you need to connect at an emotional level.

Building a strong personal brand helps you interact with your target audience in a clear and consistent way that quickly becomes comfortable and familiar. This consistency builds trust in your target audience, which allows those emotional connections to form.

Remember that you must not lose connections as you expand your network. The biggest mistake most people make is to forget the relationships they made at the early stages of their career..

Be Supportive and Supported

In your journey to create and build your brand, be supportive of others and seek out support from people. You need to be clear about who you are and what you need so that you can ask for support with clarity.

Most people want you to succeed. Very seldom will you find someone who wants you to fail and actively does things to harm you. If you know what you need, you know what to ask for.

Be Consistent

Just like you can never be static, nor can your brand. Consistency requires you to use the elements of your brand over and over again as you continue to evolve.

An important part of the branding process is to get known for something. Your first step is to identify your best characteristics so that you know what to build upon.

Do not be overly sensitive while dealing with people. Most of us constantly worry about our actions not because of how we are doing but because of “what others will think!” We never stop to think that everyone is busy with their own lives. Most people have too many problems and challenges of their own. They do not have the time to think of or worry about what you are saying or doing.

You have to develop yourself in a way to ensure that you leave a legacy. People will remember you through your actions, your expertise, and the emotional connections that you make.

So do your tough work up front and reap the rewards down the road.


The author is an Executive Coach and an Angel Investor. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books, The Brand Called You; Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
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वह ब्रांड, जो आप हैं – व्यक्तिगत ब्रांडिंग

6. The Brand Called You (low res)

ब्रांडिंग उतनी ही पुरानी है जितनी की स्वयं मानवता।

यह केवल 20 वीं शताब्दी के बाद हुआ जब विपणक और विज्ञापन विशेषज्ञ यह समझने लगे थे कि वे विशिष्ट गुणों और अपने उत्पादों की विशेषताओं से उपभोक्ताओं के मन में विशिष्ट धारणा बना सकते हैं, जो इससे पहले तक केवल किसी नाम के लेबल भर थे और सामान्य उत्पाद के रूप में उपस्थित थे।

इन विशेषज्ञों ने इस “धारणा” को “ब्रांड” कहना शुरू कर दिया।

ब्रांड एक कहानी है जिसे हमेशा बताया जाता रहा है।

पर्सनल ब्रांडिंग अपने बारे में जो सच और अनोखा है उसे उजागर करने और हर उस व्यक्ति को बताने के बारे में है जो इसके बारे में जानता है।

आपका नाम, आपका ब्रांड अपने ख़ास प्रभामंडल के साथ होता है जिसके वलय में पहले आप स्वयं आते हैं, उसके बाद आपका परिवार, तदुपरांत आपका समुदाय और फिर वह वृहत समाज जिसमें आप रहते हैं। आपके द्वारा चयनित प्रभाव वलय के मूल्य आपके ब्रांड में होने चाहिए।

व्यक्ति के रूप में अपने जीवन के प्रत्येक चरण मे आप खुद को लगातार मजबूत करते रहे हैं। किसी ब्रांड को उसके लक्षित श्रोताओं/दर्शकों द्वारा व्यक्तिगत अनुभव, संचार और प्रभाव के आधार पर देखा जाता है।

यही इसकी सफलता या विफलता को निर्धारित करता है। हममें से हर एक पर यही बात लागू होती है। हम समाज में और हमारे “लक्षित श्रोताओं/दर्शकों” के साथ कैसे बने रहते हैं, यही इस बात को निर्धारित करता है कि हम कितने मूल्यवान हैं या हो सकते हैं। आपका व्यक्तिगत ब्रांड आपका व्यावसायिक डीएनए है। यह आपका पेशेवर जीन अनुक्रम है।

हर सफल व्यक्ति ने बड़ी मेहनत से अपने ब्रांड का नाम बनाया है।

याद रखें कि आपका नाम एक ब्रांड है जिसे आप वास्तव में अपना मानते हैं। आप अद्वितीय हैं। आप उतने ही अद्वितीय हैं, जैसे कि आपकी अंगुली की छाप (फिंगरप्रिंट) या आपका रेटिना स्कैन या आपका जीन अनुक्रम।

आपके नाम के साथ आपका ब्रांड आपके कर्मों और निवेशों के माध्यम से एक ब्रांड के रूप में आपके जन्म प्रमाण पत्र के माध्यम से पंजीकृत किया गया है और वह आपके व्यक्तित्व के लिए पेटेंट किया गया है, भले ही आपके समान नाम वाले सैकड़ों दूसरे लोग भी हों।

आपके जैसा दुनिया में कोई और नहीं है और इसलिए आपको अपने आप को अपने वातावरण में निवेश करना होगा और अपने कामों और कार्यों के ज़रिए अपने खुद के ब्रांड को पहचान और सम्मान दिलाना होगा। आपकी पहुँच जितनी अधिक होगी, आपके ब्रांड को इस तरह के उतने ही अधिक निवेश की आवश्यकता होगी। जितना आपका ब्रांड अधिक प्रसिद्ध और बड़ा होता चला जाएगा, भविष्य में उसके आलोचनीय होने की आशंका भी उतनी ही अधिक होगी।

आपके लिए यह जानना अधिक से अधिक विकट होता चला जाएगा कि आपके द्वारा उठाया हर कदम या आपका दिया हर बयान, आपके द्वारा की गई प्रत्येक ट्वीट, आपके द्वारा पोस्ट की गई प्रत्येक तस्वीर, आपके द्वारा लिखा गया प्रत्येक ब्लॉग, आपकी पसंद की हर पोस्ट, जिसे आप लिखते या साझा करते हैं, आपके द्वारा दी गई हर राय किसी के द्वारा पढ़ी जा रही है और उसकी व्याख्या हो रही है। आप यह जान भी नहीं पाते कि आपके हर काम का प्रभाव या आपका हर काम ‘ब्रांड आप’ के मूल्य को बढ़ा या घटा रहा है। आपके व्यक्तिगत ब्रांड को बनाना, तैयार करना और उसका विकास करना केवल आपके हाथों में ही है। इसी के साथ, ठीक इसके विपरीत, अपने खुद के ब्रांड को नष्ट करना या कम करना भी केवल आपके ही हाथों में है।

आप अपने खुद के ब्रांड नाम के साथ क्या कर सकते हैं, तो या तो उसे बहुत सफल बना सकते हैं या उतना सफल नहीं कर सकते हैं, बस इस अंतर को पाटना है। यह व्यक्तिगत ब्रांडिंग के लिए भी उतना ही सही है जितना कि बिजनेस ब्रांडिंग के लिए। आपका ब्रांड आपकी अपनी अनूठी कहानी का सार है। एक कुंजी है जो आपके खुद के भीतर गहराई तक पहुँच रही है और प्रामाणिक, अद्वितीय “आप” को अपने स्वयं के भीतर से बाहर खींच रही है।

अन्यथा, आपका ब्रांड सिर्फ एक बहाना होगा और आप खुद विस्मित होंगे कि क्या आप उस बहाने के पीछे छिपे व्यक्ति को पहचानते हैं, जो स्वयं आप हैं।

आपके पास आपके द्वारा चुने गए करियर पथ को बनाने की स्वतंत्रता है। ऐसा रास्ता जो आपकी प्रतिभा और रुचियों को उस स्थिति से जोड़ेगा जिसमें आप फिट हैं। आपमें अपने कैरियर में ऊँचा उठने और विस्तार पाने (लंबवत और क्षैतिज रूप में) की क्षमता होनी चाहिए।

आज जो नायक है, वह आने वाले कल में शून्य हो सकता है या इसके विपरीत भी हो सकता है कि जो आज ज़ीरो है, वह कल हीरो बन जाए।

आपके ब्रांड का मूल्य ताउम्र उतार-चढ़ाव से गुज़रेगा। सफ़लतम वर्ष बीतने के बाद बड़े पैमाने पर होने वाली वेतन वृद्धि के बारे में बातचीत करने की आपकी क्षमता से अधिक आपकी क्षमता इसमें होनी चाहिए कि एक ख़राब साल बीता हो और आपके लक्ष्य पूरे न हो सके हों, तब आप क्या करेंगे।

आपके अपने ब्रांड का मूल्य वह है जो आपको वह कीमत देगा जो आप चाह रहे हैं। अच्छी तरह से बने आपके ब्रांड से आप पा सकते हैं कि प्रतिष्ठित पदोन्नति या अगली वरिष्ठ नौकरी। यह ब्रांड मूल्यांकन आपको यह निर्धारित करने में भी मदद कर सकता है कि आप अपने लिए क्या पाने में सक्षम हैं, जिस कारण आप और आपका नाम किसी और के व्यवसाय में जुड़ सकता है। यह आपके समाज में, आपके देश या पूरी दुनिया में मान्यता और स्वीकृति के रूप में भी हो सकता है।

कोई फिल्म स्टार लगातार दो हिट फिल्में देने के बाद बड़ी फीस की मांग कर सकता है, लेकिन उसे भी तब अपनी कीमतों को गिराना होगा या शायद लगातार तीन फ्लॉप फिल्मों के बाद किसी के लिए बिना पैसे लिए भी काम करना पड़ सकता है! जब तक आप अपने आपको और अपनी स्वयं की वास्तविकता को नहीं पहचानते और स्वीकार नहीं करते हैं, तब तक आपके अपने ब्रांड के बारे में बहुत कुछ नहीं कर सकते हैं। सरकार या कॉरपोरेट जगत के बहुत से लोग अपने करियर में जैसे-जैसे आगे बढ़ते हैं, यह मानने लगते हैं कि उनके संगठन के ब्रांड की पहचान उनके अपने ब्रांड नाम से है। जिसका सत्य से वास्तव में दूर-दूर तक कोई संबंध नहीं होता है।

जब कोई कॉर्पोरेट प्रबंधक या सरकारी अधिकारी किसी मीटिंग (बैठक) के लिए अपना विजिटिंग कार्ड भेजता है, तो वह उस कंपनी या संस्थान के नाम का होता है जिसकी पहचान है और उसके लिए बैठक के द्वार खोले जाते हैं। कई सारे सेवानिवृत्त सरकारी अधिकारी और कॉर्पोरेट प्रबंधक यह स्वीकार नहीं कर पाते कि सेवानिवृत्ति के बाद उनकी अपनी पहचान खो गई है। वे “पूर्व अध्यक्ष” या सरकार के “पूर्व सचिव” के रूप में अपनी पहचान बनाए रखना चाहते हैं। यह कठिन और कमजोर धागा है जो उन्हें उनकी कथित पहचान से जोड़ता है और लोग इस बात को छोड़ नहीं पाते कि वह धागा सेवानिवृत्ति के दिन ही टूट चुका है।

आपके व्यक्तिगत ब्रांड को बनाते हुए कभी भी अहंकार को बीच में नहीं आने देना चाहिए। आपके ब्रांड के मूल्य में आपको बड़ी कुशलता से इस बात को बुनना चाहिए कि वह भौतिक रूप और व्यक्तिगत अहंकार से परे होना चाहिए।

जीवन का चक्र जारी रहेगा, और आपका व्यक्तिगत ब्रांड अपने कद और मूल्य के साथ उसी तरह बढ़ता रहेगा।

याद रखें कि दुनिया में आपके बाद आपके पीछे आपकी जो विरासत रहेगी वह केवल आपका नाम होगा और होगा- ‘आप ब्रांड’।


लेखक कार्यकारी कोच और एंजेल निवेशक हैं। राजनीतिक समीक्षक और टीकाकार के साथ वे गार्डियन फार्मेसीज के संस्थापक अध्यक्ष भी हैं। वे 6 बेस्ट सेलर पुस्तकों – द ब्रांड कॉल्ड यू- The Brand Called You रीबूट- Reboot. रीइंवेन्ट Reinvent. रीवाईर Rewire: 21वीं सदी में सेवानिवृत्ति का प्रबंधन, Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; द कॉर्नर ऑफ़िस, The Corner Office; एन आई फ़ार एन आई An Eye for an Eye; द बक स्टॉप्स हीयर- The Buck Stops Here – लर्निंग ऑफ़ अ # स्टार्टअप आंतरप्रेनर और Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and द बक स्टॉप्स हीयर- माय जर्नी फ़्राम अ मैनेजर टू ऐन आंतरप्रेनर, The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur. के लेखक हैं।

  • ट्विटर : @gargashutosh                                                          
  • इंस्टाग्राम : ashutoshgarg56                                                     
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