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Monthly Archives: April 2023

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Media and ‘celebrity’

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The word ‘celebrity’ is becoming overused these days and its misuse has emptied it of its real meaning. It’s time we found out who’s a ‘celebrity’ in true sense of the term. Media has been indiscriminately using the term for a long time, beating the trumpets of public figures who’re far from real ‘celebrities’. A real ‘celebrity’ will always stand by his or her values and beliefs rather than his or her celebrity status.

Let’s take a look at what today’s ‘celebrities’ are advising.

While endorsing a drink, Amitabh Bachchan urges people ‘to try it’ knowing well it has hardly any health benefits. Everyone knows it contains sugar which is deadly and contributes to obesity, a serious health issue across the world especially in the developed country.

Similarly, Shah Rukh Khan has been endorsing a popular soft drink on TV. The company had roped in Ranveer Singh, Chiranjeevi and Mahesh Babu as its brand ambassador until 2021. The question also remains: Does SRK himself take the same drink often? Or, will he ask his kids to take it regularly? I’m sure the actor maintains strict physical and eating regimens.

Another US-based beverage maker has recently appointed Ranveer Singh as its brand ambassador and also unveiled a new campaign targeting younger consumers.

Hrithik Roshan, the brand ambassador of another soft drink, urges consumers to take a particular drink. Kiara Advani has been currently endorsing another soft drink which had been earlier endorsed by Katrina Kaif for more than 16 years. All the soft drinks available in the market are detrimental to health. Drinking such sugar-sweetened beverages will have various impacts on health. These range from increased chances of tooth decay to a higher risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes.

In contrast, Cristiano Ronaldo at a press conference at the European Championship (2020) had snubbed Coca-Cola. He had pushed aside two bottles of the popular soft drink placed in front of him. His message was: “No Coca-Cola”. The gesture had a dramatic impact. The company’s market value had slumped $4 billion.

Obesity, a major reason of which is unrestrained consumption of soft drink, has become a serious health hazard in the US. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled in the US. Today, the country has some of the highest obesity rates in the world: one out of six children is obese, and one out of three children is overweight or obese.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted between 2019 and 2021, about 6.4 per cent of India’s women and 4.0 per cent of men aged 15-49 are obese.

On February 14, 2021, less than a month after former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly had been discharged from hospital following his second angioplasty, an edible oil firm was back with a new ad featuring Ganguly.

Real celebrities are those who’re good human beings, those who work tirelessly for the welfare of mankind, who never ever resort to unethical ways and whose hallmarks are honesty and integrity.

I recall Sachin Tendulkar’s “Playing it my way—My autobiography” where Sachin’s father Ramesh Tendulkar, an acclaimed Marathi poet, critic and professor, made a profound remark. “As a parent, I would be happier hearing people say “Sachin is a good human being” than Sachin is a great cricketer” any day.”

Can we think of any ‘celebrity’ now who’s ready to imperil his stardom to advance a social cause just the way American singer Harry Bela Fonte did in 1956? He had joined Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in pursuit of loftier goal, leaving his career ambitions.

He had served as one of the lead organisers of the USA for Africa “We Are The World” single, raising $100 million for famine relief in Ethiopia. Belafonte had worked ceaselessly for breaking Hollywood’s racial lines, and used his stardom to change how Black characters were portrayed.

Media’s ‘celebrity’ worship has been doing irreparable damage to society. Newspapers pages, especially entertainment/sport pages, are awash with photos of ‘celebrities’ who are far from real ‘celebrities’. Growing up with such a notion of ‘celebrity’ and ‘celebrity worship syndrome’ will be disastrous for our kids and society.

It’s time media focused on real heroes who make a tangible difference to the greater good of our lives.

Do you know?

There are 39gm of sugar in a Coca-Cola can.

35gm of sugar amounts to about seven teaspoons of sugar?

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Mizoram India’s ‘happiest state’

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Teachers are students’ best friends in Mizoram. Parents in the north-eastern state do not put pressure on their kids. Every child in the state goes for work early and is independent and self-supported. Despite having ‘broken families’, students are determined to reach their goals and upbeat about their success in life. A study by Rajesh K Pillania of the Management Development Institute (MDI) at Gurugram, has revealed.

According to Prof Pillania’s report, Mizoram is the happiest state of India. Pillania, popularly known as India’s Happiness Professor, has made seminal contribution to the study of happiness in India.

“Mizoram’s happiness index is based on six parameters including family relationships, work-related issues, social issues and philanthropy, religion, COVID-19‘s effect on happiness, and physical and mental health,” the report said.

According to the report, Mizoram, the second Indian state to achieve 100 per cent literacy, offers students opportunities for growth even in the most difficult of circumstances.

“A student of the Government Mizo High School (GMHS) in Aizawl, Mizoram, has had to face several difficulties since his father abandoned his family when he was young. Despite this, he remains hopeful and excels in his studies. He hopes to become a chartered accountant or appear for civil services exams if his first choice does not work out,” the report said.

Similarly, a student in Class 10 at GMHS aspires to join the National Defence Academy (NDA). His father works in a milk factory and his mother is a homemaker. Both are hopeful about their prospects because of their school.

“Our teachers are our best friends, we are not scared or shy of sharing with them anything,” one student said. Teachers in Mizoram regularly meet students and their parents to address any problems they may be facing.

One of the factors contributing to the happiness of the youth is Mizoram’s social structure. “It is the upbringing that adds to youth being happy or not, we are a casteless society. Also, parental pressure for studies is less here,” said a teacher of Eben-ezer Boarding School based in Aizawl.

Every child regardless of gender in the Mizo community, goes for work early, the report further stated.

“No task is considered too small and youths typically find employment around the age of 16 or 17. This is encouraged, and there is no discrimination between girls and boys,” it said.

Mizoram has a high number of broken families, but having many peers in similar situations, working mothers, and financial independence from an early age means children are not left bereft. “When both genders are taught to earn their living, and neither is dependent on the other, why should a couple continue to live together in an unhealthy setting?” asked the teacher of Eben-ezer Boarding School.

Pillania, who taught thousands of students and executives about happiness strategy, has written 11 books and reports on Happiness such as Happiness Strategy, Happiness Diary: My Experiments with Happiness, India Happiness Report 2020, India Cities Happiness Report 2020, World Happiness 2021, India Happiness 2022 and World Happiness 2022.

Pillania’s pioneering work has earned kudos from HH Dalai Lama, and management legend Philip Kotler.


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